Kpopalypse is back with the AustralianSana podcast, in this extra-special extra-long edition!
Lots of timestamps and relevant links below! You’ll need them!
0:00 – Goo Hara’s passing
10:08 – concerns about IU
24:05 – what’s holding CLC back?
33:15 – toxic k-pop fandom through the lens of Gamergate “grievance culture”
41:59 – TS Entertainment
49:45 – Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself
51:03 – Jeb Bush
51:25 – Kpopalypse plays the Fuck/Marry/Kill game with the Big Three CEOs
52:29 – right-wing BTS fans
56:22 – police shoot aboriginal man wielding knife in Northern Territory, Australia
1:05:45 – the viral k-pop psychologist
1:07:03 – how did Pristin find the key to Pledis’ k-pop dungeon?
1:09:49 – Family Guy
1:10:55 – k-pop idols self-producing as a trend, for men only?
1:17:58 – sexual k-pop concepts and dog-whistle
1:24:37 – Game Of Thrones
1:25:16 – electric kettles in the US
1:26:47 – “Trick Or Treating” in Australia
1:28:50 – [BREAKING] [EXCLUSIVE] AustralianSana exposes the controversial truth about Flat Earth theory
1:28:57 – Iron Man (spoilers!)
1:29:21 – UN peacekeepers rape children
1:31:12 – female wrestling in Saudi Arabia
1:33:06 – cork hats
1:33:23 – why does AustralianSana use Pepe The Frog memes?
1:34:00 – AustralianSana, do you care that Kpopalypse is a massive pervert who blogs about anime porn games?
1:36:24 – Sulli Law
1:38:15 – Gfriend’s buyout by BigHit
1:38:36 – The coverage of SuperM’s #1 hit in the US
1:46:09 – technical difficulties/sympathy for the transcriber
1:47:15 – the reaction of BTS fans to the BTS Saudi concert
1:52:24 – how to handle fandoms?
2:02:50 – CAMEL PISS
Click here for a remixed version if you find the stereo hard-panning to be a difficult listen.
Transcription below – I can’t believe that someone actually did this! Incredible!
KP: So, you have some stuff on your mind.
AS: Yeah, um, I mean, the obvious situation right now is Hara having passed away.
AS: It’s always a bit of a weird thing like where do you actually, like what’s the first starting point, I guess.
KP: How do you even begin to discuss such a thing that’s fairly multifaceted. I guess when I heard about this especially so close after Sulli also passing…It certainly reconfirms a lot of the people who my friends, who were only casually into K-pop or only sort of vaguely know about K-pop how they feel about it, the knowledge of things like slave contracts and poor conditions for workers and stuff like that is reasonably well known now among the general non-K-pop liking population because there’s been sporadic media coverage of those things that sort of been leaking out through the years and this sort of incident has obviously played into a lot of people’s feelings that, you know, K-pop’s just a bad thing. So, myself and many others are probably only get – a lot of people were saying, “Why are still interested in this. Why don’t you just give it up, you know, look for something more less obviously corrupt?” I’m playing devil’s advocate here to a degree, but it’s something that – it’s something – that’s going to be coming up for a lot of people, so I’m interested to hear you address that as a starting point.
AS: Yup, yeah so that’s definitely been the main viewpoint of a lot of people when talking about this for the first time. For example, I’ve been in contact with someone who works as a journalist and they basically said stuff along those similar of – pardon me, they basically just said stuff along those lines that’s pretty similar in terms of K-pop: bad, horror, victim of K-pop, Sulli, victim of K-pop, Jonghyun, victim of K-pop. And it’s like, it’s very much a tip of the iceberg take and there’s a whole mammoth underneath that iceberg.
KP: Yes, well Goo Hara had very specific issues in her life that weren’t all related strictly to K-pop itself, I mean the issues with the abusive ex, issues that anyone can have.
AS: Mmhm, absolutely, and the other thing to consider as well is like if you look at a pattern, I guess, on who has taken their lives, it starts to emerge that there’s something going on in terms of these three people were all quite progressive. So, if you look at Jonghyun, he was arguably one of the most outspokenly liberal idols in K-pop probably throughout history. Like, he openly supported transgender students and their rights and like that’s definitely not something that’s a mainstream opinion in Korea. And then you look at Sulli and she was also in a similar situation in terms of she was very much outspoken on women’s rights. And in Kar – sorry, Hara’s situation, she was embodiment of male violence against women and nobody wanted to confront that with her because to confront what the population allowed to happen to her and continue to allow to happen to her after she attempted earlier this year would mean that the status quo isn’t acceptable, so it was just push her and push her and push her away until she eventually just felt she couldn’t keep living anymore and it’s heartbreaking to see that happen to her in real time because as soon as her previous – like as soon as I saw the post earlier this year, this was back when Sulli was still alive, like with that she had attempted to take her own life – it was just awful and I was just thinking, like why isn’t anybody speaking up now that she survived the attempt. And this is obviously what I’m – sorry, this is something I’m finding upsetting now is seeing all the celebrity post on things like “Oh, cancelling schedules, showing respecting,” that’s all well and good and I appreciate the gesture and I also understand that as colleagues for some and friends for some it would be very hard to go to work the next day after losing a close friend. But my frustration in this situation now becomes why didn’t you do anything when she survived the first attempt? Why does it only matter, why do people’s lives only matter when they’re not alive anymore and it’s too late to change anything. So that’s a huge sense of frustration that I’m feeling right now, is the fact that it was super predictable and I’m now stuck reading all these posts from people saying: “Oh, it’s such a shock.” And it’s like, it’s not shocking to anyone who was following her for a long time.
KP: There is this stereotype with people who do attempt suicide that’s it’s attention seeking behavior and so forth. And that probably played in a lot of the reactions people had but of course, I’ve always felt that just because someone is seeking attention doesn’t necessarily mean that: A. They’re not going to do it and B. They don’t have valid reasons for seeking attention. I mean, Goo Hara is someone who should have gotten a lot of attention, so I don’t really think that’s a valid reason to, you know, hate on people the way that she was hated on.
AS: It was awful. It was just, yeah, it was awful and I think it’s also something that a lot of women will probably have an experience of throughout their life in terms of maybe not to the extent of what happened to her and for the sake of anyone who exists I hope what happened to her never happens to another person. Um, but I’m sure there’s situations of women who are being abused or who are being harassed and they try to come forward about that and then they are just told they’re overreacting. It’s so common in society and it’s common and it’s just like – it’s frustrating because it’s just such a recurring thing to the point it doesn’t shock anyone but then now that it’s so well known why doesn’t no one try to fix it. Words, I’ve always struggled with words to begin with, and then you get a topic like this and it’s just makes me trying to put a coherent sentence together even more difficult so I apologize to whoever’s the person who transcribes all these podcast interview things because yes, they’re will be extra difficult.
KP: I think they’ll be doing alright. Um, but yeah, it’s a hard to…to people to process no matter who you are and everyone reacts slightly differently and I’m almost glad to hear you talk about it in a way because whenever I like, with Sulli and Ladies Code and stuff like that, I’ve never had the traditional reaction to these sort of things. I tend to just get kind of angry about them and I get that you sort of much on the same page as me. I mean, you’re not in a ball of tears, you’re like, you know, there’s problems here, why aren’t people trying to sort something out? And I think that’s something I can definitely relate to.
AS: Yea, um, in terms of the way that I process emotions. I think it’s got a lot to do with the, I guess, the genetic makeup that makes me up as a person. I’ve spoken about this on Tata’s Instagram page and I’ve spoken about it on my private Twitter account. But to anybody’s who’s listening who might not have been previously aware, I’ve been recently diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Which to some isn’t probably even that much of a shock given the way that I’ve communicated throughout my entire internet career and just the way I’ve presented myself on TV which many many people even the ones who don’t like K-pop at all just perceive me as very strange. So I’m not embarrassed by it and I’m not shocked by it, and it’s just it is what it is. But it also helps put a label, I guess, on certain behaviors that other people might not understand, so in situations like this when it comes to showing grief, I am very upset, like, I won’t be in tears throughout the course of this interview but, like, I do have feelings but I just express feelings in different ways like I literally have a signed picture of Kara that I got years and years ago from a friend who used to work with, like, they were an album retailer so every now and then they’d get little freebies and things like signed CDs, signed pictures, etc and they knew me as being a very big fan of Kara and I bought a lot of Kara things from them and they passed on a signed photo of Kara that they had received as a gift to me and I have that photo frame and it sits on my bedside table and it’s one of the first things I see every morning every day. So, Kara has been a very very big part of my life and to lose someone who was like one of my – I mean, I like them all, so it’s not saying she was my favorite but like she was someone I cared a lot about and yea. It’s hugely hugely upsetting.
KP: Yup. You mentioned that you were in private messages to me that you were concerned about IU.
AS: Yeah, so IU, is like I’m worried about her the exact kind of worrying feeling that I had about Hara a few weeks, like when I was worried about Hara especially within the last month, I tried to contact her on Instagram because occasionally idols do read the messages and I just try to hope for the best. Unfortunately, she never did read the message that I sent her trying to be supportive and like letting her know that the fact that she was still alive was just a blessing and unfortunately, you know, she couldn’t continue to stay that way. And the feeling I get when I look at IU now is just so much concern because she’s also a person who’s quite progressive by Korean standards and as I mentioned before that pattern of people who are taking their lives are people who are quite progressive because it’s such a structural problem and this is I guess why I get frustrated with the reports K-pop bad because it’s just not K-pop. It’s Korean society as a whole. It’s the government ties within K-pop and how we’ve got situations like Burning Sun when no one’s being prosecuted because people involved in that were involved in the government and the police force and politicians and etc. so it’s a system that’s obviously being designed to protect the corruption at the top.
And IU is someone who, she didn’t fight that particular system but she fought against what being an idol should be as a very young person. Like if you think back to her situation with Eunhyuk. She was 19, he was 26 – who did the public go after? The teenager, not the predatory man. And then her situation with the Zeze cover on her Chatshire album and the way he was wearing stockings and everyone accused her of being a pedophile and it couldn’t possibly be the woman who grew up being sexualized by 30 to 40 year old men when she was still a teenager trying to talk about her own experiences being sexualized as a child. Oh no, she must be the pedophile herself. And she’s fought against so much of the stigmas around being an idol. She doesn’t hide away from her past. She still performs some of her older songs. I think the new comeback she just had was like one of the songs on the album was written by one of the people who wrote “Good Day” or “You and I” and sorry, I can’t remember the exact titles off the top of my head right now but I know that she continues to still make music in her previous style, but then she has so much more control over what she does. So she’s a symbol of a woman who was very much oppressed by the system and the structures of the industry but she was able to overcome them, fight back against the public’s perception of her, and still continue to live her life and put out new music and she’s just such a beacon and a symbol for so many people of how much you can fight back and can overcome as a woman who was being sabotaged.
So, I see her as someone who would probably be very affected by these passings and she is additionally – she was very close with Jonghyun. He wrote songs for her. Like he wrote songs that were on her Modern Times album. And then, she was very very close with Sulli. She wrote the song “Peach” about her. And then, she was also good friends with Hara as well. So if you’re losing friends to suicide within a rapid time span of each other, that’s mentally draining and exhausting. And there’s also studies that have shown that if you, I’m like, this is not implying that IU has any ideation of on doing things, I’ve never seen from her implying she would have and I hope to god she never does. But if you already have existing ideation and other people around you take their lives then it drastically increases the risk of you taking your own. And I think that situation obviously just proved itself with Hara and Sulli who were very close. And Sulli attempted after Hara’s failed attempt and then Hara attempted again and now we’ve lost both of them. So, if you’re seeing so many people who are very much like yourself that you can identify with and they’re all feeling so overwhelmed that they can’t do it anymore and nothing’s changing and it’s just all hopeless so why would we continue to exist? I’m just very very worried for her she might have those kind of thoughts right now. And obviously I’m not a mind reader so I can’t claim to know that’s what she’s thinking but I just can see she is someone who matches, I guess, the pattern of the people who are being targeted.
KP: Yeah, well, yeah Korea’s not a very progressive society in general so it’s obvious that people who are more progressive leaning in their beliefs and their attitudes are going to have a hard time fitting in and they’re going to have a harder time navigating popular culture if they’re famous while maintaining any sort of self-expression. There was always a sense, especially with Jonghyun, that he wanted to say so much more that he couldn’t.
AS: Yeah, and it’s like, to I guess address another elephant in the room type situation of like we’re white people so if we’re talking about Korean culture being bad then that’s racist. (KP: Hehe) And it’s not necessarily what we’re saying and there’s definitely white privilege that comes to play here in terms of it’s very easy for us to look down on our high horse and yada yada yada so I’m not trying to say my culture is better and I want to say that a lot of things that happen in the West are very much like what happens in K-pop such as the 27 club is literally an example of that so I’m not trying to paint the West as a morally superior country – it’s just the West has gradually started to make more changes such as the Me Too movement and I think that until such time as Korea starts to have the progress in that country where women are able to speak up for themselves, then it’s going to be an ongoing issue in this industry. So like, the situation like right now with Me Too, it’s like, the women coming forward with that, it’s only been the last couple of years that they’ve actually been able to be taken seriously so this has been a hugely ongoing issue for years and years, decades. And then, like, how do I put it? If you go, if you look at Korea right now, and that movie that everyone’s been talking about, it’s like Born in 1982. I can’t remember the name. I think it might be something like Lee Jiyoung (Transcriber note: Close. Full title of movie is Kim Jiyoung: Born 1982). But yeah, the movie Born in 1982 was also a book as well. It’s very much like it’s a feminist story and it got review bombed which is men giving it 1-star reviews without actually seeing the film. Irene was ridiculed and had photo cards burned and was just treated horribly because she was photographed reading the book or she had the book in her hand. So it’s like, if the West is only able to start progressing with Me Too within the last couple of years and Korea is still at a point where women can’t even read books without being branded as a witch, then it’s still gonna take more time for progress to happen and if anything is beneficiaries of privilege of my country right now where I can speak these things openly I feel like I should be trying to at least vocalize these problems for the sake for the women who can’t speak for themselves right now without getting the kind of consequences to their career. Like yeah, I tried to speak for Hara on my previous account and if you, you did happen to be following me so you probably would’ve seen a lot of the threads and tweets that I made about her, so yeah it’s just like, it’s such an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness that you want to try and help the situation but you’re just like one individual in another country who has like no real access to try and make anything change but you still want to try and help.
KP: I think it’s perfectly valid for somebody in culture A to say, “Well, I think culture B is like this…” or whatever. I think that’s completely fine and I think that goes both ways. I also think in term of privileged, I think it’s fine to be privileged. I mean, people tend to use privileged on the internet as a way to shut people down. To say, well you’re privileged so you can’t speak about this because you have privilege. Whereas, what I actually think is that, and kind of this ties into what you’re saying, if you have privilege then it should be really the opposite. You should be able to speak out…
AS: Yes, I feel like if you have privilege, it’s your job to help the people who don’t.
KP: Hm, or not even your job necessarily but at least, I think it’s at least helpful, to make observations and to have a bit of dialogue about what’s going on and to have chats like this. I mean, if we were so caught up in our supposed privilege that we decided we couldn’t do a podcast then all the people listening wouldn’t have this content and they wouldn’t be thinking about these issues maybe not in quite the same way so that would be a bad thing. So um, it’s a shame that privilege is often used as a way to sort of castigate people but really it should, you know, really ideally what we want is for all people to have privilege.
AS: Yes, yeah. I talk about the concept of white privilege and me benefiting from it. I’m not saying I want to have white privilege, or I should…white guilt is another thing that often is like: “I have privilege, I am an awful person. I deserve to be beaten or whatever”. It’s not a matter of that for me. I want everyone else to have the same benefits that this privilege grants me so how do I talk about it in a way that we can get that conversation going and everyone can have the same access to hashtag white privilege.
KP: Yeah, I mean, you know, there’s all sorts of things you can do with someone who, I mean, being white may not- – may or may not have anything to do with it but if you’re in a position of power you can certainly help less powerful people in all sorts of different ways. I mean, I certainly experienced that myself in the music business and also other businesses I’m in. Where you know if I can see that I can help somebody then I will try and help them. Even though in some cases those people may be of different backgrounds, or they might be, you know, experiencing mental issues or violence or yeah, etc. etc. So, I think those are all good things and I think that people shouldn’t, you know, everyone’s very negative on social media but, you know, there’s a real positive aspect to privilege.
Um, getting back to IU…When I look at IU at this sort of stuff where she’s at career-wise – I was thinking about this today, I was thinking that, you know, she’s just lost a couple people within the space of a month. And I thought, wow that reminds me of myself a few years ago when I was finally doing really well in my career for the first time in a long time and a lot of other people around me were either suiciding or succumbing to death through natural causes due to having lived the rock-and-roll lifestyle a bit too hard in their earlier years. And so, when I thought of that, I felt like I’m actually not that worried about IU. I think that IU, I think she’ll be fine. I mean, obviously I could be wrong – I hope I’m not, but I think she’s landed in a much better position than both Sulli and Hara were in, in terms of being able to manage her own self-expression. And I think that’s what’s going to keep her strong partly. That, plus, all the lived experiences of having had to put up with probably a lot of shit and so also seeing it go down with your friends as well. You do learn a lot when you try to help your friends through tough times whether you succeed or fail. So yeah, I hope that, I hope that she’s alright.
AS: Yeah, like I mean it’s reassuring in a way that it’s like someone with that experience that you have with your own life can see logically, I guess, like an explanation with reason to it.
KP: I mean I realize idol images are all fake and stuff like that, but IU is someone who, the way she can switch it on and off, she strikes me as someone who has a bit more inner strength and is a bit more driven and I really don’t see her taking her own life. I’d be very surprised. But anyway, that’s just my…my possibly wrong opinion but hopefully I’m on the money there.
AS: Yeah. I think of all the things she has had to deal with in her life and it’s one of those kind of things where if she was going to take it, she probably would have during other times that she was going through those…
KP: Yeah, I think she would’ve shown some pretty severe symptoms by this point at least. If all the bullshit had really started to get to her and she really hasn’t. She’s just, you know, much more steadfast. Um, speaking of progressive people, I know you wanted to talk about CLC and their progressive music?
AS: Yeah, so like avoiding knowing who CLC was for a while. I’ve had a few songs on my iPod. I’ve seen a couple of groups do their songs during cover contests – that kind of thing. So I’m not trying to act like I’ve certainly just discovered them or whatever but um, it was something I was thinking about when I went through their discography the other day because I kind of just like gone on a massive binge with their music because I got like one song got stuck in my head and then the other got stuck in my head so I’m just like okay I’m gonna loop, I’m gonna loop the same 20 songs for the entire week. That’s – that’s how this week’s been going. In some ways, it ties into the topic of progression in music and K-pop as an industry. And I guess, something I’m just vaguely spitballing with here is their song content in a lot of their title tracks is very outspokenly feminist in, I guess, this is in an industry which we can clearly see doesn’t support that from a lot of artists. So, if you look at their title track – their debut song, Pepe, that was very much like a: Leave me alone, stop talking to me, go away you creep. And then their song, Aniya or no no no. Like, that song was written back when I think members of the group was still minors and the entire song is basically like: This is a grown ass man, why are you hitting on me, you’re disgusting, just because I look like I’m older doesn’t mean it’s okay. And then they’ve had their song “Me” which was last year’s “Red lip no, high heels no,” and then they’re saying, “I like me. I love me,” and that’s like the English lyrics of the song so it’s very much a self-empowerment album and if you read the Korean translation, it’s essentially saying like: “I don’t want to just be tick the boxes beautiful mold, I want to be beautiful and I wanna be pretty and I wanna be myself because I’m happy with the image in the mirror.” And then they’ve had two songs this year. I think it was… was it called Me again? It’s like, I’ve literally been listening to it all week. What the hell am I missing the song title off the top of my head?
KP: The one’s this year were “No”, “Me”, and “Devil”, I think.
AS: Yeah, sorry. “No” is what I’m thinking of. Red lip no high heel no, so I got the title mixed up. But “Me” is the one that came out this year. And again it’s like “areumdaeun me”, it’s the hook, it’s all about I am beautiful, I’m pretty, I’m cool, I’m the best and it’s like yeah obviously if you’re talking about beauty then perhaps you’re being shallow, but it’s a nice empowering message for girls especially at the age that K-pop listeners tend to be in Korea that it’s – if Korean society is going to put such a strong emphasis on physical appearance which unfortunately they do like if you go through a subway station in Korea there’s plastic surgery billboards, it’s pretty much every one of them. So if they’re going to put such an emphasis on beauty then I like the fact that CLC is writing lyrics about beauty being what you want it to be and if you look at the success of CLC and other Cube artists, it’s rather unfortunate that they don’t seem to have the same impact as say, 4minute did at their prime or (G)I-dle, who are the new group coming up, that they seem to be having as well so I feel like they’re unfortunately being quite underrated and I partially wonder if that’s because the public have been put off by the lyrical content of their songs or whether it’s just Cube’s shitty management…
KP: I mean, I’m going to guess that it’s the second one. I mean, 2NE1 did quite well for themselves with a similar sort of female empowerment sort of thing with a lot of songs and they had a rather large amount of success comparable to BLACKPINK now. I see what you’re saying but I honestly think that the female power lyrics is, um, look I don’t think anyone’s got any problem with it if it’s just lyrics, you know what I mean? It’s just when these inconvenient young ladies actually want rights for society that’s when it translates into some action then some people go cold on the idea but as long as they’re sing about it then it’s fine. Yeah, so I don’t think anyone’s got too much of a problem with singing about it, um, it’s probably just seen as kinda cute by the more sexist individuals, you know what I mean.
AS: Yep, like, awww, she thinks she has rights~
KP: Yeah, we’ll show her! You know, so yeah. It’s probably just Cube. They may only have so much reach – I don’t know. I don’t know what really goes on in terms of promotion and stuff like that, but I feel like – I certainly felt like CLC over the last couple of years have had some really really good songs and before then they’ve actually had some songs I really haven’t like at all. So, it’s just like, why are they only getting the good songs now? You know, they could’ve given them some good songs earlier on then that would’ve helped them and maybe they would be at a 4minute level. But then my music taste doesn’t necessarily line up with the music taste of others. That’s – that’s just maybe really they really needed to do was to become an RnB group and do music I completely hate and they would’ve been loved by everyone. But, um, yeah, I don’t think that’s the message that’s hurting them, it’s probably other things. I think the message if anything is a benefit because they’re probably getting a lot of female crossover – female fans onboard with that stuff. I mean, the male fans are going to like them anyway. But you know, having that crossover where the girls fans also get into it – oh, here’s a group I can sing about stuff I can kinda relate to a bit that doesn’t make me feel alienated – that isn’t just the usual themes that women sing about which is usually, you know, I like this boy but I don’t want to say anything, how do I get him to notice me? You know, something a bit stronger is something that a lot of female fans really resonate with including yourself obviously.
AS: Yeah, I mean, if it isn’t the case of Cube being shit or whatever. It is, I feel like it is, I guess – how do I put this into words…I’m thinking in terms of with all the discussion that get put into K-pop and the lyrical content and there’s a lot of talk of hashtag real artists and real musicians and oh, this group is female empowerment, I feel like CLC are often overlooked in a lot of these discussion and from doing the reading and listening that I’ve done within the last week, Yeeun, is one of the members, she’s the one with the short hair that she went viral a few times, like she looked really nice with her short hair. She’s been involved with writing a lot of the lyrics for a lot of these newer songs that are coming out, so it’s nice to see that they’ve had a role in their own, I guess creation of the content that’s speaking on their own experiences of being women so it’s like, you know it’s not just them singing our companies prescribed songs so we’re gonna market you as feminist – oh here’s a song written by a man that talks about how hard it is being a woman – it’s their own experiences. Yeah so appreciate that aspect of it.
KP: Yeah there seems to be a bit more of that now than they used to be. I remember back in, you know, seven-eight years ago it’s actually quite rare to have the singers’ write their own lyrics and now that’s the starting to happen more and more.
AS: I do remember that too like it’s an interesting discussion that you could really have in terms of the people’s perception of K-pop and, “Oh it’s a bad industry, oh it’s toxic, oh there’s nothing ever changes, oh it’s awful,” and it’s like change happens but it happens slowly, unfortunately people aren’t going to just wake up overnight suddenly…revamping the entire industry within the time span of 24 hours as the old expression goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. So like it’s nice when you actually get to a point where you reflect back up on your experiences of being a fan of K-pop and then you can think to yourself, “Oh yeah that’s actually different than what it used to be a few years ago
KP: Yeah yeah, yes that’s true. Can I hit you with some reader questions now? We have – we have a lot of reader questions… and I won’t do all of them because some of them are double ups and some of them are things we’ve discussed already, um, and there’s probably a few troll ones in there but I might throw those out anyway.
AS: I love my fans~
KP: First question is someone wanted us to talk about ARMY/toxic stan culture and through the lens of the grievance movement as a reflected by this article and this is the article on Deadspin.com called, “The Future of the Culture Wars is Here, and it’s Gamergate” which is just basically an overview of the history of the Gamergate Movement and, um, what they’re talking about, what this question asker’s talking about is the grievance movement basically people co-opting the language of grievance to say, well actually we’re the oppressed ones, and how do you feel that ties into stan culture with K-pop, if it does?
AS: Um, well straight away if you’re talking about appropriating language, right off the bat, you’ve got a lot of people who are co-opting woke terminology and then twisting that to be part of fandom wars, so the main example, I think we’ve discussed this in the past, is using the terms and xenophobia, and it’s like you know a radio DJ not liking one song doesn’t necessarily mean he’s xenophobic. Sometimes BTS doesn’t always have the best title tracks that represent how good they actually are as musicians, like the – the obvious one was the calling “Idol” construction noise like saying that’s construction noise isn’t xenophobic – it’s just not a good song of theirs by his opinion and probably by a few others as well. So, it’s the way that they weaponize movements, terminology, etc and then just twist it into everything’s bad unless it benefits my favs, so yeah yeah.
KP: Yeah, there’s certainly a parallel there between that and the Gamergate Movement in general in terms of how, you know, they’re only concerned about ethics in gaming journalism when it’s a problem for them, you know, I mean if you want to look at ethics in gaming journalism the biggest, I mean, I noticed in the 1980s back when I was reading magazines for Commodore 64 that were previewed Commodore 64 games because Commodore 64 was going up and it was cool and all these games for it, and I used to read you know as a magazine called Zap64. There was another one I think that was called Commodore User or something like that, and they’d have reviews, and…but what became obvious as you read the magazines more and more is that the bigger budget games would always get the better reviews. And even if they weren’t that good, they’d get less negative reviews than sort of smaller games and it was because – and then you’d sort of also see in the same article that they had, you know, we – this company paid for us to go out and do paperwork – you know, and then you sort of put it two and two together and go okay well they’ve obviously got a bit of a relationship there, so they’re writing positive reviews.
And that’s continued on and on, it has never really stopped and even either until this day, you know, it’s – it’s not really not that different to K-pop where you’ve got K-pop news sites that are really just press release parroting companies that’ll just take the press release lock, stock, and barrel and just shove it out as an article and with very few, if any, modifications. And so – and that sort of coverage – coverage has been in the gaming world for a very long time but Gamergate doesn’t give a fuck about that. They only care about, you know, um… people writing games that cater to women or I don’t know whatever the fuck or this person has slept with that person or I don’t even know, I’ve never really even followed it that much, but…but it just seems like the real, you know, gaming journalism has been incredibly biased forever and it’s very very obvious if you’ve got a brain and those people are totally not interested in fighting the real battle, so –
AS: Absolutely! The biggest example that I can think of started off the top of my head when you’re listing these situations – Billboard! Like they’re pretty much a copy and paste press release website and everyone will talk about, “Oh it’s such an honor to be featured on Billboard~” and I’m like it’s really not that big of a deal to be honest. And then again with they only seem to care about things when it benefits their own group. The biggest example right now is the Grammys. They see that BTS didn’t get a nomination, so suddenly the Grammys is awful and it’s like the people who don’t seem to understand that this time last year they were the exact people hyping the Grammys when other artists were the ones trying to vocalize this issue that was been ongoing in the industry for decades. Like, what’s his name, Jay-z, won his first Grammy the year he boycotted the ceremony because of how biased and rigged it all is. So, it’s not overnight that the Grammys have been shit, they’ve been shit for a long time. But last year when BTS were invited – it’s so prestigious and they’re the first artists from K-pop to ever go to the Grammys, #Paved the Way, you wish you could all- that generic shit that they just send to spew and spew and spew, but this year they don’t get nominated for their cardboard box, so suddenly it’s all bad. And it’s like, do you fuckwits not realize that last year when they were nominated, they were nominated for their cardboard box. The entire, like, out of the entire list of categories that could have been nominated for they picked the one thing that didn’t even recognize their music in the first place. And then when I pointed that out, again, she’s an anti, she’s a horrible fan, she wants to sabotage, you’re just jealous you don’t have a Grammy. And I’m like, I want them to be recognized, but starters I’d like it to be actually for their music. And then the next part was they got invited to present the awards, so that’s so ~prestigious~. Um, did they miss the fact that the whole reason they got that invite was literally like a day or two after Ariana Grande was pulling out of her performance because the organizer for the Grammys was trying to, like, micromanage every aspect of what she was supposed to be doing on the stage, and so she just pulled out was like fuck you I’m not doing this. And then it was like in support again of all the other artists who are also boycotting, not showing up and then Drake did show up but then his speech was basically a fuck you to the Grammys, so it’s like this wasn’t an underground secret issue this was something that pretty much everyone else combined was trying to raise their voice about and then Grammy sees how easily BTS can be used to bury controversies because their fanbase will just flood algorithms and put anything positive associated with BTS at the top of search results, so who gets invited to present at the Grammys?? BTS. So, all of a sudden, all these people who were complicit and actively helping the Grammys bury how corrupt the show is, suddenly care about how corrupt the Grammys are, I wonder why??? So a bunch of fucking idiots. It was exactly just as bad as last year, if not worse, but y’all were very happy to hype it then, so you know, forgive me for not giving a shit.
KP: If there’s one thing the Grammys probably love is a, you know, a group of young obedient Korean men who won’t make a fuss when they’re told what to do because they get told what to do so often and that’s, you know, they – their whole life up until to this point, so…
AS: Yeah, it’s very sad. It’s like, yeah yeah, it’s like when people hear me talking about these things and being frustrated or being upset or whatever they always seem to go on this angle that it’s like I’m bitter and I’m a hag and I’m jealous of their success or whatever and it’s like – I am upset about these things because I genuinely think they deserve better, better than being a Grammys cover-up, you know, I think they’re better than a cardboard box I think they’re better than being treated as cover-ups for artists involved in other scandals. Like if you look at you know Saudi Arabia concert – the hugest one as the example today – Nicki Minaj suddenly featured on “Idol” and that was done so she could cover up all the backlash that she was getting through the VMAs. Justin Bieber’s getting shit these days because he’s a misogynistic pig like everyone already knew that he was, but he’s just exposing himself for regularly on Instagram and saying Chris Brown beating Rihanna was #mistake. So, he comes out and guess what? He writes a happy birthday Jungkook, let’s watch this tweet blow-up tweet. And it’s just so many people keep using BTS to cover up their own fuck-ups and the fandom is actively complicit every single time this happens and then they want to complain – then they want to act like they’re like a work social justice Speak Yourself UNICEF ambassador…it’s just – it doesn’t add up.
KP: I don’t have any more to say on it, so I’ll move on. If you were the CEO of TS entertainment, how would you run the company differently?
AS: Oohh, fuucck, you’re gonna have to –
KP: Where to start? Hahaha…
AS: Yeah, like literally years ago like if you’re talking about, um, BAP you gotta go all the way back to like the momentum that group had at their debut and how much potential was just absolutely squandered. So, you know –
KP: Yeah, BAP were huge back in the –
AS: Yeah, my friend and I discussed this and she’s very, sorry, they’re very vocal on this. Like they – they firmly believe that if BAP hadn’t self-imploded that BTS might not have blown up to be the level of successful that they are and it’s one of those things we will obviously never really know, but the way that ARMY seemed to think BTS were the pioneers of writing their own music and having socially conscious lyrics – like BAP they debuted before BTS did – and Bang Yongguk was an underground rapper and he is very much another socially progressive type artist who was very much critical and outspokenly so on Korean society. And when they debuted, this was the same year as EXO, so I believe that’s 2012, they were obviously in the running against EXO for the Rookie of the Year on fandom Twitter, but everyone got Busker Buskered for obvious reasons that, Busker Busker had a huge year in Korea on Melon charts. But, um, the fandom level of popularity was in comparison to EXO and their popularity was also much more abroad whereas EXO were very Korean dominated with a few international fan bases as well but, um, in New York, I believe, they shut down Times Square over performance that they did and they were getting a lot of coverage and they just had so much potential and then just whatever the fuck TS did with them, I didn’t even know how to, how do, how do you get such a talented group with so much potential and so much going for them and then screw everything up entirely? Like what was it? It was a lot of it was to do with the contract disputes and not paying them the fair share of the wages which is hardly shocking concept in K-pop these days as we’re obviously talking about a lot more…but it’s like it’s so detrimental to yourself as a business to not be paying the right wages because if then obviously leads to these contract disputes, so the small amount of money that you’re getting from hoarding it from the artists, doesn’t really last long in the long term, as the money you could be generating by having content happy employees who want to continue working and therefore generating more of an income. It’s just you think that would be common sense, but I mean – capitalism.
KP: Well, I don’t even know if TS obeyed sensible principles even from a capitalist – a hyper capitalist standpoint, you know? I mean, going back to the BAP, BAP have, I don’t know many people know this, but they have the most expensive K-pop video ever made –
AS: Ohh, yeah which one was it?
KP: Which – which was One Shot. Um, yeah so for those that haven’t seen One Shot, it’s like you know, it’s like a full action movie with, you know, gunshots and crazy stuff going on. It costs about a million dollars to do or the equivalent.
AS: I would argue that possibly Infinite’s music video for Destiny was one of the most expensive ones film and it was filmed in Universal Studios or whatever and I remember that was like over a million, I think even close to 2 million.
KP: Might have been, yeah, might have been trumped by now, but I don’t know, I’d have to look it up but, it – it was freaking expensive anyway and BAP were actually doing reasonably well at that time, they were making quite a bit of money back, but the problem is the label were spending it faster than the group could make it rather than going slightly lower budget and then giving them some money back and that’s generally, I mean I’ve seen that all the time in the West, where people will…unless you’ve got an absolute mega monster hit, the label will do their best to keep you in debt while spending more and more on promotions that you don’t need by making the videos bigger and bigger budget, by you know driving around everywhere in limos or whatever it takes, um, there are people in the Western music business and their attitude is: If my artist is making a profit into their own pocket it means I’m not doing my job as a promotions person because that’s money I should be using to promote them.
AS: Yes, so Lou Pearlman is the obvious example there.
KP: Yeah, there’s a lot of examples. Some more known than others, but yeah so and that’s definitely going on with BAP where they were just though doing quite well but they weren’t – their label was obviously trying to make them massive, you know, like let’s, let’s beat SM, but you know yeah, but they don’t really have the capital to do that at that point so they probably should have probably waited a bit. Yeah…I mean, although my biggest beef was TF – TS entertainment has always been only ever giving Secret one doo-wop song with “Shy Boy”. They never got another “Shy Boy”.
AS: That’s a good song.
KP: My – my, one of my fellow DJ’s over the radio station is Carmen and she does a show called The Doo-Wop Corner. It’s on the same time as my show, but it’s Friday instead of Monday and it’s a really cool show. It’s – it predates my own show and I’ve actually based a little bit of the format of my show on her show, because if even if you don’t give a crap about doo-wop or know anything about it you can still listen to Carmen’s Doo-Wop Corner and you can get a reasonably good feel for the style and it’s also interesting. It’s a kind of a funny interesting show. It’s kind of quirky. The songs are already short and quick. It’s only an hour long, so you hear about 50 different songs per show because the songs are really quick and it’s – and you learn a lot of stuff. And so, when I started my show, I thought I would do something like that – that’ll be cool and mine it’s not quite like hers but similar. But anyway when “Shy Boy” came out, I played it to Carmen because it’s doo-wop, you know, they’re co-opting the old 50s doo-wop sound and so I said, “Aw, you got to hear this. This is K-pop song but you’ll love it because it’s doo-wop sound.” And she did hear it and she said it was great, and she was playing on a show and saying, “Oh, this is K-pop and if you like this sort of style you can listen to the Monday show” – and stuff like that. And I was totally bummed out that I never ever got to do that again. I haven’t been able to give her another song that she’s liked as much as that. Because – because it just isn’t, like, nobody does that style. Um, it’s yeah not, it’s something that’s passed K-pop by. Probably the closest thing to it would be the Barberettes.
AS: Yeah yup. I was thinking of a group and that would – they were the ones who I was trying to think of the name of.
KP: Yeah, and but they do more of a kind of a – they sort of mix it in with blues and gospel a bit and it’s a bit sort of more mellow and kind of folksy. It’s not really sort of upbeat punchy pop sort of style, so but they’re sort of close but no cigar, I think. But yes, but that would, for me that was TS’s big fuck up that I grill them for in like 2014. I said, “This is a shit company and watch, you know, watch them. They will fuck up everything else too.” And they have. I don’t think there’s one artist on them on their label that hasn’t sued them.
AS: Yeah, we’ve got SONAMOO suing them, the boy group suing them, Secret has obviously sued them, and BAP sued them, so like, that’s four for four as far as I know.
KP: Some other quick questions. There’s tons, um, some of these we will go through quite quickly. There’s – I had a few on Jeffrey Epstein. Do you think he suicided or was it homicide?
AS: Epstein did not kill himself!
AS: Epstein did not kill himself.
KP: Yeah, you heard it from AustralianSana, folks. I haven’t really been following it that much to be honest, but I think there was – whether he did or he didn’t, they were cert – it’s certainly very convenient the way things have worked out, isn’t it?
AS: Oh, I mean the article that you linked to me as well, it basically confirms that he got, it’s the coroner said, the coroner was hired by his brother basically, like it was an independent person because all the other people involved with the cover-up would obviously just bring in other people to help them cover it up, so they’ve got someone else to come in. And it was more consistent with choking as opposed to like choking through a strangulation rather than from hanging oneself. So, yeah, I’m definitely not surprised by that at all. The fact that he had connections to Trump, the fact that he had connections to the royal family, and it was obviously going to implicate a lot of other very powerful people who are still in power, so how convenient that he suddenly died before he could testify when he was ready to sing like a bird.
KP: Next question will you vote for Jeb Bush if he was Australian Prime Minister?
AS: Nooo! We don’t like conservatives. We don’t like Republicans.
KP: Can’t believe someone even asked that, c’mon. Jeb Bush is a fucking clown. Next question:
Please play the fuck, marry, kill game with the (AS: Oh God…) CEOS of YG, SM, and JYP
AS: Can I kill myself? I’m killing myself. That’s pretty much – (straining sounds of death)
KP: Alright, alright. AustralianSana’s not playing, she’s already dead.
AS: Yes, that’s how I like it.
KP: I’ll play.
KP: I’ll play and I think though – I think we’ll kill Yang Hyun-seok for – (AS: Woo~!) for obvious reasons. I think I’ll marry Lee Soo-man cuz he’s got the most money. (AS: Okay) And Park Jin-young he’s got the sexiest pants (AS: Fair enough). He’s certainly got the most style out of a three, so you know, um, you know I’m not gay but if I was gonna fucked by a dude, I want to get by fucked by someone, a dude, who had a bit of style – probably, you know, was a bit fit, took a shower occasionally, you know (insert definitely not gay laughter). So, I’d go for JYP.
AS: I accept that analysis.
KP: Next. What do you think is the cause for the recent influx of – influx of right-wing BTS stands? In general, I don’t see why they’d get out of BTS’s content, which is generally not in line with political figures like Trump, though I don’t think it’s above question given the Saudi Arabia concert. So, what do you think could be a reason why? Many of them don’t even really talk about BTS’s music as much as just stanning them and voting for them on awards shows.
AS: Mm-hmm, okay so I think there’s a few different layers to this. I mean, the first one is that you know, One Direction has since, you know, gone off and become soloists. And Twilight used to be a big phase as well and then that died out. So, it’s like, it’s the next mainstream phase that women and, older women that tend to like things that younger teenage girls do live vicariously through, so it’s like, oh, there’s so many layers to this how do I get into all of it? Um, like BTS’s message has obviously been watered down a lot compared to what it used to be at their debut, so they went from being actually outspoken on politics and society to just, *hippie voice* “Yeah, love yourself and then everything will work out great cause you love yourself and love yourself and just – just focus on yourself~” And I think the whole focus on yourself message might resonate with certain Republicans because that’s all about their perception of their values is it’s all independence and self-made and I – bootstraps analogies and all that shit. So, by loving yourself it’s putting the onus of responsibility upon the individual, so I think that correlates possibly with their values. The other thing that I was thinking about this, because I was weirdly enough thinking about this the other day, is, um, you know how Kanye West has suddenly decided he wants to become an evangelical Christian and he went to Joel Osteen’s megachurch and suddenly all these white Christians who are notoriously racist and anti-black are supporting Kanye West and thinking he’s finally seen the light. And the big factor of them all coming around and suddenly appreciating his music is it’s this: “I’m not a racist. I like a black man. I’m not a racist I like this group of Asians.” It’s very tokenistic and it’s very performative, so it’s done to try and present this image of, *posh white Republican voice* “Yeah and why did – I’m a Republican and I vote for policies that put children in cages and export people back to foreign countries that they technically were born in for four days but have grown up in America but they’re not real Americans but I listen to pop music by a black man I listen to pop music by um by a group of Koreans so therefore I’m not racist.” So, it’s – it’s again it’s all about presenting making themselves feel better about the fact that the people who they support politically are morally bankrupt *posh Republican returns* “Now, I’m not morally bankrupt as I vote for them because I like Asians.” So, it’s hugely performative.
KP: Yeah, well being a performer is kind of traditionally designated place for people of color to be if, you know what I mean. It’s been, you know, the entertainers of the white folks, you know what I mean? So, it’s not really any great revolution to, you know…yeah, even in Neo-Nazi skinheads like Scar (??) music originally so…yes. But yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna comment on the right wing BTS stans myself cuz I’d really don’t follow that that closely. I’ll – I’ll leave, leave it with your observation, I think. Next one, um, what’s your take on this? And this is the – this is the incident where the Aboriginal man – the Northern Territory – stabbed a police officer and was shot.
AS: Yup, so…there’s conflicting reports about that whether he actually stabbed someone. There was another report saying he basically hit him with his shoulder or something along those lines as well. The police officer’s claims that he acted in self-defense, but then there’s been conflicting reports again in terms of was he carrying weapons that weren’t lethal, so why didn’t he incapacitate him with a taser, why didn’t he take him with some other method that wasn’t going to literally kill him like why didn’t you shoot them in the foot, why don’t you shoot them in the leg? And yeah, this is going to be a huge huge huge topic that is not the kind of thing that we can really even hope to properly cover in such a short time span because it goes far beyond one isolated incident. Like if you’re comparing statistics of incarceration between Indigenous Australians to white Australians it’s vastly disproportionate compared to the percentage of the population that they make up. So for those who don’t know, I believe roughly less than two percent of Australia’s population are Aboriginal, yet we 100 percent of incarcerations in the Northern Territory and the juvenile system are Aboriginal, and that’s just insane, but it’s the system that exists and it’s why so many black people in Australia are disillusioned by the police force somewhat similar to the situation in America with their own Black Lives Matter movement. Obviously, the political histories between the two are different, but in terms of the context, I guess, they’re very very similar. All about white supremacy and the police force supposedly meant to be for the people, but in reality, enacting the government’s policies which are ingrained in white supremacy, so the shooting is tragic. I believe that there’s different customs that the culture holds one of them is to not name his first name, but um, yes, I get very sad to hear about what happened. I saw that there were protests that were going on, unfortunately, I couldn’t make one but I shared the locations on my Facebook page to try and encourage anyone else who might be available to attend and I know that one close friend of mine actually did go and the turnout that I saw from her footage was yep, really great. It’s really good to actually see, you know, other people starting to take these issues seriously and, you know, white people showing up for the black people is important, you know like, the policies that are being made by our elected representatives – even though I did not vote for them – but you know if they’re gonna still be representing the country then we need to be holding them accountable.
And you know, this goes again it’s just – it’s so many layers because you’re talking about disillusionment between black people and white Australians and you’ve got to look at how the government that’s in power in Australia right now has just been selling off so much of our land so much of our assets to internationals and foreign corporations and all that horrible kind of shit and one huge issue has been the river the Murray-Darling and how that’s just been absolutely drained and then there’s just dead fish for so long and then you’ve got black activists who are speaking out against. And, I believe his name is Bruce I just have to see his full name, I can’t remember off the top of my head, but he did a fantastic speech on Q and A recently about the water consumption and how, like it forces people off of their lands because they can no longer hunt and they can no longer live off the land the way that their culture has been doing for sixty thousand years because the government is draining all the water and leaving them to die and their only option is to move. So it’s like they’re not exactly putting them there, you know, let’s use a shooting analogy, the way that the government treats these people is not necessarily putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger themselves; although, in this situation it’s advertly doing that and that’s why it’s gotten such a huge backlash finally. But for pretty much the entire history of the country, it’s like locking someone in a room putting the gun in there and just loading it with bullets and waiting for them to shoot themselves and then you say, “Oh, they killed themselves when they were the ones who created that environment that forced them and led them to eventually pulling the trigger and that’s essentially the Australian government and its treatment of Aboriginal people and for anyone who does happen to be listening to this I highly highly highly encourage people to go out and, you know, read academic literature, read blogs, read Twitter accounts, read as much information as you can from the direct source themselves, so I’m just, you know, Google right now his name Bruce, ABC, Q and A, water…and I can get you his name so that they can go and read his words and, you know, watch his video because – Bruce Shillingsworth! So I highly recommend looking up that name and listening to that man and his speech because it is very very powerful and it’s a huge embodiment of why we need to be listening to Aboriginal Australians on how to best manage the country because if you look at, like, the bush fires in New South Wales, like that’s a huge mess, and it’s all to do with how the Liberals have been allowing deforestation and how they’ve been you know trying to wind back restrictions on mining magnates and all that kind of stuff and, you know, if you look back at the history of protesting all these kind of movements against mining against destruction, Aboriginal people are always at the forefront of protest.
And it’s the same in America as well with the Dakota pipeline and how they were protesting that they were going to be oil spills now what happened the oil did spill – what a shock. And it’s always the Aboriginal people or the other, you know, other – other, pardon me, other people who are in poorer regional communities who are the ones affected when these things inevitably do break and it’s like the rich people at the top are more than happy to come in bastardize these lands and then never deal with the consequences because they don’t have to live in the areas that are affected by it, so it’s very very important to watch how these governments treat these people and it’s also important that even if you’re a white person or even if you’re a person of class privilege who isn’t personally impacted, you need to realize that how someone at the top treats someone at the bottom is exactly how they would treat you if given the opportunity to, so I think that’s why people need to care far more about politics than they do and it’s why I’m also personally very angry every time I hear people talk about: “Oh, politics doesn’t affect me and they’re both as bad as each other” because they are very very clearly not and it’s important to listen to these people’s voices. That was a bit of a rant.
KP: Haha, yeah, the Aboriginal situation in Australia has been really bad for a really long time and it’s, I don’t know if it’s ever really gonna get much better. Certainly, the current government doesn’t really care and that’s fairly obvious. Um, and the – I think a large part of the issue is the same reason why indigenous communities get fucked over all over the world is that the values that they hold are just not very compatible with the capitalist values and the western values that societies run now or whatever, so…though certainly the relationship to land is exceptionally different and that’s where a large part of that conflict comes from and is it ever going to be resolved satisfactorily? Probably not because, you know, you’ve got two different people with very vastly idea – vastly different ideas about, you know, what ownership of land means and what it allows you to do and what you should be doing with it.
AS: I mean, like even if you’re talking about the relationship to land and the conflicting ideologies like a huge example of this is the, I can’t pronounce the word I apologize for bastardizing language, but they spell it DJAB, the Djab Wurrung trees, the eight hundred year old sacred birthing trees that are in Victoria and the way the Victorian government wants to demolish them for the sake of a highway. And, the highway already exists and all they – they could simply move it around the trees or they could extend the current highway that exists by like an extra lane and it’s like all of this effort to try and destroy something that is sacred for generations for the sake of saving two minutes on a drive. They – they – they did like a test or whatever it was or an analysis and they figured out just how much time this route was going to save by demolishing these trees BUT two minutes fucking minutes? Are you insane?
KP: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.
AS: Yes, it’s awful – it’s awful to hear how flippantly people talk about these – “Oh, they’re just trees.” It’s like, okay well, you don’t have that clear connection to land but why not listen to the people who do and listen to them talk about why it is so meaningful to them and then maybe you can have some compassion and drive an extra two minutes.
KP: Let’s move on to the next one. Your thoughts on what this supposed psychologist is saying about K-pop fans…
AS: Aww, fuck that thing’s has been going around for years!
KP: Has it? Um…
AS: Exactly knew what you were talking about before you even linked that to me. I just saw – *dreamy “psychologist” voice* “What a psychologist thinks about K-pop fans and they’re all so meaningful and they’re all so passionate and so many people in society look down on them, but I see them for the real leaders that they – “ Oh my god! That has been going around since at least 2011.
AS: And if anything, there’s a specific ARMY account that anyone who follows me would’ve known that I’ve called them out before, but they’re called like the PsychPerspective and she is like the embodiment of that meme, but like…twenty thousand tweets basically saying that – it’s insane. It’s like a lot of people who take psychology need a psychologist that’s what I think about that.
KP: Cool I’ve never seen it before, but I thought it was pretty amusing.
AS: You can link a photo to it in the transcription or put a picture up in the podcast.
KP: I’ll put a link somewhere.
AS: Fucking hell podcast. I’m so sorry to anyone who’s trying to listen to this. They probably quit by now, anyway so let’s just keep going.
KP: Yeah yeah, fuck it. I think we can say what we want at this point, there’s no one left. Let’s move on. What’s the next one? With After School, Pledis kept them in the dungeon until their contracts ran out. Pristin on the other hand were mostly all released from their contracts early. Why do you think Pledis had a change of mind with how they handle their flop groups?
AS: That’s – that is fascinating to me because I feel like they were completely different in terms of like, well they’re different but the same at the same time, I guess, like why Pledis put Pristin into the dungeon when they were on such a strong momentum wave and like winning Rookie of the Year. It baffles me, it really does. Like they had 3 comebacks? So, like how much investment is created – sorry, how much investment is spent in creating a group? So, what was the reason to like waste years of putting them together? I just like I think –
KP: C’mon Kyla tell us!
AS: Yes, Kyla please do your interview with Kpopalypse….
KP: You were supposed to – you said you would spill the fucking tea. And all you said was, “Ah, the tea is that – it’s the experiences that make it so worthwhile and – and just a bunch of fucking Disney shit.
AS: Someone got paid off.
KP: C’mon Kyla~
AS: We want the truth!
KP: Hahahaha, nah, I don’t think she’s gonna say anything. I think –
AS: I think the poor kid’s been traumatized enough by the industry that she just wants nothing to do with it anymore and for – you can’t really blame her when you see the way that so many people were turning out, so it’s just yeah, leave her alone but we also want the truth but leave her alone.
KP: Yeah, yeah Kyla’s alright. I mean, I’m a big fan of Kyla. Yeah, I mean, she’s, you know, young and stuff. I don’t expected her, you know, come out with the smoking gun, you know what I mean? It’s not her responsibility, but yeah, but at the same time it is a little bit – just a little bit like, c’mon. So, you know, good on her. I hope she’s, you know, hope she’s doing well.
AS: Yeah, I mean, it was – did you see the tweet the other day that she posted that she was like involved in a goddamn school shooting.
KP: Yeah yeah, she was in in a school when there was – it was shot up by someone and some people got killed.
AS: Yeah, that’s horrific, like she’s obviously endured so much with her experience in Korea and like the vilification she received for existing as herself on stage as an idol and now she comes home to America to try and have somewhat of a semblance of a normal life and the poor kid’s involved in a school shooting, like her – Oh, god…
KP: I’d be – I’d want to be homeschooled if I lived in the US. I don’t think I’d leave the house.
AS: Yeah, it’s horrible in so many ways. So yeah, it’s just – my heart absolutely goes out to her for that kind of trauma that she’s had to experience at such a young age. It’s not fair. It’s not right and like you know I just wish the world was a better place.
KP: Next question, what’s your opinion of Family Guy and why do you have that opinion?
AS: Um, I mean, I remember a show I used to like when I was 12-13, so I think the association to that obviously then just becomes it’s something I still like when I was a lot younger and a lot more immature, so I just don’t have the same, I guess, interest in it that I used to?
KP: I think it’s the Simpsons for dumb people. (AS: Yeah) If you – if you don’t understand the second layer of humor in the Simpsons, but you like Homer going “Doh” and stuff like that and then Family Guy’s for you. It’s like the dork part exaggerated and all the other stuff either done really badly or not done at all. Having said that my girlfriend really likes Family Guy and she’ll probably hate me for saying this.
AS: I mean, it’s like – it’s dumb. And it’s definitely had a history of problematic things going on in the show but I mean it’s just like if there’s something on in the background when there’s no other channels to flick to it’s there, and I know they did that Bubble Pop cover, so that was something…
KP: Here’s the next question: Hello, I’m someone who’s lurked on your account and followed you when you returned as private since it’s nice to have critical K-pop stans on the timeline – this is referring to you obviously – my question for you is: what are your thoughts on the increasing trend of idols self-producing? Further, the trend disproportionately favoring male idols even though many girl group members have expressed wanting to write. Some examples I can think of Rosé in YG and more or less all of his female artists and multiple LOONA girls and Jaden Jeong.
AS: Yes, um yes, so if you’re going with Rose, I think she’s just an example with so much potential that’s just being wasted for no reason. Where is her solo?! Her solo was meant to come out already by now. Her solo was being prepared last year and then by now they supposedly have picked the songs. Where is it?? We’ve been waiting for it for months. We want Rosé solo! The. People. Want. Rosé. Solo! Um, yes, so I think she’s a fantastic artist. I love her to bits. My sorry ass cried when I saw her live. I think she’s phenomenal. I think – I loved her voice. Yeah, she’s just – she can play music obviously she can compose, she can play the guitar, she can play the piano, she has a wonderful voice and I think that she has so much potential to create things as well. I love her covers. I love her style of music that she picks for the covers that she does like it’s the kind of genre that I think that she would excel in, so she’s got a good ear for music and what suits her voice. But yeah, YG is a meninist as we all know. For those who aren’t currently aware, he has a very ongoing history of forcing the female artists in his company to become ghostwriters on their songs, so he doesn’t give them the proper credit that they actually should be listed as. So, Jennie and Jisoo have been confirmed to have written their lyrics in their song, “Stay”, but that’s not listed on their actual credits. Um, and I think a huge factor on that is just – it’s, it’s a control thing similar to how you talked about artists being kept in debt by their management it’s also to do with artists just being kept under the thumb of YG and his perception of what he wants them to be. If you listen to uh, like I’ve been supportive of Jennie’s “Solo” since that came out last year as well, I really liked the song and I also really liked the lyrical wordplay that exists between the Korean and the English of the song. So, it’s very much a balanced song where half of it’s in Korean, half of it’s in English. And what I liked about it is, if you read the translations, it’s like the English is saying one thing and then the Korean is saying another. So, it’s like, and it’s a song, I guess, being back and forth about being devastated about a breakup, but then it’s also about being happy then powerful and strong now that you’re a solo woman again. And it’s like, the Korean lyrics in the song tend to be more about like, “Oh I’m so sad. Oh, I’m so like I’m so upset. I’m so devastated.” And then the English lyrics are: “Bitch. I’m solo.” So, I really liked that that wordplay. So, you got “Bit naneun solo,” in Korean sounds like “I’m a bright shining solo star so like I’m coming out better” and then the English shows like: “Bitch I am solo. I’m strong and I can do whatever I want.” So it’s like two different layers the Korean and the English both displayed different feelings and that came together in that line that’s the hook of the song and it showed it in like one line that was simultaneously both languages so I thought that was very very clever and there was an interview, or it was – I don’t if it was a V live, but it was something where Jennie herself talked about writing those lyrics and I thought that was brilliant. So like, she gets – she absolutely did not get the credit that she deserved for that song when she had a lot more involvement in it than people seem to think she does or people recognize that she does and you know they have their interviews with Billboard, they have their interviews when they go to America, yet they never asked about that kind of thing or if they are asked about it they have to keep like vague skirting answers and they’re not allowed to openly talk about their creative process.
And then of course, you go on Twitter and ARMYS, of all people, and you know a bunch of other people who hate them because everyone hates popular girl groups for whatever reason – people hate TWICE, people hate Gfriend, people hate Red Velvet, people hate everyone, so the people who hate like BLACKPINK dogpile them for being: “Aw, she’s so fake. She doesn’t write any of her music and these are the people that you stan?” I’m like, can you pay attention to them beyond the clipped Twitter videos that get put into your feed by people who have an agenda against this group and then, you know, listen to the stories of them speaking for themselves when you do find those footages because they have a lot more involvement than the credit that they’re given and they’re being suppressed by a horrible management system. So yes, I think it’s very corrupt and yeah, like I mentioned earlier that I liked Yeeun from CLC and how she was personally involved with writing the lyrics of their song, so you know it’s a woman who is performing her own music, singing of her own experiences, and the group performing them together – I liked that. And then you know I’d love to see LOONA become more involved in their production. Like, I love the songs that they’ve put out so far. So like, this is an interesting thing to me because, on one hand you know, you don’t have to be a self-composing artist to produce good quality music. I’m a definite pop stan, so like, I love Britney Spears but Britney Spears hasn’t been involved in a majority of her greatest hits, but I still think she’s a phenomenal artist and the ability that she has to take a song and make it her own and showcase an amazing performance is what makes her so good, so that doesn’t necessarily mean she has to produce to be an amazing artist and I think the same can definitely apply to K-pop groups. But what I would want to see is the artists who do have the interest being given the creative freedom to express themselves the same way.
KP: Yup. I’m not going to add to that one, I’ll just leave it at that as I was mainly only address to yourself anyway. But yeah, it does seem to be mainly guys and honestly the guys do that I’ve heard, do it haven’t really impressed me very much. I’ve often said, “Aw, you should’ve just left it to the experts”, but anyway, and I – I don’t know if any of the woman will necessarily be much better but yeah remains to be seen I suppose I mean –
AS: Yeah, I mean, I think that like with a lot of them a good idea would be to like make it the B-sides until they eventually become more competent and its then made the title track. Like, I think everyone is – not everyone sorry, Jonghyun is a huge example of this and how he – he had a lot of songs rejected because SM has the standard that if you want to have a song that self-composed included in your work it has to be of the same quality that the artists that they bring in as songwriters have. So like, he originally started out getting rejected then he kept doing it and doing it, didn’t take no for an answer, became good enough to have B-sides, became good enough to have title tracks, became good enough that he started writing for other artists on the tier of IU, so I think he’s a great example that, you know, practice eventually will make perfect, so.
KP: Um, next: What do you think of very sexual girl group and why not boy group concepts? A group that always comes to my mind is Fiestar and their latest sexual concepts with still women empowerment mixed in there. Or underage idols especially girls in sexy or indirectly sexy concepts
AS: Yeah, um, so that’s definitely a bit of a loaded topic there’s a few different avenues you can go there so you’ve got Fiesta who I like – like quite a few of their songs. I loved, uh, “One More,” like that was a great song, and then I think AOA is another great example of that and then, like, they’re definitely a group that’s stereotyped as being sexy but then if you look at a lot of their performances on Queendom they showed a lot of different other sides of them as well. And then you’ve got Stella was another example. “Vibrato” was one of the songs. “Marionette” was the huge one that was such a controversy at the time. And you got Brown Eyed Girls, Gain especially. So, it’s like, I don’t have a problem with it and a lot of the time the music slaps, so if anything, we want a revival of sexy concepts. And the thing that, I guess, if you’re gonna bring up, whoever the person questioning us is, if you’re going to bring up the minors and the indirect sexy concepts I’m definitely going to be on the side of preferring the grown women performing them and being overtly sexual then seeing a 16 year old in a skirt that’s as short as what AOA’s miniskirt is, but it’s got pleats on it, so therefore it’s innocent.
KP: Yes pretty much what they do, isn’t it?
AS: Yeah and I think it’s very concerning to me when I saw a list that was on Koreaboo like one of their listicles or whatever and it got quoted in to my feed and I was just devastated to see it, but it was like top ten female idols that Korean men in the military go crazy over in 2019 and Wonyoung from Produce 101, IZ*ONE was included – she’s 15. And everyone who knows the military articles and all the shit that they talk about idols – so they only talk about idols that give them strength when they’re jacking off, like that’s what those lists are. And it’s disgusting to me that they’re doing that over a 15 year old child, so I would vastly prefer them to not be doing that at all, but if you are going to sexualize women then it should be with women who are legal and I want it to be with women who are having creative control and direction over that concept choice, but yeah.
KP: Yeah, I mean, obviously I don’t have any problem with sexualization, but yeah what’s this -it’s awkward watching stuff like, I don’t know, Busters, you know, and it’s just like ewwwuhh – it’s hard to watch. And um, especially if you know what they’re doing. I mean, that’s why I write the whole dog whistle post and stuff like that which you know went viral in various places, um, and everyone was saying, “Oh, you’re just being a creep, you’re just making it up” but no, because the producers actually admitted to it. You had that guy who put together IOI saying, “I’m making healthy porn for men, you know, don’t you – don’t you desire your young niece?” And it’s just – he just came out and said it and I was just like fuck no.
AS: He got fired from the next season and then YG hired him to produce that show that he made. Like no one thought that was suspicious?
KP: Yeah and it’s just right there and it’s just really really creepy and – but you know, but of course if I point it out, I’m the creep. Which is just hilarious to me. It’s like, no, I’m trying to make you see it.
AS: Yeah, it’s like I’m old and disenfranchised by the industry and I can read things below the surface, so here’s an explanation on how this is being run and why the people at the top of doing this but no, we’re disgusting cuz we can see things happening and are trying to stop them, you know, I highly doubt anything we ever do will result in it being stopped but you’d like to think that a conversation on the topic can at least make more people conscious of it and critical.
KP: Well, I think it’s certainly raised awareness. I know that the articles I wrote about it certainly opened a few people up to it. I mean, also – also a sort of, like for everyone read and saw, “Oh wow, this is – I didn’t notice that. This is actually happening. This is kinda fucked” there’s someone else who obviously read it and just decide to hate me, you know.
AS: I think a lot of those things when people start hating me for these articles, I think it’s because they realize that they’re doing these things and then they don’t want to admit that to themselves, so it’s much easier to hate the messenger then confront the person in the mirror.
KP: Yeah, I’m not saying – I’m not saying the people are necessarily bad if they liked those groups or, you know, I’m not saying that if you don’t see it than you’re dumb or anything like that, I mean, look if you don’t – if you can’t see that-
AS: It’s subliminal, like, it’s subliminal. So, it’s not overt for a reason.
KP: Yeah, and if you don’t see it then that’s a good thing, because it’s not really for you anyway and yeah it just means that you’re normal, you know? And the only reason why I – it’s so damn obvious to me is because I’ve worked in the business and I’ve had conversations with people putting together pop acts saying here’s what we’re gonna do: being a young person and put them in the skirt and gonna do X Y and Z and – and I know how all that goes down. So, um…
AS: Yeah, like, I mean, this isn’t necessarily a unique to K-pop thing either. Like, if you – like I’m a huge fan of pop in general and there was a girl group that existed in America who I loved their first album. The group’s name was Dream and they were put together by P Diddy. All of the members were underaged and minors and they were all in like crop tops and short skirts or tight jeans and one of those songs when listening to the album, like the album – it’s pretty much, the whole album that you could just listen to things straight from start to finish and it’s all pop hits I love it. It’s just shameless pop and it’s fantastic, but one of the lyrics and one of the songs is like pull up to the club or whatever, like you’re 15, you wouldn’t even be able to get into the club. How are you singing about being in the club? It’s just fascinating, but terrifying at the same time. It’s like this overt need to sexualized children and it’s scary like I want to just listen to my pop music and they’re great pop band but why did he have to do that to those children? And that’s why they basically broke up because the members became uncomfortable with just how sexualized they were forced to be as children.
KP: It’s like watching children’s beauty pageants.
KP: That’s another terrifying thing. Let’s move on before we gross ourselves out too much. Game of Thrones article I linked you.
KP: I know you were a big critic of the Game of Thrones plotline. I don’t watch the show myself so I’m gonna leave you with this one.
AS: Years of anguish for nothing. (wailing of a broken GoT fan) Oohh, it’s painful.
KP: Alright, that’ll probably do as a comment. I think – I think most fans are on the same page there anyway.
AS: I’m so devast – I literally, like, I just turned my head and it’s like I’m wailing agony and I’ve got like five-six books on my bookshelf that are like the Game of Throne series, and it’s just bastardized *insert disillusioned ugh/sigh here* Oh everything about it was awful.
KP: Next one, um, random trivia did you know that they don’t have electric kettles for boiling water in the USA?
AS: …what? What the fuck do they use?
KP: They just – I believe they just put the water in the pot, heat up the pot on the stove.
AS: Are you shitting me?
KP: No, well – well they have like a kettle-like, you know, a kettle on the stove. They have electric ones –
AS: Yeah, I’ve seen stuff like that in movies and shit. But like, what?! I thought that was just like, I mean, I never paid much attention to it. I thought that was just maybe a plot or something in like a movie and that was just something I – they don’t have an electric kettle – what the fuck? Do you get how much quicker it is to boil the water in a kettle that’s electric?
KP: Maybe, um… (AS: Why??) I don’t know…I’ve – I have no idea. Maybe it’s – maybe the same companies that make the electric kettles also make gun parts and they can’t import both – it’s too much money, so the Americans had to pick one.
AS: Is it like gas or something? Is gas one of their main electricity sources, the way that Australians use coal, so maybe like they’re forcing them to use the gas on the stove to make more money using electricity I’m just – Wow, I think this was like the most shocked I’ve been about a cultural chang – like a cultural difference since I found out Canada has milk in bags.
KP: I didn’t know that.
AS: Yeah, yeah! Look up bagged milk in Canada it’s like, I was like what the fuck?
KP: Right yeah, that’s bizarre. (AS: Yeah!) Here’s – here’s another couple questions: What did you dress up for Halloween and did you ever go trick-or-treating in your lifetime? These must be from an American surely these questions.
AS: So, this year, I had work on Halloween, but I decided to dress up a little like just the hair and the makeup for the sake of being in spirit. I was Hollee Quinn so Harley Quinn – Hollee Quinn, eh eh eh? Yes, I was very happy with how that turned out actually. I got a lot of compliments during the day, so I will probably do that again in the future because I had a lot of fun with it. And then trick-or-treating, not too much because it’s just not really a thing in Australia.
KP: Yeah, we don’t do it here.
AS: I did it like once when I was eight and I dressed – my parents are so cheap – I just wore all the black clothes in my wardrobe and then they made it, like a hat that was pointed out of cardboard, and therefore I was a witch, hahaha.
KP: Some of my friends trick-or-treated once but the way they did it is, I think you’re supposed to go on knocking on everyone’s door, but they just knocked on their friends’ doors who knew they were coming anyway and had sweets for ‘em.
AS: Well, that’s cute because at least you don’t get, like especially if they’re younger, I’m not sure how old they were but if you’re a kid, so many people that you open the door to will be like: “Oh fuck off. We don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re not America.” I’m like, dude, that’s a ten-year-old in a costume do you think they’re really gonna give a shit about your woke American rants. And then well, I actually did go, hmm, I don’t know if it was last year, yeah, it was last year cause um, it was – fun fact – the day that Tata Adventures got #exposed as being run by AustralianSana was Halloween, so therefore it’s very easy for me to remember the date. So like a big distraction from all the fucking shit I was getting – literally over a million impressions in the timespan of like 12 hours – insane, but as a distraction my friend and I, um, we took a little brother trick-or-treating, so it was a nice way to get out of the house, go for a walk, be with friends, you know? Spend some time with a kid and see how meaningless Twitter is because you can just see the world from a ten-year-old’s eyes or not even ten like seven so yeah, a kid’s eyes and just yeah. Things that matter – but yeah I’ve got experience of trick-or-treating
KP: Some more questions, some pointless ones mainly. Do you believe in the Flat Earth theory?
AS: No, I do like science. But thanks for asking.
KP: Yeah, very good. Did you cry when Iron Man died?
AS: Mmm tears were in the eyes, but they didn’t quite fall. I think it was like-
KP: I don’t even know what this is referring to…
AS: Avengers Endgame spoiler alert.
KP: Sorry for the spoilers everyone.
AS: Yeah, I think if you haven’t heard by now you were under a rock. But um, yeah, get out of the rock.
KP: How do you feel about the United Nation’s history of raping kids and covering it up since BTS is a UN Ambassador?
AS: Oof, I don’t know specifically about the United Nations personally raping children, but it wouldn’t surprise me –
KP: There’s – there’s, they provide four links. I’ll – I’ll send them to you when you can…
AS: I wouldn’t be surprised because it’s, like you know, it’s the United Nations is a sham. It’s essentially what the League of Nations was before the World War II happened and it’s just so, again, corrupt because the people who are in control of it have all the power and all the money, so no one’s able to actually speak out against them or protest against them, so you’re looking at Russia China and, um…America as the big – biggest of the three in terms of their power involved. So, like, you know, the United Nations ruled against George Bush’s invasion of Iraq and did that stop him? No. And has he faced any consequences or has America faced any consequences? No. So that itself just shows how much of a piece of shit the United Nations actually are because they’ve never done anything to stop George Bush and then punish him for his actions. He should be tried in The Hague for war crimes. He killed – and then the other administrations that continued his war – are responsible for like four hundred thousand civilian deaths? Like that’s genocide, like, and he got away – and there’s never been any consequences for it, so, you know, what good is this United Nations if they’re not actually protecting the people that were supposedly established to protect. Instead it’s just become a platform for billionaire countries to come along and buy everyone’s loyalty. Like what the fuck was it with Saudi Arabia becoming – being put into the Human Rights Council and there was like a Women’s Rights council and like they’re apparently allowed to sit on that as they execute people for being gay.
KP: Apparently, some – someone else just let us know that Saudi Arabia had their first female wrestling game.
AS: Oh, really?
KP: I’ll send you a link to that too.
AS: Well, I mean, I’m a fan of wrestling vaguely like I’m not super into it, but I’ve got a good friend of mine who’s very into New Japan Pro Wrestling so whenever I hang out with them, I watch it at their house usually because it i- t’s pretty regular. It’s on like every couple of days so most of the times I’ve been at that place I watch it with them. I’ve become a fan of Zack Sabre Jr. He is a socialist, so I was like, we stan the socialist king of wrestling. And, um, I also enjoy other wrestlers as well. Tanahashi’s someone I’ve come to know, so I’m enjoying the process of, like you know, when you becoming exposed to a new hobby and you’re like learning everyone’s names and you’re learning the history behind it – that’s me and New Japan right now so I’m like: Yes! Finally, something for me to deep dive into that isn’t K-pop. I’m very happy right now. So I’m enjoying that and then I’ve heard about AEW, All Elite Wrestling, so I’m becoming interested in that because it’s basically created by Cody Rhodes and others as a response to the WWE and how they’ve basically become this like singular authority of American wrestling ever since they took over WCW years ago. It’s just gradually gone down and down and down because of Vince McMahon and his power trips. So, Vince McMahon and Triple H, they sent the WWE after Saudi Arabia for crown jewel or whatevers pay-per-view event that they held over in that country and one of the major stipulations of holding that pay-per-view that the Saudi government imposed was no women wrestlers were allowed. So that’s interesting to see the women’s match was – was held whether it was by the WWE I’m not sure, but you know, there we go.
KP: Uh, yeah, apparently.
AS: Ah! There we go.
KP: Yeah, yeah, I sent you the things so you can check it out. Um, what else do we got? Do you not have fancams of the podcast because you don’t want to be seen wearing your traditional Australian clothing like cork hats?
AS: I’m sitting here in a kangaroo onesie as we speak.
KP: There you go. Some – some more quick ones: Since AustralianSana posted endless Pepe Frog memes on Twitter during the 2016 US election year, is she a bigger edgelord than Kpopalypse?
AS: Perhaps. So I would like to think that I posted Pepe memes ironically in terms of how like everyone was claiming that it was becoming a symbol for the right whereas the actual creator of Pepe the Frog himself has personally come out against that and said that he’s disgusted.
KP:Yeah, he’s – I know, he’s quite horrified by the way. His frog’s been –
AS: If the creator of Pepe himself says it’s not a racist meme than I’m going to help him reclaim his Pepes.
KP: Cool, good work. Hollee, do you care at all that Kpopalypse is a massive pervert who blogs about anime porn games?
(Snickers and laughs from the both of them)
AS: I mean, like we’ve discussed this a bit in terms of the idea that you know you’re a massive pervert and a lot of it is actually like performative for the sake of comedy/social criticism, I mean you are a bit but, I mean, at least you admit it kind of thing…
KP: I mean, everyone has, you know, sexual preferences and stuff like that and you know, I mean, my girlfriend knows I’m a pervert too and she’s fine with it. So, it’s, you know, we all like certain things and you like certain things and that’s fine. I think it’s fine to say, you know, I’m a straight guy and I like, you know, drawings of girls with boobs, or whatever it happens to be. You know, just like it’s fine to say I’m gay and I like guys or whatever, you know, I don’t think people should be ashamed about sexual stuff and, I knows it bothers some people that I talk about –
AS: …kind of like people should be ashamed of stuff when it starts involving minors and subliminal messaging.
KP: I mean, you know, there – yeah, there is a time for shame, of course, and there’s a time to say, “Okay there’s a point I won’t go beyond,” but you know, if it’s something that’s harmless, then so what? Why does anyone even care, that’s, you know…and a lot of my more sexual writing is, you know, part of its performative, but part of it’s just to say, well, this is just normal, you know, objectification is just part of the game of media, and it’s not – it’s not necessarily good or bad. It’s not bad until someone makes it bad by doing something bad with it, you know, if you’re using it, you know, if you’re being forced to do something you don’t want to do or you know or you’re pushing people when it’s stuff before they’re ready then that’s different and that’s a different kettle of fish to, you know, being complicit and quite happy to go to, you know, do whatever it is that you’re gonna do, so it’s not you know, it’s – it’s not cut and dried thing. It’s various levels.
AS: Remember kids, consent is important.
KP: Yes, yes so…there’s all that.
AS: I think that answers that question.
KP: Sulli law – they haven’t put a question in, but we know what it means, and I guess the implied question is: Do you think it’s a good idea?
AS: I think it’s terrible and I think it’s basically the government trying to sneak in legislation that benefits them under the guise of being about Sulli’s passing when it’s really there or in benefit and trying to sneak something through and I think that’s, you know, disgusting. They way that they’re using her death. It’s just awful.
KP: Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, I get the – I get why a lot of people like the idea of, you know, having full names on comments and stuff like that and – but to me that’s not really addressing the root problem. Therefore, it’s a bit of a –
AS: And it’s basically going to make it so easy for the government to identify political protesters and then being able to trace them and potentially if there’s, you know, you look at what happens in China and the way that their internet is monitored or you look at the recent history of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Twitter and how much of a percentage of his shares that they own. They own more than Jack does, so they own more of Twitter than the CEO of Twitter does. And they were able to get data out of Twitter on people who were being outspoken against their regime and you don’t know how many people like that have now become put in jail because they protested the Saudi government on Twitter, but then you got ARMYs going, “Well, you should leave Saudis speak for themselves about the concert,” Gee, maybe if they could actually do so without getting imprisoned then maybe I wouldn’t have to be very cool about this but –
KP: But yeah I agree on Sulli law – it’s just not, you know, it’s not really, you know, I mean, it’s not like people don’t troll each other on Facebook. You got your full name on there, if you know what I mean? Here’s there – the last few questions are a bit more in depth since Source Music was bought out by BigClit – that’s their words – have you observed any changes in how good Gfriend is sold?
AS: Um, well, they actually haven’t had a comeback yet since that’s happened, so I think it’s gonna –
KP: Remains to be seen.
AS: Yeah, remains to be seen. To be continued.
KP: Alright, next one. I don’t know if both of you have followed this issue but what are your thoughts about what happened with SuperM’s number one. BTS’s fandom and probably their executives has managed to kick up – kick up a fuss about it and some K-pop journalists and publications have fanned the flames. Do you think their sales are legit and since you both keep a blog, what do you both thinking these journalists? Are they following the rules of journalism or are they just putting out stuff for clicks expecting that nobody will call them out? Is it a xenophobic attitude to have that which only allows a token minority to thrive and hopes of the others perish? What can we do to attract more credible journalist to the genre?
AS: Interesting so, like yeah, we did talk about this last time and you gave that really good response on how we’re not even actually able to have the real conversation here, which is on the way that bulk buying – the bulk buying, what is it called? The – the discounts! The way that they sold the albums actually –
KP: Yeah, the package deal with part of the ticket. Um, yeah cause the artists make no money from that, they actually get penalized. So, you know, if you – if you, yeah, bundles is nothing to brag about folks. It’s – it’s a bad deal that’s why they –
AS: Yup, um yes, so it’s beneficiary far more for SM than it is for the actual members of SuperM and their probably non-existent bank accounts because all the money was therefore spent on paying off the bundle deal but, um, in terms of the number one itself – the fact is, it’s legitimate and it’s not just SuperM that’s done bundled deals before. There’s been many other artists that have done bundles and gotten chart certifications as a result of that. If you look at Nicki Minaj, she tried to do bundle deals on her last album when, I think, she wanted the number one for, I’m not sure, if she ended up getting it – the album was Queen – but she was doing bundle deals as part of her tour at the time. Um, the artist who was against SuperM for the number one that week I believe was Summer Walker and she was doing number bundle deals to try and compete with their bundle deals, so you know, it’s like if others are doing bundles then it’s very interesting to see they’re only SuperM are the ones being vilified for it. Then if you’re talking about the ‘journalist’ and I use that term in inverted commas. For starters, the fucking BuzzFeed journalists, so like, to call that journalism is like calling McDonald’s fine dining.
KP: Yeah, they didn’t they have like about five corrections on that SuperM article?
KP: Three. (AS: Three) Only three? Oh my god.
AS: Only threeee
KP: Only three fuck-ups.
AS: …come out with like two articles, if not more, and then repeatedly posted that article to say, “Nooo, the chart was calculated properly that’s all,” but, you know, they never retracted that article. They just put the little annotations at the end and they never addressed it again. And then, um, yeah, it’s, uh, interesting that there was another one. I can’t remember her name but it’s GoAwayWithJae, I think it’s the Twitter user @, and you know, of course, she was another one who kind of joined in on the ARMY support and TXT no, no TXT, I always get confused on who they’re hating they days – SuperM, was you know, SuperM bad, ARMYs good, BTS only good people in America. Um, yeah, she jumped in on that bandwagon. And then one of my friends, I believe someone was shocked that I’m friends with him, his name’s Enzo, so someone in the comments was like: “She’s friends with Enzo?” Yes, I am. Um, and the way that she just basically doxed the shit out of him because his 50 followers quoted her – quoted her tweet saying you know, “Where the fuck was this energy when BTS were performing in Saudi Arabia? So, you know, you can criticize SuperM for going to America and having a charting album, but you can’t criticize BTS who was performing at the request of an authoritarian regime?” And you know, her response was all she – *snobby, oh I’m the poor victim voice* “Oh, he called me a hag and he looks like this.” And she dug through his Twitter, so she would have had to have scrolled back through his history because the selfie wasn’t this recent and I believe I already talked about this so we’re just repeating a bit of history here, but like, you know, she’s encouraging doxing of people who dare to criticize her authority and it’s like that’s not journalism, that’s narcissism. And people seem to think that just because they got a blue tick next to their name that their hot takes are suddenly so much more valid, but essentially all ARMYs have done for themselves is create this massive echo chamber that does them no favors and then they cry when they don’t get a Grammy. And it’s like, you don’t think that people in the industry see this? It’s like they want nothing to do with it because there’s no room for valid criticism or valid opinions. It’s all about just repeat the same thing everyone else says and how funny that the people who are saying these opinions also have a link to buy their book on BTS. No, they couldn’t possibly be using the fanbase to boost their own profits or sales. Nooo, they’re just really genuine people. Eugh.
KP: Um, just the – about the key question there about whether the sales legit or whatever, I mean, you should never take charts very literally, generally speaking, but the other thing to keep in mind, is it’s actually not that hard to get a number one, in terms of, you don’t actually have to sell that much to do it. You just have to have a bit of a slow week and you can be a number one. It’s the people who are making money, the ones who stay up there, if they’re staying up there then you’ve got a hit, but –
AS: Yeah, like regardless I don’t personally like her music, but I think the more I learn about her as a person she seems quite nice, but Billie Eilish is the huge example of that like her album has been such a massive success even though I don’t actually like any of the songs on it I can at least acknowledge success when it’s there.
KP: At least in terms of physical product what a lot of people don’t realise when it comes to physical product charts, is that what counts as a sale is not when you buy, you as a consumer, buy the album that’s – that there’s no bearing on the chart whatsoever. What counts as a sell is when the retailer buys the album from the distributor.
AS: Oh yeah, that’s when you get all those K-pop stans who are like: *K-pop Stan voice* “They sent out 200,000 albums~ They sold so many~” It’s like that’s not the album’s that have actually been sold, that’s the albums that have been bought by retailers.
KP: Yeah, in like the early nineties, I think, it was Michael Jackson who came out with a – it’s like a double CD called History, which is always you know Greatest Hits up until that point. And it was like number one with a bullet everywhere in the world at the same time. It broke some record at the time, I think, like that. And then, but like a year later though that same double CD was in the bargain bins everywhere because it would just went off the charts almost as quickly as it came on and whenever you see that sort of flash in the pants big hit and then it’s not – what’s happened is that the retailers have bought a whole ton of the album from the distributor’s thinking: Oh this is gonna be a massive hit and then that album sits on the shelves and it doesn’t sell to the public. And that’s what happened with that album because – because every Michael Jackson fan already had “Bad”, they already had “Thriller”, they already had “Dangerous”, they already had “Off-the-Wall”, you know, so they didn’t need this extra album which had like one extra track on it which is kind of crap and just all the other songs already had so, so it didn’t really so many – sell that many to the public at all because I was fairly redundant and so – but that was like in inverted commas be ‘number one smash’ or whatever and they can still use that as promo and say, “Aw, their last album was a number smash,” but really it was actually a flop. So, you can actually have a number one record and – and fail it’s very easy to do.
AS: Yeah, as a completely different side note, I just want to point out that I’ve noticed that my microphone at one point wasn’t actually connected so whilst you would have been hearing me it would have been like the external camera from my laptop and not the actual microphone that I’ve got plugged in so I’ve just fixed that and if my voice quality suddenly sounds so much better that is why.
KP: Yeah, you changed about – about the 30 minute mark in this I think your audio changed drastically, (AS: Shit) but it didn’t get worse, I think it actually improved a bit, so I think you went from bad to slightly better, and now you’re sounding really good. Doesn’t matter we – I can hear clearly all the way through so it’s no big deal.
AS: *singsongy* ~Technical difficulties~ We’re learning.
KP: Okay, we’ll just try to do the last ones quickly cause we’ve been doing this for a while…
AS: Yeah, what are we’re going 3-hour podcast?
KP: Yeah, maybe. The poor person who’s going to write this up – Jesus Christ. Sucks to be you.
AS: *snicker* They’re just gonna protest and not do it because of that joke.
KP: They – they’re gonna give up after this one. They’re gonna be like – ahhh…
AS: They’re just gonna be like: fuck you, we’re done.
KP: Yeah, I agreed to do this, fuck this. Anyway, um, okay so, next one is really directed at you. I’ve noticed the way you have your clique on Twitter, very few people manage to speak up about the Saudi concert and they were drowned out by the fandom. Why do you think this happened? Do you think it’s a matter of political ignorant and why do you think a group such as BTS, who a marketed is UNICEF ambassadors and who have protested against their own government, has managed to attract such an ignorant narrow-minded fanbase? We’ve kind of already covered the answer to this haven’t we?
AS: Pretty much.
KP: Do you think it’s intentional with the price of fame, but lots of national massively popular people who wanted to see them perform have been called out even by their fan base – see Nicki Minaj – so why ARMYs so silent on that day?
AS: Um, yeah well, I mean, it’s to do with how rapidly the fan base is growing as well, so like, you’ve just had this influx of fans over such a short period of time that – if you imagine this going on like three years ago, it would have been almost a completely different outcome I genuinely think. It’s just ever since they went overseas to America and then they changed their concept to adapt to the American market and like, of course, you’re gonna get people flooding this thing, *K-pop stan Karen voice* “No, they didn’t! They stayed exactly is authentic and how they used to be.” It’s like you look at the fucking album credits and the lists of all the names that now exist on all their songs – it’s clearly not the same as what it used to be when it was predominantly made by an in-house team. Um, yeah so with my quote: ‘little clique’ um, for the record, I do try to make sure that I socialize with as many people who talk to me, so it just – it just seems to me that more like the same people messaged me or interact on my @ whatever and that’s just who I ended up becoming friends with, just because they spoke to me most. Obviously, that’s a little bit more different now as well now that I’m a private account. So yeah, it’s like most of the time I’m pretty easy to talk to, kind of, just don’t be an absolute ignorant piece of shit and I’ll probably treat you with respect – maybe.
KP: On a related note: How can people follow you? So, I’ll just respond that if, I know you’re on private, so if you do want to follow AustralianSana, just DM me. I’ve already had a few people do it, and what I’ll do is, I then – I’ll just send it over to you and say do you want to green light this person?
AS: So yeah, so the main thing that I look at if people are requesting to follow my account – I’ve still got a few in pending and a few just rejected because I look at who the account requesting me also follows and like if I scroll through and there’s like 50 people I’ve got blocked and like one person who I’m following in that list, odds are they’re probably someone who’s trying to like lurk in my account and then go report back to their group chat or whatever’s. Like I’m not interested in like being #exposed or like you know, y’all wanted to believe me off the website – you did that. Y’all wanted to like, make me a private account with no influence – you did that. And then like guess what? Issues still exist. You know, I’m kind of like waiting for the day when people realize that I’m not this secret mastermind pulling all the strings and orchestrating everything that’s happening, it’s more like I’m the voice that was trying to like help warn people about these things so we could fix it before it became a fucking issue. Like I mean look at how everyone now is we decided that it’s acceptable to ask BigHit for subs. People like me and my ‘clique’ have been asking for that for like over a year, if not longer, and we’ve been openly critical about that for a very long time and we got dragged to filth for it. People saying shit like: *K-pop Karen returns* “Oh, they only do it so that people can create a bond between the Korean fans and International fans~” And like, no, all that happens is certain translators *cough* JLKDiamond or whoever the fuck she is and MaduBorahae, just put their own agenda into the translations and no one exists to correct them, so that’s just biased fans spreading a biased agenda and people having no other form of information to counter that point of view, so there should be an official translation, so that people can actually get it straight from the source. But yeah, we’re anti~ as usual… we don’t want to have mediocre Western collabs. Uh, yeah, uh, remember when I got drag to filth for that? Imagine wanting the group that you became a fan of because they self-composed their own music to continue to self-compose their own music.
KP: Well, you just got dragged cause people don’t like you for other – you know, they see one thing and so everything else is within that lens but then they get it from somebody else and they’re like, “Oh, well, I never thought it that way.”
AS: I feel like I’ve got such a polarizing personality and the far more majority of people tend to go on the disliking me side of things. It’s like, you know, maybe when I was 12 that was devastating, but I guess as an adult I’m not going to adapt to try and fitting with the mainstream especially when I’m quite literally like on the autism spectrum so that’s probably like impossible for me to ever actually fit in with people. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s like taking off your glasses and then being expected to somehow suddenly see out of your eyes if you try really hard or not, but it’s just never gonna happen so I accept the fact that I’m blind socially and literally.
KP: So how do you think we can improve the BTS fandom? This person is saying I’ve liked them since debut, but it seems as if fandom culture gone stale, there’s no return from it. Do you think we need to wait for toxic people to get tired of them and move on to their next interest? It seems for some especially the ones who are above thirties and seem to spend their whole time on Twitter telling us what to do or what to think [it’s clear who I’m referring to by now] (AS: Obviously, we know) unknowingly using this as some form of therapy to make up for something that’s obviously missing from their lives.
AS: Microphone just fucked up again. Yeah, it’s weird it’s just like the little light goes out and then I have to like unplug it and then replug it back in again, I’ve got no idea what’s going on. Anyway, back to that topic, yeah, um, so to people who are obviously dealing with this situation and like feeling uncomfortable in a fandom like you are under no obligation to have to remain in something that is clearly existing to be a hobby, so like I’m not trying to force anyone out of the fandom, but I’m trying to encourage people to say like don’t force itself to step on you. At the end of the day, like you’re worth as an individual person and your morals and yourself, like your actual mental health, it takes the priority over all of that. So, you’re not a bad fan, if you walk away from something because the experience is no longer bringing you joy. These are hobbies! We are the paying customers. We should be able to voice opinions of things that we are investing our money into. By business definitions, we are quite literally stakeholders because we hold a stake in the company by giving them money and we expect a product in return like it’s basic business you give – we give – we get product in return and when those products don’t meet the customer demand then it’s a faulty product, but for some reason being in a fandom has convinced people that our job as consumers is to just shut up and take whatever is given to us and be grateful and it’s like: No, that’s – that’s not how things should actually work and if you think that’s how authorities should operate I highly recommend getting your head checked.
And that is again, no surprise why those people with those opinions are Republicans, but, you know, *the voice of a BTS fan who’s been through shit* “BTS just had to go to America, they just had to go to the VMAs” – I hope selling their souls was worth it. So for anyone who is like in that side of things, like I’m on the fence in terms of like, I’ve managed to find a niche group of people who share similar point of views that I do, some things I don’t agree with, they don’t agree with mine but at the end of the day we can at least respect each other for the sense that we’re people who I guess have been ostracized for being outspokenly critical at times. For me, I have this little daydream and I always wonder what music they would have created if they didn’t get that BBMA nomination and decided, pardon me, decided to change so much of their concept. So back like Boy Meets Evil, from the look of it, started to be like a whole new era and that was the direction that they were starting to go in and they look like that was going to be the follow-up and like what happens after Jin kissed the statue. And then we got Spring Day which was kind of like a bit of a standalone and Not Today as well, they were like the extra tracks to sell the new album. But I was super interested to kind of see where this grown mature, manly I guess, concept was going to go and then it was just like, it feels like, they reverted so much after they got that BBMA nomination and then suddenly they met all those American celebrities and then you know, fuck the creative direction that they were going in, let’s just meet with the Chainsmokers cuz, yeah, that’s fucking great music. Yeah, so for me, my kind of interest in them still remains and I guess I’m like holding out to see like when – when all the glitz and the gold is faded and the next new thing comes along and people playing that like: “Oh, I’m never gonna lose interest or I’m gonna be here until the end,” It’s like you know look at the Backstreet Boys now what 10-20 years on after the 90s and obviously they still don’t have the same fan base numbers that they did 10-20 years ago, so it will inevitably happen with BTS, too. So when that huge number inevitably starts to drop, I’d like to think that they would hopefully go back to the kind of music that they once were making and I’ll get to see a kind of concept out of them that I was originally hoping for as the follow-up for Wings.
But then again like given all the shit they are personally dealing with, so when I’m outspokenly critical on things that are to do with BTS, it’s not really them as individuals but moreso the government that is hugely involved in controlling a lot of decisions such as the Saudi concert and also BigHit as a company’s willingness to go along with that – because money. I’m totally fine if any member of BTS ever actually decides to leave the group. I’m not actively willing it saying like: “Taehyung, leave the band. Taehyung, go solo.” But you know, if he does, I’m not gonna cry about it because you know they all have individual hopes and dreams be it their own careers, in terms of acting, composing, photography, fashion, etc. They all have individual talents and I think there is such a well-rounded talented group that any member of them could have their own individual career if they so wished. And it’s been actively suppressed by their CEO, like he says it himself in a Time interview, that he’s asked about their solo projects and he literally calls it a ‘liability.’ Like, do you not fucking realize that this is the group that is entirely responsible for your massive bank account where he has seven hundred million dollars supposedly and each member but has between eight and twelve million dollars, so yeah, I’m not going to lose sleep shedding a tear over the rich, because no matter who the poorest member of the group is, they’ve got more money than I will ever see in my lifetime, but you know, that’s hardly a proportionate share of who’s doing all the work so, you know, if they were to get out of underneath his thumb – I’d be happy for them. I act – like I don’t want BTS to disband because I do enjoy them as a group. I like the way they interact with each other, like, I love the fact that, you know, if you’re gonna use ships, I – if I’m discussing them I don’t mean it romantically, but I like the friendships, relationships, brotherhood etc whatever people want to perceive it as being. I love the fact that each member could have a ship with any other member of the group and none of them are really awkward. Like you know, if I were to do that with Infinite, there were definitely awkward people within the group, but with BTS it just seems like they genuinely do have a good connection with each other. So you know like as long as that exists I hope they stay together as long as they’re all happy, but if any of them does prioritize their own mental health, well-being, career, whatever reason – there’s valid reasons for them to do that, so I would also support that decision too – so I guess that, it’s all about thinking about what you want to see in the future and do you think it’s realistic and do you see yourself holding out for that and is it worth putting up with the shit that is the fandom now to actually see that outcome. So, it also kind of like why I’m happy I’m interested in New Japan Pro Wrestling these days because you know, yes get another hobby on the side.
KP: Yeah, don’t put all your eggs in one basket is a good idea. (AS: Always) Yeah, I mean, I’ve never been involved in fandoms myself. Even if, you know, as groups I thought: Well, they’ve got better songs than other groups. I think at one point, I did try and, um, tried to get active on T-ara Diadem but I might’ve post about, which is a T-ara forum or whatever, but I don’t – I think I took one look at it and thought: Oh, there’s too much craziness, and too much sunshine out of everyone’s ass. You know, I will conflict with these people and it’s just gonna be too much. And at one point, one of the people who was admin of T-ara Diadem, did ask me if I wanted to write for them and I said no it’s probably not a good idea because I wouldn’t be able to write the sort of content that, you know, would please people.
AS: Yeah, similar kind of concept to that, like I briefly, I guess, dabbled in journalism when it came to music, like I managed to get press passes to a couple of things. I went to a couple of concerts, took a couple of photos, and for me I loved photography, so like, you know, if anyone’s listening out there that is still listening after the two-hour mark and happens to work in journalism and has a spare press pass that I could a tag along with and take photos for by all means feel free to request me via Kpopalypse’s DMs but, um, I saw first-hand how absolutely morally bankrupt that all was and how much: A. It’s just basically a PR machine of copy and paste as opposed to actual investigative journalism, you know, that’s why yeah that’s why I laugh any time –
KP: Well, they don’t want you to investigate anything. No, it’s the last thing they want.
AS: Yeah, that’s why I laugh at any time Jeff Benjamin refers to himself as a serious journalist. I’m like, “Okay where’s the article about burning Sun chop-chop!” You know, what are you actually doing to you know bring attention to all these issues in K-pop that you will highlight whenever an idol unfortunately passes away, but they essentially enable the system that allows that to happen. Yeah, so like in terms of I get what you’re saying, like you have the interest and you like this thing, but you can’t talk about it in such a blind head up your own ass kind of way.
KP: No, no, no, it’s, you know, there’s got to be some sort of rationality to it and some sort of ability – ability to say, well okay, they – they’re human they can fuck up and they’re also quite possibly able to do songs that a complete shit. I mean, one of my my – on my worst list, last year number three was Hyomin. You know, and if I was T-ara fandom person…
AS: Oh, you’re getting kicked out of Diadem for that.
KP: Ah, yeah, I’d be crucified, hahaha, for that. But you know, if I don’t like a song, I’m not gonna sit there and fucking force myself to like it.
AS: Yeah, it’s weird how many people actively engage in brainwashing themselves. Like, what do you gain? Social acceptance apparently.
KP: Well, it just shows to me that a lot of people don’t really care about the music cause if they can – if they can put that musical opinion to one side and then you know maybe – maybe if you’re not really that into music maybe that’s an easy thing to do, I don’t know. But – but for me, I’m really, I’m in for it for the music before anything else, so the music has to be good or I’m just out, so and that’s just the bottom line. Um, I’ll leave you with the best question – I’ve saved the best question for last and I’ve just put it up on your – on your – on the, on the Skype chat. This is an article (AS: *amused gasp*). Saudi authorities close down a shop selling traditional camel urine drinks after discovering the owner had been filling the bottle with his own bodily wastes (AS: *gag sounds*), so they just want to have thoughts on this article.
AS: *more gagging sounds* Gagging noises…But there’s multiple layers to that really, like, you’ve got people voluntarily drinking urine in the first place, but then it suddenly would become disgusting to them when they find out it’s not a camel’s, it’s a man’s. I like that part of it really. It’s like: * Poor Saudi Bastard voice* “Wait a minute, this cow or, sorry, this camel piss is actually man piss?!” *spitting out noises*
KP: Haha, so there you go. Um, thanks for doing the chat. Thanks for doing this part of the series once again. Really appreciate it. Thanks for your time. It’s been a long haul doing this. Next one…
AS: Yeah, it has been a while, like um, yeah two hours, I think we’re clocking in at, so you know if anyone’s still listening at the end of that then kudos to them for like soldiering on through all of that rambling and my mic issues.
KP: All good. Um, I’ll see you next time and just drop questions anyone who wants to do questions for this just put them in the box. They can be about anything, K-pop or not. Doesn’t have to be a BTS. Doesn’t have to be about anything particular. Just, you know, put them in there and we’ll probably get to them. There’s a couple I missed out, but they were just kinda repeats of things we’d already covered so –
AS: Yeah that’s fair.
KP: But if you, you know, just put stuff in and we’ll talk about it. Um, and yeah, so thanks very much, and I’ll see you next time. Nice, bye.
AS: Alright, thank you!
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