It’s time for caonima blogger Kpopalypse to catch up with k-pop SNS provocateur and erudite fan of all things Taehyung, AustralianSana!
I wanted to wait until after the Blackpink concert and also after Hard Quiz to talk to you again. So let’s talk about Hard Quiz. So how the hell did you actually get on Australian national TV as a “BTS expert”?
It wasn’t actually that hard. My parents and I watched the show already, and at the end of it there’s usually a thing saying “if you think that you can be on Hard Quiz, apply with this link below”. Midway through last year I thought “well why not, I’ll just go for the link”, because my parents were like “you should apply” and I’d say back to them “you should apply!”. So I applied for the hell of it just to see and I forgot about it. When the application is online, you fill in a bit of basic information about yourself. You list multiple topics, so for everyone who is like “oh, you’re just using BTS” – it wasn’t even guaranteed that I’d get BTS in the first place. You have to not just include one thing, you’ve got to include multiple things. So I had BTS as one, but I also had the Boston Redsox which is a baseball team that I’ve followed for longer than I’ve been a fan of BTS, and then I think I might’ve put Twice or another k-pop group as well. So that happened, and they also had a miniature quiz which is like a little version of the rapid-fire general knowledge round that you have to do on there as well. I did well enough on that quiz general-knowledge wise, that I got an email back from them saying “are you able to come in for a group casting”. There’s multiple group castings in one day, I was in the first lot, and there was at least 50 people if not more, and then they have them around the country as well. You go up in groups of three or four and they give you a number and call you up to ask about your topic. It’s a weird thing to try and describe, because it obviously happened a while ago.
One of the things they ask, which stayed in my mind, it’s that it’s not about how passionate you are, or how big of a fan you are of the topic – it’s how much you know, and how you can prove that you know what you’re talking about. So this probably explains why I was the one cast, and not all the people bitching in my mentions! It’s not like you can go up and say [fangirl voice] “I love BTS so much, and like, I’m such a big fan of them and I love then and they’re such good people…” it’s not the passion, which don’t get me wrong, I have an amount of – but it’s more like “well, I became a fan in year X and these are the things that I learned about, and I get my information from X Y Z resources, and this is why I think I know the most about this topic”.
After the first part of the auditions, they “cull” – their word, not mine – about half the people who are in the room, and I obviously stayed past that. They also did a general knowledge rapid fire round as well and you just had to use your name as the buzzer. This is why I was disappointed in the TV show performance that I had, because in the casting round I did so well in the general knowledge they asked me to stop answering questions so other people would have a chance. So I did really really well, and that’s probably how I got cast in the show in the first place. It was all to do with the luck of the draw. Other people were doing other rounds and I was listening in and thinking “oh shit I don’t know half of any of these questions, I’m fucked” but for whatever reason when I went up I just knew a vast majority of the stuff they were asking so I was just able to easily come in with the answers, so it was just pure dumb luck that I was asked questions that I knew. Then they did another cull, and then they did individual interviews on camera in a separate room. They asked questions based on the application that I had filled out, and they asked “why do you think we should cast your for Hard Quiz?” and it wound up being the thing that [host] Tom said to me on the show as well. I literally didn’t think that people bothered to read all these things, so I wrote “because everyone on the show is old, and we need people talking about new things! Everyone’s talking about old stuff for old people, get me in and you can appeal to the youth demographic!”
I liked that part of the show!
Yeah, so I just took the piss out of that and they ended up reading it and using it on the TV show! So after that they just said “we’ll be in touch if you get through”, quite a while went by and then it was my mum’s birthday in January when we got the email saying “congratulations we’d love to have you on Hard Quiz” and then I filmed in March or April down in Melbourne.
So you say it’s not that hard to get on, but it actually seems like a multi-tier idol-style elimination process over many months!
It’s weird, because if you go back and think about it obviously it’s quite a long process and there’s definitely not a guaranteed shot that you’re going to get on the show, but for me it wasn’t hard because I wasn’t really trying. Everyone is like “oh you’re using BTS for clout, and you’re using this for this” and I’m like “mate I just winged it, I had no legitimate expectation of getting on the show at all”, so everyone’s got this idea in their head that I’m conspiring to use BTS to launch my own career of some sort, and I’m like “what fucking career?” I don’t even have a personal public Instagram or Twitter or business, and I have no intention of ever having a public-style celebrity career, so what is this so-called “clout” that I’m seeking? What do I gain from any of this nonsense? I absolutely winged it, and then I got through, and was like “well okay, why not” – I always sit around and talk about how I’d do good on the show and then I fuckin’ went on it and did shit!
[laughs] Well at least you go on there, it was entertaining, I thought… and you were a lot younger than the people on there, too. I don’t even watch the show, I had never even heard of it before I heard you were on it.
It’s pretty popular, it’s the #1 ranked show in the timeslot. I check the ratings the day after the show aired and it was 947,000.
That’s pretty good.
By Australian standards, yeah. One of the clips on Twitter that’s circulating right now is 200,000 views. My impact! [laughs]
I was pretty amused by the BTS fans who were all very happy to see someone on Hard Quiz promoting BTS, until they realised who it was!
Oh, that was hilarious!
So let’s get to some questions for us… well, mainly you, as per last time! So: Hi oppar, great to hear that you enjoyed the BP concert. I’m sure AustralianSana will enjoy it as well. [This was asked after the Melbourne show but before the Sydney show.] Can the both of you rank BP’s live performances (both BP songs and their solo stages), in order of preference?
As much as everyone likes to take the piss out of them, saying they don’t have many songs, if you think about it, it was nearly two hours of content, so that would have to be a lot to sort through. There wasn’t any bad performances at all, even if you rank something last, it wasn’t because it was a bad performance, it was just preference of what you like more. So for me, I really really really liked Rosé’s solo stage, which was the mix of her song “Coming Home” which is obviously super-sentimental because she’s Australian, and then it went into her cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be“, Bom’s “You And I“, and there’s another song that I didn’t know the name of that was a cover.
Speaking of being on TV, I was in the front of the pit in Sydney VIP and had a sign for Rosé that said “Rosé for new YG CEO – CEOsé” and I held it up at some stage and later on when Rosé was having her performance, there was someone who came around with a camera. I’m not sure what it was for, but it was definitely a YG staff member, and I have never cried at a concert so much in my life. I have been to multiple, I have seen many of my favourite artists, I’ve seen Gfriend, I’ve seen BTS, and I somewhat had little tears in “Spring Day” when that was performed – so I guess it’s a half-truth. I had little half-tears for “Spring Day” because it’s a very sentimental song for me as well. I’ve seen Twice, I’ve seen so many other people who I’ve been a long-term fan of, but for Rosé’s solo pretty much when she start doing The Beatles “Let It Be” I really started crying. I don’t know why, it was just a really really good performance of it, I liked it, I thinks he’s got a wonderful voice, I have somewhat of an attachment to that Beatles song as well, and that combination of her being the one to sing it and it being a song I already liked… I had a sense of just being happy for her. It was a wonderful thing for her and I just felt very very happy for her and I just thought she was just a very beautiful performer as well, so I felt somewhat emotional and then the fucking camera got shoved in my face, so as if I haven’t been embarrassed enough on Hard Quiz! Some YouTube thing will probably come out about the Sydney concert and you’ll see me bawling. Yay! Looking forward to it!
I’m just trying to think about song rankings… I guess it’d just be the same as my lists. The songs sounded pretty much the same live as they did on the albums or whatever. It probably all sounded a little bit better live thanks to the fact that there was a live band that was able to just give them a bit more punch, and the songs that I wanted to hear live were played, but it didn’t change my opinion of the songs, I still didn’t like the ones I don’t like and I still like the ones I like. Someone could just work out the rankings themselves. As for the solo set, I didn’t really care that much about the solo stages. Rosé‘s one was certainly nice because of the special meaning, as she was literally coming home, I thought they were well-chosen songs even though I didn’t really like them. I liked Jisoo’s spot the best because she did a song which I’d never heard of which I thought was quite good.
She did Zedd’s “Clarity” but the lyrics were in Korean.
I didn’t really care much for what Lisa did, because it was just dancing to western songs I didn’t like much, and Jennie did “Solo“, I don’t really care about that song much. My favourite songs from Blackpink are probably “Forever Young” and “I Don’t Know What To Do“, also “Playing With Fire“.
My favourite song as a group by far is “As If It’s Your Last” so I was really excited when they started performing that.
I think that the most recent singles really work very well as live songs.
Yes. When “Kill The Love” came out, well the video was great. The song itself isn’t insufferable, but I feel like there’s certain parts that definitely could have been better. That last bit where they sing “Kill this love yeah it’s sad but true / gotta kill this love before it kills you too” I felt like that would have been a better chorus rather than something to end on, but as a live performance I thought it was very entertaining. So it’s one of those things where as you’re saying it’s made better by the fact it’s got the live band and it’s got the atmosphere that’s going on.
I had a good time, I’m glad I went.
I had this sign that I took as well, the first one as I mentioned before was the “Rosé as new YG CEO” and then the other sign that I had was for Jennie. It was the same sign but I wrote on the back of it, so I wrote a sign saying “Jennie don’t apologise for your health”, I think you would have seen it on Twitter.
Yeah I saw both of them. Did the members actually see these and acknowledge them?
They did. Rosé saw it when they were doing the soundcheck, because I was there as part of the VIP package and when you’re there there’s less people around you so obviously more chance of them actually seeing it. So she saw it and she laughed! So that shows how much they care about YG getting booted! [laughs] The sign for Jennie, especially given everything that’s been going on in her history, there was the whole “motion sickness” incident, and literally a week before the concert she was very faint on stage at an event in the Philippines, and there was a concert where she had to leave early and didn’t get to do the encore, there’s been recurring incidents of her being very easily run-down, and that obviously gets into speculation of what’s the cause for it, is it things you don’t know. She’s always the one who’s apologising for it and I feel like that’s a very unfair situation because it’s obviously something that she can’t control, and she’s obviously still being forced to work in these conditions, and YG hasn’t been very good at adapting for her. There’s things they could do to help her, for example if she’s feeling faint she should be able to speak to someone and then still potentially perform on the stage but do it on a chair or something like that, so she’s not having to force herself to do the choreography while being faint and risking her health. I’m sure there’s many other examples of things they could be doing better, so the sign for her was basically just saying “don’t apologise for your health” and she saw it and basically shook her head like “oh, no no no!” and I’m looking at her like “YES! Please do not feel bad about your health it’s obviously something you can’t control!” so I just wanted her to know that a lot of people do care about her as a person and we don’t want her feeling guilty over things that she has no real control over, because I highly doubt that Jennie’s going “oh yeah, I wanna be sick today!”
[laughs] Let’s move onto the next question. There’s two questions in this one. Hi, first of all congrats to AustralianSana for completing uni. This is coming from a very lost student about to enter her last year of uni herself so I’m a bit jealous. Please wish me luck!
But for the real questions:
1. I’m currently trying to do a project based around the parasocial relationships of fans and idols with an emphasis on mental health. I think it’s really important especially now for this to be a topic of conversation. I’m going to Korea in a few months for a semester so any tips or advice about this would be appreciated though I still wonder if this is viable research?
Yeah that’s definitely interesting. So I did a semester abroad in Korea in 2016 and I’m not exactly sure if it’s tied to the same topic, but something that I experienced when I was over there, was I remember some sort of casting call, and I can’t remember how I came across it, if it was a friend of a friend or that kind of thing, but the idea was they wanted to follow around a foreigner who was a fan of k-pop idols living in Korea, and I was briefly put in touch with the person because someone had recommended me to them “you’re overseas and you’re a fan of k-pop, why don’t you do that?” and I was just like “ehhh, if I get paid!” so I answered a couple of questions for them. Fun fact for everyone who thinks I’m insane on Twitter, which I somewhat am, but not as bad as they think I am – I essentially didn’t end up getting the part or whatever it was because I wasn’t the insane person that they were looking for. It became quite obvious to me due to the way that they were asking the questions that they were looking for a “crazy k-pop fan” who was like obsessed. I was answering their questions like “how often do you go and see people perform?” and I was like “well if I happen to have time between the course that I’m studying then I’ll arrange for a day to go, and I have a couple of friends who work in the industry somewhat so I was able to get press passes to one event, and I enjoy taking photos whenever I can, I keep my eye on for events that are online, so for example Gfriend posted a Tweet once saying they were performing in Yorinaru so I was like sweet I can go after my class and I went and had a good time, and took my camera and got some good photos”. They were more after people who will blow off Uni for the day, and interact only with other fans of the group, that real level of obsession, so if they’re wondering if the mental health thing exists, it absolutely does and it’s very surreal. It’ll be an interesting thing if you’ll be able to crack into it and find it, especially if you’ve got limited time for one semester, because it can be very cliquey and obviously a lot of them don’t like talking to “the others” because they feel like they’re going to be judged, which they are. So it’ll be interesting to see if you can even find someone willing to be interviewed about it, or observe it, but if you go along to enough things, you’ll be able to recognise who the fansites are, regular people who attend performances, and not all of them are insane either. I met someone who I’m still friends with now, who’s a fan of SHINee, at one of the MNet recordings. It was just the things that they had to do to even get into a recording which were insane. SHINee’s a really really hard group to get in with, because it’s all to do with official memberships, and SHINee hasn’t had official memberships open in five years. It’ll be interesting to see if they can get in with it. There’s definitely a lot of commentary to be had about it obviously, just from what you can already see online.
The second question from this person, you’ve got quite a few BTS questions: 2. Another question as someone who likes BTS. As of late, I feel rather jaded with them but I think it’s mostly due to the fandom and perhaps how their company presents them (especially with the latest BTS Global app not doing any favors). They were my first k-pop group (circa 2015) so I’ll perhaps always have a soft spot for them but how do you carry on with your love for them especially your devotion to Tae? Cause I also bias one of the members but I feel more anti towards him and them in a cynical way though I still enjoy their content. I understand from your previous posts that focusing on the boys themselves and who they are as the individuals they present to us is what we should focus on but that is muddled by the blind devotion of ARMYs and the exploitation of their images through BigHit. Please tell me your thoughts on this and apologies for the long topic request. Thanks also to Kpopalypse for redirecting me here from Qrimole~
Interesting, I think I know that account – I’m not sure! Obviously that’s quite a few questions in one. I obviously see a few of the points that they’re talking about. I think anyone who knows my account, anyone who is on Twitter, anyone who has seen the mess that has been my mentions since the Hard Quiz episode, will know that I am not on good standing with the fandom of BTS (ARMYs), I think a lot of them – not all of them, because I’ve got mutuals who are ARMYs still – but a lot of what the mainstream Twitter ARMY opinion has become is really quite horrible. So for me, asking “how do you cope with that”, I block, and I block a lot of people! I have over 2,280 people blocked as of last count, I will block anyone who comes into my mentions being edgy and trying to quote my retweet so they can get likes from their followers, or trying to get in with the big accounts who hate me. A lot of them just do it for approval, and if they’re going to do it I really don’t give a shit and I don’t want to see it! I know that everyone’s still going to be talking about my account whether I block them or not, it’s just whether I have to put up with it, and I don’t want to! So that’s a huge thing for me. The other thing is finding somewhat like-minded people. Obviously you don’t want to be putting yourself into an echo-chamber, so I don’t only follow people who I agree with all the time, but I follow people who allow criticism and who allow independent thought, so I’ve got people who think very differently from me in terms of their favourite songs, or in terms of how they think a group should be managed, but we have respect for each other and the fact that we should be able to voice our own opinions on our own accounts without getting doxxed for it.
[Addressing the BTS management side of the question] It’s a hard thing to describe because there’s a lot of things that have gone on with BTS from 2016 to where they are now, notably the biggest thing for them is the BBMA’s in 2017 which essentially launched their whole American endeavours, and that has been very bittersweet, because it’s obviously brought in a whole lot of income for them but then it’s also seen a reduction in quality because they’re now so busy that it’s impossible for them to have the same level of input into their music that they used to have, and that level of input was what made their music so good in the first place. So you’ve got a section of the fandom which is in the minority because everyone just wants instant gratification, the majority want new content as soon as they can, so that’s why people are happy to see new albums out every six months no matter who the writing credits are, and they get bigger every time a new album comes out because more people have to be brought on to write the songs because the less time BTS actually have to write their own music anymore. For me and then another section of the fandom that exists, we would prefer it if BTS were the ones to write their own music and we would gladly wait a whole year between albums if not longer, if it were to mean that they were the ones who were writing all of the music like they used to. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that before in their earlier days that they didn’t write the entirety of their songs, I know that for a fact because I helped someone in 2014 who was arranging a producer to work with them. I kow that sounds like such a brag now, but back then they were a lot smaller and the person was asking “who do you know in k-pop in terms of what groups that you know” and I mentioned that BTS was a good group to keep an eye out for, they then asked me for background information on BTS before they had a meeting with BigHit, I explained what the group was, what their sound was, what their concept was, and then they got back to me a few months later saying “thanks for the help, thanks for making me look like I knew what I was talking about, this is the songwriter I wound up linking them to”. So I didn’t do that much, but I do know a little bit about the process, so I’m aware that they’ve always had some help with their composition, but the input they had was so much more back then. Now, Namjoon probably writes the majority of the lyrics, and the rappers Hoseok and Yoongi will usually write their own parts as well, but there’s little things that are missing compared to what they used to be able to do. One of my favourite songs in the group was “Boys With Fun” and it’s a song which every single group has songwriting credits as well, and the only one as well. It was a great song before I realised that, and obviously I liked it even more after that, it’s a really really fun song. Everyone’s really into this whole thing which is “oh it means love yourself and there’s so much deep sentimental meaning behind this” and it’s like “fuck off”, if anyone was bothering to pay any attention to the group they’re supposedly a fan of, they would have listened to Namjoon at the most recent press conference they had, where he literally flat-out said “I didn’t even read the book the CEO told me to base his album concept on” which was Jung’s Map Of The Soul. He didn’t even fuckin’ read the book, he just said he SparkNotesed it pretty much. More power to him, that was just me writing all my essays in high school – that’s not a drag, as much as anyone on Twitter will tell you that’s me being an anti I think it’s quite hilarious. So there’s just a huge level of difference between them having a lot more influence and opinion in their craft vs now being told what to write about, “this is the book you’re going to be doing a concept on, this is who you’re going to be working with to write your songs, just translate the English lyrics into Korean and therefore you still have your writing credits”. They’re still involved to some degree in the production, they probably do a bit of mixing, a bit of rearrangement, but it’s just you can hear it if you listen to their older music and you listen to the music they’re releasing now, it’s a lot more westerner-friendly because they’re trying to break into the radio play. So when I’m asked “how can you still be a fan”, don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually hate a lot of the new stuff, it’s just that I don’t like it as much as their older stuff which is like top-tier to me. So I spend a lot more time listening to the older stuff than I do compared to the new stuff that comes out. I’ll check out the new albums and I’ll still enjoy at last more than half the songs and I’ll have specific favourite songs that I’ll listen to a lot more, so I’ll enjoy those songs, but I’ll keep going back to the stuff that made me a fan of them in the first place.
The next question is actually very similar, but I’ll ask you it anyway as you might have a slightly different spin on it: What do you think about BigHit stifling the futures of BTS post disbandment or outside of the group as a whole aka making the boys NEED BigHit by stopping the members producing on the album tracks or not doing more solo activities?
That’s definitely a thing, and it’s been a huge source of conflict on Twitter, because any time someone tries to bring it up, the majority of the fandom will try to shut it down because…
Anything that’s even slightly negative…
Yeah, it’s weird the way the fandom, who is meant to be a fan of the artist, is acting a lot more in the company’s interest than the actual artist’s. I think there’s a lot of things to break down about that. I remember reading about it, right before the contract negotiations started, before they announced their seven-year resigning, Bang Sihyuk the CEO filed a whole lot of copyright patents, to do with BT21, to do with all of their songwriting credits, and stuff like that. He basically put them in a position where even if they wanted to leave, they would have no opportunity if they left, because they wouldn’t be able to access their own creations. It’s very similar to what Woollim did with Infinite. Hoya left the group and he didn’t resign but the other six did, and ever since he left he hasn’t been able to use the fanclub name, he hasn’t been able to sing any of his old group’s music even though he did have songwriting credits on a couple of those old songs, he wrote all his raps, so he hasn’t been able to perform songs he had writing credits on. He also has been blacklisted from music shows, which I heavily believe to be Woollim’s influence. So it’s basically like saying ” yeah you can leave, but you’re going to be fucked if you do”. I believe that that’s definitely what BigHit would be doing because BTS is their only comfortable asset right now, so if they lose that they lose their entire company, which is now becoming worth a billion dollars, so they’re not exactly just going to let that asset go. People seem to think that a billion dollar company is just going to politely say “please don’t leave us” and is not going to financially pressure and use influence over quite young men vs people who have been in this business for a very long time and this industry is extremely toxic so that should tell you a lot about the people who are in charge of it. So there’s definitely a lot of shit that went along with that. There’s a lot of stifling going on, because the members becoming confident in their own abilities is also a threat to them, because if they start thinking “oh I can rebuild myself even without BTS’s name” that’s a threat to them. So you’ve got Yoongi who is doing a lot of composing, and then they basically shut it down and say “your songs are not BTS’s sound” which I think is the dumbest fucking thing I have ever heard. How the fuck is a BTS member writing songs that is not BTS’s sound, but then some white person in America [is allowed to write for BTS] – what, are you kidding me? I think he’s a very intelligent person, everyone knows Namjoon has the high IQ in the group, but I think Yoongi has got a lot of street-smarts, and is clever, and is obviously very good at his writing, so he just goes and writes for Epik High, he was featured in their least album, he wrote that song for Heize, and then he basically submitted it behind BigHit’s back. I think there are certain things that BigHit are trying to do to restrict them, but I think certain members are better than others at being able to work around it. I will always have a lot of respect for the way that Yoongi holds himself, I’m obviously disappointed for other members like Seokjin, because he was kind of getting into the group to pursue acting, but he’s never had a drama, and there’s been a lot of reports of people coming out saying “we’ve tried to cast him, but BigHit says he’s too busy, BigHit says it’s only OT7 or nothing” and that was a really big issue that happened about a week or two ago when the city of Daegu wanted to do something to honour Taehyung and Yoongi for tourism and everything that they’ve done for the region because that’s where they come from, and then there was stuff about all the other members were potentially having the same thing coming from their cities, but it was an individual honour, so BigHit rejected it, and the reason for the rejection was “we only allow it if it’s a group activity” so you can only book all of them or nothing. A day or two later, that “Seoul Town Road” remix then dropped, and that only has Namjoon in it. So it’s pretty obvious that there are schedules that members can get, but it’s BigHit that’s picking and choosing which ones they’re allowed to do, and they simply brush off anything they say they’re not allowed to do as “oh you have to do all the members” when that’s really not the reason as if that was the reason, there’s be nothing at all, but there’s still things, so that just doesn’t make sense.
Do you think it’s interesting that a group that peddles a “love yourself, express yourself” kind of narrative in their songs is being semi-stifled in a lot of ways?
Hilarious is the wrong word, because it’s not something that’s funny, it’s quite sad really. It’s quite ironic that the fandom that’s supposed to be “anti-bullying #endviolence” is probably the most abusive fandom that exists! So there’s a lot of contradictions that exist around BTS right now.
Next question: So I assume you’ve heard about BTS (and Stray Kids and Suju) performing in Saudi Arabia. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on it? My personal reaction was just a disappointed-but-not-surprised head shake. Now that’s a question from my QRIMOLE but I thought I’d just re-ask it to you, because that was from the question-asker who I directed to you anyway who had another question before.
On my Twitter I’ve been very critical of it, very vocal about it, and again, this is another thing where the fandom is actively trying to bully anyone into silence who dares to speak up about it. For Super Junior and Stray Kids, it’s disappointing, whereas with BTS I think it’s at another level [of disappointment] because it’s extremely hypocritical of them to be “the face of the United Nations” and “talk about ending violence” and at every single concert stop so far they’ve had a booth for UNICEF to talk about all the good the “love yourself” campaign has done, and a particular statistic that they like to mention is that they’ve raised $2 million that is being applied to Yemen.
Yeah, exactly! So they tell everyone “$2 million, we’re helping feed starving children in Yemen and this is how we’re ending violence”. That doesn’t fucking add up when you then do a government-funded concert for Saudi Arabia who are the entire cause of the problem in Yemen. And then people were like [fangirl voice] “oh, if you’re so against human-rights violations, then why were you silent when they were performing in America and everything that’s going on with the children in the camps?” and 1. if anyone does follow my Twitter they will know that I regularly do retweet things about how much America is a shit country, so I was against them going to America so suck shit, and 2. the concerts in America were not funded by Trump. So this is the equivalent of Saudia Arabia, if they were doing concerts in America that were basically presidential campaigns, funded by Trump, and all about endorsing Trump’s presidency. That is what the Saudi Arabia concert is – it is funded by the Kingdom, it is deliberately being organised by the Saudi Arabian government to try and whitewash their history and whitewash their human rights atrocities because they want to try and market the country as something that’s now tourism friendly. This is a country where women were not allowed to drive until last year, and the women who actually protested and fought for the right to drive, are now locked up in Saudi prisions and being tortured and being raped and having horrible things done to them, and they were the whole reason the laws were changed, but then the government changes it and claims that they were the ones to do it and locks up any dissenters.
People in Saudi Arabia are obviously going to defend their government, because if you say anything against them, you’re gonna get locked up and tortured. So I’m not particularly mad about Saudi Arabian fans, who are like “how dare they try and cost us our concert!”. No I’m not trying to cost you a concert even though your pea-brain seems to think that’s what all of this is about, if anything I just feel sorry for them. It’s the international fandom that I’m just honestly disgusted by, because it’s a campaign about ending violence that they’re so passionate about, and they’re so passionate about all the good BTS does, but then they’re actively silencing people who are trying to speak out about a human rights issue that is far bigger than an individual concert, and every time someone tries to bring it up it’s like “oh you’re just trying to ruin this for Saudi Arabian fans” and it’s like they can’t speak up about this, it’s essentially our job to try and apply pressure to BigHit and the UN and anyone who can try to get this concert cancelled, and no-one wants to step up and do it because they, again, don’t want to voice any criticism.
The ironic thing is, by not voicing the criticism, it’s only going to come back and bite them in the ass, because this is essentially like what happened years ago when BTS did a photoshoot at a Holocaust memorial very early in their career. I do remember bringing it up at one point and ARMYs were like “Shut up! Shut up! Bury it! Bury it! Don’t talk about it and it’ll go away!” and then what happened last year is that whole incident blew up about Jimin’s shirt that he was wearing that was to do with the Japan bomb, and then when that happened people then brought up the Holocaust thing, which had never been addressed, but any time someone did try to address it the fandom actively bullied them into silence, but if we had been able to address it and talk about it we would have gotten an apology a lot, lot sooner than the one they had to come out with last year. So it’s going to be one of those things that even if it doesn’t happen in October, I do believe that it’s going to come back and bite them in the ass, because it basically just makes their entire campaign for UNICEF and their entire campaign for ending violence… it makes it a joke, because they’re going off and performing for the country that’s responsible for the whole crisis, and it’s entirely political. It is political, everyone will go on and say “it’s just a concert”, no it’s literally being organised by the government, to be used as a government campaign.
The next question, and you’ve already talked a little about this too,and this is getting away from the BTS – or maybe not: Can you guys talk about online haters? We’ve already heard a lot of how kpopalypse handles it, but what about AustralianSana? I’m curious why you choose to interact with your haters and defend yourself when they’ll never listen to reason. Seriously, just reading the comments about you makes my brain want to explode with the stupidness.
Yeah we’ve already discussed this a bit. 1. I think it’s funny because a lot of people will say “you’re a grown woman and you’re arguing with teenagers on Twitter” If you’re a teenager and you’re coming into Twitter on my mentions, I don’t know how fucking old you are, all I see is a person talking shit, and if you’re old enough to talk shit, you’re old enough to get shit talked back to you. 2. I block a lot more than I reply to, I’m ignoring a hell of a lot more than I’m feeding into, and for the most part I don’t tend to reply individually, I tend to put out my own Tweet “in regards to this, this is actually the real story”. In terms of using Twitter as a platform, it’s something that I’ve had since 2010, so I basically refuse to be bullied off it by a bunch of kids who made an account a year ago if they’re lucky, and I’ve seen a lot of good people deactivate and be bullied off of the platform over the years I’ve been on it and I really don’t like sending the message that people can get what they want by harassing people into doing what they want. So that’s a huge reason why I don’t deactivate and I’ve got backup accounts ready to go if I do ever get permanently suspended, so people will be like “oh we’ve finally gotten rid of her” and I’ll come back like “surprise bitch, bet you thought you saw the last of me!” I refuse to let these people think that they can get what they want by the way that they’re acting.
In terms of coping, sometimes depending on how severe the harassment is, I can just set my notifications to “followers only” or “people that I’m following only” so that’s all that I’ll see in my mentions, I do have a lot more of a life outside of Twitter that I think people realise. I’ve got close friends around the area where I live, I’ve got friends who live a lilttle further away that I might go and take a road trip and go visit, I have other hobbies, I have a gym membership so if anything happens that leaves me feeling anxious or I’ve got a lot of pent-up energy to want to get out of my system I can just go to the gym and work out for a while until it’s just something that I’m not even thinking about anymore. I also do figure staking, and I’m not particularly good at it, I’m unfortunately not good enough to be able to choreograph a routine to a song that I want to do – one day but not today! – but when you’re on ice you’re balancing on a blade that’s 3mm thick or less so you don’t have much room to be thinking about anything other than what you’re doing, so figure-skating is a great distraction for if anything starts getting too messy on Twitter. Other things that I’m quite invested in, I’ve got a job – it’s not particularly flashy or anything, it’s just a casual hospitality job that I do to support myself until my graduation, so I go to work a few days a week, I’ve got an online course that I’m doing at the moment, and I do art and I like to draw, and drawing is something that’s great, you’re spending a lot of time on a picture and your mind doesn’t really wander much when you’re doing that. I’m also a massive super-fan of the TV show Survivor, so I’ve been going back and marathoning 38 seasons of the American show, I’ve been doing that for quite a whole now as that’s a lot of content to get through, and I’m watching the Australian season that’s on at the moment, and YES I will be applying for that after my Hard Quiz appearance! If I can fluke my way onto Hard Quiz I’d better fucking get onto Survivor which is a show I actually want to be on! It’s a lit easier to cope when you’re an adult than when you’re a teenager, I think, because you’ve got more freedom to be able to do what you want and life experience to know that there’s shit that’s a hell of a lot worse than what’s going on on Twitter. I had that whole shit with my health and my lung collapsing years ago, so anytime that something does seem bad I’m like “remember that time when I was in the emergency room and they had to stick a tube in my lung and the pain medication they gave me wasn’t very good so I essentially felt a tube that was eight inches long being inserted into my chest”? Twitter ain’t got shit on that, I’ll tell you that much!
That’s about it. Last thing from me – are you going to see Dreamcatcher?
I’m not sure at this stage. I want to go, obviously to support girl groups in the country, the main thing for me is I’ve already got a few days that I’ve had to take off work this month, I’ve got another conert that I’m going to, I’ve got a friend’s graduation recital, I’ve possibly got something else coming up as well, and then I’ve got my car being fixed on Thursday that I had to take a day off work for, so it’s going to be difficult to take the day off for it. If I’m not rostered on at work then I’ll likely buy the ticket to go, so that’s basically what it’s depending on at this stage.
One other question – and I don’t completely understand this question to be perfectly honest, you might make more sense of it than me, because the link this person has linked to is broken but you might know it. This YouTuber is getting bashed by some armies for criticsising BTS while actually being their fan. It’s nothing new that stans don’t understand criticising some doesn’t mean you hate them/ aren’t their fan. So what where your encounters / experiences with such people? Do you think they make the majority of fans, or are they just a loud minority? Is this related to age though?
Yeah the link is broken, I think the person who the original YouTube is, has been blocked, or has deleted the Tweet or the account went private. I think it’s to do with the platform, which is Twitter – I think Twitter thrives on bullying, a lot more than platforms like Facebook or Instagram do, and funnily enough I wrote about that as my graduating essay topic for Uni and I essentially wrote that Twitter is its own culture, its own society, whereas a lot of people seem to think that social media is an extension of our current real world reality, I argue that Twitter has enough requirements of what a society is to make up a society in itself. One of the biggest factors in this society is how that bullying on Twitter is required to thrive, it’s how people form relationships, it’s how people feel validated, it’s how people build their followings, it’s how people keep their followings, it’s a bonding exercise for a lot of people. It’s an interesting thing that they mention age, because I’m sure a lot of people will agree that the stereotype of people who do this stuff is teenagers, but for me what I’ve noticed is that a lot of the people who are at the head, are quite old, and I mean older than me. I know one account who is 30 years old, if not older. There’s another account called MsBeatrice and I think she was born in 1981 and I think she’s got a sister on this app as well. There’s another account called DarlingSpectrum, who tried to get someone fired from their job, she emailed or called their job trying to get them fired for stuff that was on Twitter, and she is obviously an adult. I think that the worst people who do it are actually quite old, like 30s to 40s, and it’s just very weird to me that they’re the people who the fandom has given all this power to, it’s like – for what reason?
Age doesn’t always mean maturity.
It’s weird. I don’t even know how to properly go into it, but I think it’s a problem. Of course I would think it’s a problem being on the receiving end of it so much, and it’s funny because everyone seems to have this idea that I’m the bully in their own head, because you know, everyone’s the good guy in their own story, so to me I’m the good guy in mine but to them I’m the bad guy and they’re the good guy in theirs, and perception is reality when it comes to the Internet. For me, I don’t go around launching… what is it, you follow me on Twitter, I don’t know how many times I’ve done an “expose thread”, probably never. I don’t really go around making screenshot-threads about how horrible an account is and why everyone I know should have to block and report them. It’s a weird way that this is somehow the culture, and the mentality of a lot of people in this fandom, it’s very strange, but it is unfortunately what it is.
That’s all for this post! If you would like to see AustralianSana & Kpopalypse discuss something in the next episode, you can submit a topic request via the form below, or if no form appears, you can click on the picture of YG’s new CEO Rosé firing Seungri below to open the link to the request box as a separate webpage. Stay safe, caonimas!