Hey folks, it’s Kpopalypse here. As someone a little older than the average k-pop fan with lots of experience in the ups and downs of life, I’m aware that a lot of younger people read my blogging, and therefore I feel a certain sense of obligation to them to impart wisdom and valuable life lessons. Of course if I just go around saying things like “bike safety” and “don’t play with matches” nobody is going to pay any fucking attention, but that’s where k-pop comes in – this post is all about some of the fantastic things we can learn through k-pop music videos!
Please note that the discussions of these videos contain plot spoilers, so be sure to watch the videos first (if you haven’t seen them) before reading about the important life lessons that they contain! Let’s get started and learn things!
Davichi – Don’t Say Goodbye
In the Iraq war, a bunch of American snipers got themselves into some deep shit doing something very naughty. They laid out electronic items like wires and 9-volt batteries on the ground in certain areas where Iraqi insurgents were known to operate, and then shot and killed any people who picked those items up, using the shaky rationale “if they tried to leave with the items, this was a sign that they were going to use them against US forces“. Of course, the snipers had no way of really knowing whether the people collecting the planted items were going to make a bomb with it or were just hoping that they could get their Duracell Bunny going for a few more hours, so a bunch of innocent people probably got murdered, but never mind the wacky and arguably illegal logic of the US forces Asymmetric Warfare Unit for now. The important lesson is this: if you see some shit on the ground that isn’t yours and is kinda valuable, don’t pick it up, because people don’t just go around leaving valuable shit lying around out in the open for no goddamn reason. Somebody is probably deliberately fucking with you, so watch out.
If the guy in Davichi’s lame Carpenters soundalike song “Don’t Say Goodbye” used the aforementioned logic, he could have saved himself some trouble with Korean society’s undesirable elements. Common sense alone should have dictated to him that nobody would throw a Minkyung out in the trash just for the hell of it. If he felt guilty about just leaving her there he should have alerted the proper authorities by dialing his local “Lost and Found Minkyung Helpline” and then left the situation for the properly trained experts to handle. But no – like most young and dumb guys he immediately starts thinking with his penis and has to play the hero due to his massive ego. Sure enough the mob gets in touch and inform him that they want their Minkyung back, but it’s okay, they say – they’ll swap her for a Haeri. Clearly the loser in this equation, our male protagonist calmly accepts the situation because he doesn’t want to get brutalised by a bunch of angry mobsters. That’s what you get for poking around in other people’s garbage and touching things that aren’t yours, now he has to listen to Haeri practice irritating vocal improvisations and whine about being the less pretty member of Davichi for the rest of his days.
Chocolate – What To Do
Many years ago I found myself living in a three bedroom house, all by myself. The rent for such a big place was fairly high so when one of my friends announced that he had a girlfriend who was looking for a place to live, I jumped at the opportunity to let her stay in my house and split the rent and bills. I know what you’re all thinking, and no she wasn’t unattractive, but neither of us were going to go there because on top of her being unavailable I was a scungy skinny long-haired metalhead and she was a prim and proper type who liked buff footballers – it was certainly nice having the eye candy around the house though. Anyway the sudden presence of my friend’s girlfriend still left a third bedroom unoccupied. “Mind if I use it?” she asked me shortly after she’d moved in. “Sure” I replied, after all I wasn’t using it for anything and rent was low enough now that I really didn’t need to bring a third person in – plus if she was using the third bedroom that means she’d have to clean it, saving me the trouble. The next day when I got home from work she’d converted the third bedroom into a sewing room. She had a big electric sewing machine in the center of it, plus a big ironing board, portable clothes hangers and fabric and clothes everywhere. She loved sewing, ironing and dressmaking, and I don’t think I’d ever seen her happier than at that moment.
This girl’s boyfriend didn’t really seem to understand her much. She was a domestic girly-girl who liked pretty things and he was a footballer who liked alcohol, and they’d always fight. I never really knew what any of the fights were about, because it was none of my business so I didn’t really care or pay any attention, but it was certainly an up-and-down kind of relationship that they had. He was always buying her the most thoughtless gifts too (usually alcohol, which he’d often just end up drinking himself), and she’d politely feign interest in the gifts but it was obvious that he didn’t really understand her needs and eventually they broke up. It occurred to me while watching “What To Do” from flop nugu k-pop girl group Chocolate (not to be confused with Chocolat, a different flop nugu k-pop girl group) that if he’d mustered up the courage to get her a clothes iron as a present like the guy does at 1:05 in the MV, she would have been so happy, and would have probably reacted just like the girl does in the video, bouncing with glee. It may have even made their combined domestic ride a bit smoother. This video is often laughed at for being unrealistic due to the girl’s elated “oh wow – now I can iron all your shirts!” reaction to receiving the gift, and sure enough you can’t buy stuff like that for girls these days without people getting all uptight about it and saying that you’re an evil patriarchal oppressor chaining the poor girl to housework… but what if she likes ironing? I find her reaction quite realistic because I’ve met people like that, people like the girl I lived with all those years ago, who burned through an iron once every six months and really could have used a new one at any given moment. The lesson here: don’t let the politically correct police stand in the way of you doing what makes you and your partner or the people you care about happy – your personal relationships aren’t the business of some crusading Internet dickheads who think that one size fits all and that they know what’s best for everyone. If she really tells you that she wants an iron, don’t question it – just get her a goddamn iron already.
KARA – Wanna
Communication is handled very differently between boys and girls during childhood, and whether it’s the fault of social conditioning, brain chemistry or genetic predisposition is up for debate but the fact remains that whatever the reason, the communication styles between the genders during the early stages of life are very different. Boys are often taught that power can be attained through force of will, so usually a conflict in the schoolyard will escalate into a verbal shouting match or a physical fight which continues until the lesser party gives up or a third party intervenes. Boys for this reason tend to take communication situations on face value. Girls on the other hand find that power through force doesn’t work as well for them so they physically fight less overall, but instead compensate by learning how to get power ‘around the edges’ – advanced social skills such as forming allegiances and cliques, gossiping, and the language of non-verbal communication. Hence the stereotype of boys being “dumb” and girls being “bitchy” – neither of these are strictly true, rather boys are mostly locked out of the secret world of female non-verbal communication so they just work with what they have, whereas girls become accustomed to subterfuge sometimes at the expense of a degree of openness because this is often the most effective avenue of power available to them.
When puberty hits, the tables are turned and the old rules of direct application of power translating to a direct result no longer apply. Boys suddenly find that they now have a reason to talk to girls, but the lack of non-verbal knowledge bites the unprepared boys hard and makes it tricky for them to navigate socially at the girls’ higher level – “how do I talk to girls” is a question that many young male teenagers struggle with. Girls on the other hand by this stage essentially have codified a secret language which they can use until the boys catch up… and which many of them never do. Unfortunately for girls, often they don’t realise exactly how far ahead they are. A good example of this is “flirting” – flirting is classic non-verbal communication which is all about getting power around the edges without ever applying it directly by using the subtle power of suggestion, hoping that the other party will reciprocate with a more direct approach. The problem with flirting is that for the intended result to transpire, the other party needs to know that flirting is happening, and to the male mind trained on direct communication and face-value situations, the subtleties of flirting are a completely new language in which they have no experience. “Why doesn’t she just come out and say what she really wants from me?” the boy asks. Meanwhile the girl asks “how fucking more obvious can I possibly make it for this moron?”.
KARA’s “Wanna” provides the solution. The girl is sad at the start of the video that she can’t seem to get the guy to understand that she likes him. No problem, the girls wait until the guy leaves his house, trash the place and make it as dangerous and non OH&S-compliant as possible, ensuring that when he returns, he breaks his fucking legs. Fuck subtlety, guys don’t understand that flirting bullshit, you gotta snap the guy’s fibula in three places and then draw a love-heart on the cast if you really want some true love action. He’s gonna stare at that love heart every day for weeks while the leg heals, and sure you gotta have some patience but eventually the thought will probably twig inside his pea-brain “hey… I just had an amazing idea… what if she drew that heart on my leg because she likes me?”. Then he’s yours. Try it sometime.
Chaness – SeSeSe
While you can safely ignore most idiots blathering on about “rape culture” (when someone steals from your house they don’t call it “thief culture”, do they?) it shouldn’t be downplayed that rape is a big problem in society. Rape is statistically the cause of 100% of rape victims, 90% of annoying roleplayed screaming in Japanese adult videos, and at least 1% of k-pop CEOs going to prison plus it’s just generally horrible on a “nobody likes to be raped, because rape is by definition something that you do not want” level. One of the worst things about rape is that it’s a crime difficult to conclusively prove and that rape victims have a terrible time being believed, the ordeal of going through a harrowing courtroom procedure and reliving the awful experience in exacting detail for the jury can be as traumatic as the experience itself. It’s little wonder that so few rapes get reported and even fewer result in a conviction.
The MV for the song “SeSeSe” from LPG subunit Chaness demonstrates such a dilemma. The scumbag rapist in the MV gets rip-roaring drunk and decides to get his rapey on with a disabled woman. When her carer tries to intervene, she find herself on the receiving end of the rape instead. The carer girl however is no dummy – she knows that the South Korean legal system is pissweak and probably won’t back her, and that a rape trial that doesn’t turn into a conviction can not only see her rapist walk free to rape again but can also result in a counter-suit for perjury and false accusation. Fuck all that noise, who wants to go through all that? Not our female protagonist, that’s for sure – she instead decides to invite him to dinner, and then kills him with a drink spiked with RapeOff (slogan: “Kills Rapists Dead”) or some other similar anti-rapist repellant. The rapist should of course be grateful for such a subtle, aesthetically pleasing method of death, a less kind person would have burned off his genitals first, but I guess that would have lifted the video from a mere 15+ rating for drunken rape sex to a 19+ for genital mutilation and therefore unbroadcastable on Korean TV. It might have also blown out the special effects budget a bit too, ask any horror film director and they’ll tell you that convincing genital mutilation effects are a tricky thing to get right and require much “outside the box” thinking. God knows k-pop music videos are expensive enough as it is, I guess we’ve got to leave the genital gore to the death metal bands. Anyway the lesson here is that if you’re a creepy dude inclined towards rape, you might think you can get away with it because the legal system is so shit regarding rape in most places in the world but don’t get too comfy because someday someone will get sick of your bullshit and forget about the legal system (just like you did) and you will get fucking killed. Just watch JAV instead, there’s plenty of pretendy rapes you can watch in JAV and get your rocks off without actually harming anyone in the real world… or if you want something that feels a bit more real ask your consenting partner to do a rape roleplay with you or something. Feel free to use “Kpopalypse” as a safeword.
Hyomin – Nice Body
Inquiring minds still want to know what I think about trendy butthurt T-ara hate in 2014. Although the answer’s probably fairly obvious to most of you by now, it’s always worth a good revisit.
The girls don’t hate T-ara because of the scandal. The girls hate T-ara because the guys love T-ara, the scandal is just a convenient excuse which enables their hatred – the catalyst, but not the root cause. I’ve extrapolated on this before in fanfiction format, but it basically boils down to T-ara being way hotter than they are, and them feeling threatened – and nobody’s more aware of this than the songwriters and concept designers who have been working with T-ara members lately. Bravesound are no doubt T-ara fans (after all, they’re male) and likely just as sick of netizen bullshit as the next rational person, so they made sure that Hyomin’s “Nice Body” amps up that threat to female self-esteem to absolute fever pitch.
The video starts off with a chubby netizen (no netizen was shameless enough to appear and actually portray themselves so instead we get Boram in a fat suit) taking a break from typing out rows of “T-trash ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ” to eat some nutritious doughnuts. Upon spying a particularly luminous doughnut covered in what looks like gold paint thinner, she hastily scoffs it despite the fact that it’s been rolling around on the dirty floor and who knows where else it’s been. The psychoactive chemicals in the gold paint take effect quickly, and the netizen promptly hallucinates for a few minutes that she is as hot as T-ara’s Hyomin. Eventually she wakes up and feels sad as she plummets back to reality, then discovers a newfound commitment to weight-loss via hula-hooping. A quick summary of the song and video’s key points:
- Hyomin is hotter than you, because you are lazy and eat poorly
- You can only have a body like Hyomin through exercise and healthy diet
- Hyomin wants guys to desire her sexually
- Guys desire Hyomin sexually
- Guys like girls with nice bodies
- Hyomin has a nice body
- Hyomin’s measurements are 34-24-36, we’ll even put that on her clothing just so you don’t forget
This is an even bigger broadside to haters than T-ara N4’s “Jeon Won Diary” was. Instead of asking “Why U Hatin?”, “Nice Body” instead asks “why don’t you get off your computer keyboard and get some exercise, you ugly fat fucking slag?”. Now I’m certainly not one for fat-shaming and I’m actually quite a well-documented chubby chaser, but I still appreciate a good insult directed at netizens when I see one. The lesson here is that insults are justified when the target thoroughly deserves to be insulted, a subtlety that politically-correct taking-the-fun-out-of-language “omg you can’t say that” types always miss whenever they complain about how you can’t use “cunt”, “faggot” or any other offensive word. If I call someone a “faggot” for example, it’s not because I hate gay people (I definitely don’t, and I’ve probably got more gay/lesbian/bi friends than straight friends), but because I know that that particular person who I’m calling a faggot will be bothered by being called a faggot (even though I personally think it’s fine to be faggy). It’s a way of saying to them “I know you’re insecure about your own sexuality, so I’ll call you a faggot because I know that this bothers you because you’re so lame”. On the other hand if you’re not offended by homosexuality but instead are offended by chairs and tables, and you’re being a dick about something, I won’t bother with the “faggot” insult and instead I’ll call you a fucking piece of furniture. Offending the target is the whole point of an insult, if the insult wasn’t offensive to the recipient in some way, it wouldn’t even be worth using. It’s all very well to say “don’t insult people” but some people are just cockbags and really need to be insulted, it’s a healthy thing and it’s good for them to feel bad if they’re being jerks or whatever. As long as it’s richly deserved and I’m not the one who started it, I feel totally justified in letting people have it with both barrels – and so should you. There’s a time to be nice to people and a time to call someone a cao ni ma.
That’s the end of your K-pop life lessons with Kpopalypse! Remember to use your newfound wisdom and knowledge for good, not evil!