Tuesday, October 05, 2010

thanks, Tom

My buddy Tom points me to a hilarious video-- most likely put together by an expat-- that offers a variant of the "America! Fuck, yeah!" song from "Team America: World Police." The song, "Korea! Fuck, yeah!", is married to a gleeful slideshow parade of images of both North and South Korea... but if you watch for the moment when the singer yells "Fan death," you'll see an image that ought to be familiar to readers of this blog. No, I didn't give the creator permission to use the image, but since I didn't have a profit motive when I created the Photoshop pic to begin with, and since the video's creator could easily make a "fair use" argument, I'm not complaining.

Go watch the vid. It's quite funny, especially with the awful Korean pronunciation. (If you haven't seen "Team America," do yourself a favor and watch this vid first.)



Charles said...

(As a community service, just in case this happens to anyone else...)

So I click on the second link, because I haven't seen "Team America" yet, and YouTube pops up a warning up at the top saying that I can't watch the video with Safety Mode on. Awesome. What's Safety Mode? I don't have a clue. There is no explanation, no link to where you might be able to turn Safety Mode off, no nothing. I go through my account settings and again find nothing. As a last resort, I search help. Turns out that safety mode is all the way at the bottom of the front page of YouTube--if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see it. Just click on the "on" link and you'll have the option to turn it off.

As for the video itself, one commenter suggested that it should be featured on the Ministry of Tourism website. I agree.

(Some comments specifically mentioned your fan death image: "fan death picture is INCREDIBLE." "Best fan death image ever." I was contemplating posting your original post on that, but wasn't sure if you wanted to be in the comments on YouTube.)

Kevin Kim said...

One thing I came away with, after watching the video, was that I had no idea what the video's message was. In "Team America," the fight song is equally ambiguous: it can be interpreted as a satire of America as self-appointed, imperialistic global policeman; but it can also be heard as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to American global dominance: "Sure, we mock ourselves, but who else can do what we do?" The final speech in the movie about "dicks, pussies, and assholes" reinforces this second interpretation.

The "Korea!" song, by contrast, is a stand-alone work whose ambiguity arises not from the larger context of a movie, but from the fact that it was made by an expat, and most likely for expats. The sheer number of Korean terms that blow by the listener indicates that the video is meant as an in-joke; people unfamiliar with Korea might get the imagery, but won't get the Korean terms (especially when "hanbok" is pronounced to rhyme with "span mock").

So what does the video mean? Who knows? I told Tom he needs to show it to his students. Maybe together, he and his students can figure it out. If they don't stone him for showing it, that is.

Charles said...

Oh, we were supposed to figure out what it means? Hmm. I would probably have to agree with you that it is meant as an in-joke for expats. I'm with you on that feeling of confusion after it was over. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when it devolved into a list of "things Korean." I was hoping that there would be an actual narrative/statement and not just a rapid fire slideshow.

(And yes, his pronunciation was horrible. I have to wonder if that was intentional.)

John from Daejeon said...

Wow, you've been away for a while.

This video made its way around the South Korean blogosphere between August and September of last year. You might be able to track down some of the posts if you so look around.

Nowadays, the remix might feature the ajumma beatdown of a youngster on the subway the other day. It's shocking that no one stepped in to help or break it up.

Kevin Kim said...

Yeah, I've been away since 2008, and didn't do much blog-reading during most of 2008-2009.

Charles said...

"Nowadays, the remix might feature the ajumma beatdown of a youngster on the subway the other day. It's shocking that no one stepped in to help or break it up."

Yeah, they said that on the news as well, how it was shocking that no one stepped in. I'm still trying to figure out how this is shocking, though. For starters, people are less likely to help in a crowd because they assume that someone else will help. And, honestly, I can't really blame the onlookers for not doing anything. This was not a clear case of right and wrong--both parties did their best to make the situation explode. Step in and you run the risk of becoming part of the whole mess, possibly having one or both of the combatants turn on you. Had this been New York or any other major city, I suspect the reaction would have been similar (i.e., it's not a failing of Korean society).

Apparently I'm the only one who feels this way, though. Everyone is going around saying how shocking it is, but I really have to wonder: are people saying that because they feel it's what they're supposed to say, or are they really shocked? If they are really shocked... well, I suppose that would be the only shocking thing about all of this for me.

Maybe I'm just a hardened, cynical bastard.

John from Daejeon said...

"Maybe I'm just a hardened, cynical bastard."

I'm glad that I have friends/relatives/pets that would do the same for me.

If this is an everyday slice of life in South Korea, then it's pretty sad that South Korea still has so much in common with the North after all.