AustralianSana and Kpopalypse return with another huge podcast for your entertainment!
Podcast timestamps and question box below!
0:00 – will Korean idols dating always be controversial?
5:20 – watching Japanese wrestling in Australia
7:52 – the Australian fires
12:55 – is CL too poor to afford proper music videos now?
15:25 – ancient astronauts
17:20 – “dog food lid” backwards is “dildo of god”. Thoughts?
17:45 – home toilet etiquette
18:25 – Ian Miles Cheong: “finally, #KPopisCringe is trending”
22:20 – Cookie Monster math
23:01 – fuck, marry, kill – Australian politics
23:34 – pineapple on pizza?
25:17 – Onision
27:14 – AustralianSana’s massive Russian figure-skating rant
37:43 – are k-pop scandals cover-ups for Korean government scandals?
40:48 – Australian politicians are China’s bitches
43:53 – Amber’s subway law enforcement comments
49:55 – …and while we’re on the subject of hate-crimes and k-pop…
51:23 – is k-pop overall progressive or conservative?
1:02:02 – One Nation and “How To Sell A Massacre”
1:06:00 – K-pop line distribution (not cocaine) (well, probably not)
1:11:06 – AustralianSana on the Kpopalypse songwriting credits article
1:16:06 – how have k-pop member roles changed over the years?
1:18:32 – fans getting mad about idol suicides delaying comebacks (yes you read that right)
1:20:57 – final thoughts and thank-yous
Transcription below, provided by a different anonymous Kpopalypse reader! Thank you caonima – you know who you are!
KP: So, got lots of questions. Some very good ones, some very cringe ones. So, let’s get started and I’ll start off with the most recent and we’ll work backward. Here we go. “The reaction by Korean fans to Chen’s wedding and baby is interesting. Seeing the disappointment and reaching for excuses, like it’s non-feminist to not use protection and other stupid shit like that – do you think there will be shift in attitude going forward or will idols dating and getting married forever be a scandal?”
AS: Well, I think that kind of links back to something we’ve talked about previously in terms of people in a fandom weaponising social justice issues, so it’s just yet another common incident of that I guess? In terms of answering the actual question, I think there’s always gonna be a certain stigma – unfortunately – around dating, especially within the K-fandom, because it’s always been such an essential part of the idol career and image. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of that and that’s why it doesn’t bother me when people who are my faves date. For me, I’ve always had Chen as my favorite member of EXO, because he’s a fantastic vocalist! That is 100% the reason that I am his stan and yes, he’s quite handsome and I think he’s been funny and, you know, a little bit of a schoolgirl crush kinda thing but never actually like a deluded sense of “I’m going to end up with him in the end”. So, for me, him getting married, him having a baby doesn’t take anything away from what I enjoy about him and if anything it just makes me happy for his success, although unfortunately he has said some things in the past that counters. He made a joke about looking like the character from Roots when he wore a dark lipstick so that kinda made me feel a bit ‘nnggg’ in terms of stanning but again, racism in kpop, I think you’re gonna have a hard time who hasn’t said problematic shit in their past. *Bark* Oh, you can hear my dogs in the background; they’re idiots.
KP (*chuckle*): Was that a racist bark? AS: It’s a racist dog whistle. KP: That’s right!
AS: But yeah, so, dating never bothered me but I’m not a K-fan; I’m not the person who’s buying a hundred albums for the chance to hold oppas hand and tell him how much I love him and he’s gonna hold my hand and tell me not to go to the next person in his group because he loves me so much – and I feel like unless that aspect of the culture changes it’s gonna be so difficult for K-fans to pull their head out of their ass – and the companies are super reluctant to ever change anything about it because these fans that bulk buy hundreds of albums to get into the fan signs are their major source of income.
KP: Yeah, they’re certainly doing well with the status quo as it is. It’s certainly the higher levels anyway. (AS: Yeah) So, I agree, they’re not gonna really change anything. I mean, my objective in writing about these things has never been to try and change a system because I really don’t think I can do that. It’s more…
AS: Just to have a space that actively critiques it for other people who exist in the fandom that are capable of appreciating the content but don’t want to have to exist in the same space as the mass consumers.
KP: Yeah, basically. So, exactly that. Just to have a place where people go: “Okay, I can be a fan and, you know, not buy into all the crap.” I mean I know when I first became a fan it was really hard to find people who I could really talk to about any of this stuff because everyone was just taking it to that next level and it was really alienating, so it’s just really hard to even have a conversation.
AS: Yeah, like I found out about your writing from the Anti Kpop-Fangirl blog that used to exist and then I became a fan of that through, like, I saw your posts a few times, thought they were funny. I think it was very much a bit of an Australian humor that I saw in those and then I obviously followed Asian Junkie for a while and then just through that was able to find I guess the niche that exists…In our little space.
KP: Yep. Cool, cool. But yeah, that’s all I’ve really got to say on that. Nothing’s gonna change.
AS: Nah! In an ideal world it would, but I don’t think that we’ve got the market power to be able to initiate a change in a business which is unfortunately driven by results and the people who are the obsessed ones that spend all that money are the ones who are driving the industry.
KP: Let’s move on to the next response. What have we got…alright, this one’s entirely directed towards you: “Australian Sana, what channels or sites can I use to watch Japanese wrestling in Australia? I was watching a Kamen Rider movie recently,” I don’t know what the fuck that is, “and Tanahashi played one of the many boss characters (AS: Oh my god!). I wanna see his usual stuff.”
AS: Oh, that’s funny because Tanahashi is like a massive face and for those who don’t understand wrestling that means it’s like the super good guys who are never in the villainous roles. So, the way that I watched New Japan, since my friend got me into it, is just through their official website, so it is a subscription and it is a paid subscription so unfortunately I can’t recommend anything to you that is ‘cheap’ in the sense of ‘free’, but I think a lot of people who are fans will find the subscription price pretty good – and then there’s sites that probably do exist that have those kinda things available but I just don’t know them as such, but I’m sure you can find them on google or something if you try hard enough, enough forums. In terms of Tanahashi, (I’m probably saying his name in like a super stupid Australian accent), but yeah, my friend got me into it, super glad that they did because I highly have enjoyed all the content since, he’s also in a movie called “My Daddy is a Heel Wrestler” – highly recommend that movie, too! So, if you’ve got the chance to watch that and you’re kinda getting into a few things, that’s another one of my recommendations.
KP: Cool. I’ll take your word for that. *hehehe* It’s something I know nothing about, but all good, we’ll move on. I think there’s another wrestling question later or something like that
AS: Yay! I want people to ask me a couple of other questions that might not necessarily relate to kpop – even though that might not be your forte but it’s just nice for me to have a few things that aren’t gonna, like, get me jumped for having opinions.
KP: Yeah…Are wrestling fans as crazy as kpop fans?
AS: Yeah, sometimes. In their own way. I think they’re crazy, but a lot of them still have common sense, so for example when WWE has had it’s performances in Saudi Arabia, the wrestling fandom has had quite a strong backlash against that, so I’m like: “Oh, yeah, my meatheads with, like, common sense! I like you people.”
KP: Do you still think wrestling is real?
AS: *chuckle* Depends on who you ask. (KP *chuckle*) If Chis Jericho is in the ring it’s real to me. (Both laugh)
KP: Okay, next one: “Do you think the Australian arsonists are lighting the fires in the hopes of making Mad Max setting a reality?”
AS: Well, I guess if you’re gonna get political I think the major thing you might wanna suggest is that the fires being whipped by arson are a smaller percent – like, if you’re going by percentages, it’s the same amount that it is usually, every year. So, you’ll get a few people who are arsonists and yes, obviously you condemn that behavior, but in terms of the freak fires that are going on right now in Australia – and there was a chart that was done that listed all the major fires with the most amount of hectares burned, pretty much all of them except one were lightning strikes, so it is very much an unfortunate climate change issue and we’ve got a government that is completely inept on dealing with climate change. Thanks, Rupert Murdoch!
KP: One of the most interesting things I thought about the whole fire situation is hearing conservative people suddenly say “We need to do more burn offs, like the Aboriginals did” and advocating aboriginal style land management. That’s interesting.
AS: Like: Hey, I wonder why the aboriginals aren’t in charge of land management as it is? Hmm?! Let’s think about it! But yeah, mess, mess, mess, everywhere.
KP: Yes. Without wanting to reveal your exact location for all those doxxers out there, how close where you to the fires?
AS: I’ve got the app that’s called ‘Fires near me’ and I set it to an 18 kilometer watch radius and I get notifications every day. There’s a couple of the major fires that have been within that watch radius (not the gospel’s mountain or the other really huge ones that I’ve seen on TV, but there’s a few within my radius. I had one that came up in my notifications yesterday and it was literally a street away from one of my really good friends, so I was just sending them that message like: “Um, you okay?” So yeah, the fires do exist in terms of like, there’s something to be concerned about but I also feel privileged in the sense that there’s enough road breaks that it won’t likely affect where I live, but at the same time: Things like lightning strikes, things like the way that ash can travel for thirty kilometers, those flares can travel kilometers and there’s fires 18 kilometers in my watch zone, so you’re never 100% safe. For any people who are listening out there, make sure to have a fire plan and like, know when to leave and all that kinda fire-educationy stuff. Yeah, I feel like there’s definite privilege in terms of how I’m able to cope with it, but it’s definitely something to be concerned about and me and my history of – I think I’ve talked to you about before – spontaneous lung collapses, my lungs are not in the best shape, so that’s concerning when the smoke is an issue. That’s been more of the factor for me. Rather than the fires themselves the smoke has been pretty shit for my lungs – not fun.
KP: The fires, where I live in Adelaide, I live sorta in a city urban, so I’m pretty much safe here. Also, the fires tend to go from west to east, and I’ve got the coast on the West, so I’m probably one of the few people who doesn’t really have to worry, but it’s certainly a bit freaky seeing what’s going on around the country. And we have had a couple of days where there’s been fires on Kangaroo Island and I’ve woken up and it’s just smoky, and the visibility is really bad.
AS: It’s really sad in terms of Kangaroo Island as well, cause I’m pretty sure the mayor or whoever the regional of that area is is a fucking dipshit who like, went on record saying that climate change had nothing to do with the fires even after two firefighters dies on that island. Yeah, not good. Again, it’s just like we’re in a country that’s run by idiots.
KP: Yeah, well, and these sort of things make them see reason, they just solidify their position in one way or another.
AS: Yeah. And there’s been all those studies that are done unto people who are like “the more facts you present someone with, the harder they actually will believe their own lies.”
KP: Well, can’t change idiots, I suppose.
AS: We gotta vote them out. So ladies, make sure to enroll next election for wherever you live and fight out conservatives for the sake of not dying in fires!
KP: Yes, in Australia, you have to – as soon as the election is announced, you can actually enroll, so make sure to get your ass up and do it. As soon as you’re eligible, do it.
AS: Public service announcement: Enroll now, before it’s too late!
KP: Let’s move on to the next one. “Is CL too poor to afford proper music videos for her new indie songs? If the bums on Mirrorball Music can mange it, what’s her excuse?”
AS: Well, to be honest, I haven’t actually seen the newer music videos if they have come out but I highly doubt being poor is gonna be her problem because she comes from a very affluent family. So, you know, she grew up traveling all over the world. Apparently, she’s like, fluent in French, along with obviously English and Korean and I’m pretty sure Japanese is pretty high up in her vocabulary, too. So yeah, money: Not much of a problem for her. I know that she was like in a commercial with Beyoncé for Beyoncé’s clothing line very recently as well, so she’s got the connections and she’s got the money and if anything, I would almost say that a cheap music video would probably have been something that she would’ve filmed whilst in YG if I had to take a guess.
KP: Yeah, hang on, Stiglitz taking over. My cat’s being really funny because I’ve been feeding my cat on the live stream slightly, so my cat’s kinda worked out the fact that if I’m talking to my computer, means she might get food. (AS: Good job!) So she’s gone and set herself down right in front of the computer.
AS: Ah, I’ve always wanted a cat. My parents are dog people – which I respect because I do love my dogs, but I’ve always wanted a cat. Love cats.
KP: So yeah, she’s insane. (AS: Hi cat!) Yeah, with CL, what I think it is, with those new songs – six new songs she put out – I seem to think they’ve all got dates on them, right? And all those dates are in the past by six months to a few years, so I think she’s clearing house of a lot of the YG stuff that she worked on at that time, and I think she’s just put in quick “Hey friend, why don’t you make a video for me?” with some photos or something, just real cheap stuff, just to clear house before she work on something brand-new. I think that’s the plan.
AS: I’d say so.
KP: Yeah. And that’s why there hasn’t been much fuss about them apart from the videos, she’s getting it out there and I think the next thing we see from CL will probably be something a bit more along the lines of what we’re used to, but, not so YG directed. For better or worse.
Alright, next one: This comes with a link which I’ll send to you.
“Do you think these theories about ancient astronauts hold any water?” And, just moving my cat so I can get to the chat bar and paste you this link. And the link’s just a Wikipedia entry for ancient astronauts. Just have a quick skim of that.
AS: Alrighty, ancient astronauts it is.
KP: “Ancient astronauts or ancient aliens refers to the pseudo-scientific idea that intelligent extraterrestrial beings visited Earth and made contact with humans in antiquity and prehistoric times.
AS: Ah, is this like people who think aliens build Stonehenge?
KP: I guess so. “Proponents suggest that this contact influenced the development of modern cultures, technologies, and religions, and even human biology. A Common position is that deities from most, if not all, religions are extraterrestrial in origin, and that advanced technologies brought to Earth by ancient astronauts were interpreted as evidence of divine status by early humans.”
AS: Yeah, I see Stonehenge in the picture.
KP: “The idea that ancient astronauts existed is not taken seriously by most academics, and has received no credible attention in peer reviewed studies.”
AS: Ah, I think it’s fun. (KP *chuckles*) Yeah like, who’s to say what has happened in the world over the last few thousand years if not billions? Of course science should take precedence – science should take priority, but let people have their theories, as long as it’s not harming anyone.
KP: *chuckles* Yeah, I think, you know, people believe whatever they want, really. As long as they’re not running around with guns, trying to force it down your throat, who really cares?
KP: Um, we got some more silly questions here: “’Dog food lid’ backwards is ‘dildo of good’. Thoughts?”
AS: Wow. You learn something new every day. I had a friend who once told me about, like, if you rearrange the letters of my full name you can get the words “healing love” – aaw! – but I’m like the complete opposite of that as a person. So, it’s funny. *chuckles*
KP: Next one: “When you’re home alone, do you go to the toilet with the door open?”
AS: That is weird because I literally had that circumstance this morning when I woke up to use the bathroom and my parents were out of the house, and I close the door behind me and I’m like: Why did I close the door if I’m by myself in the house? And then…so that answers that question.
AS: Force of habit, really.
KP: Yeah, I guess. I – I don’t even really think about it, I can’t even remember what I did last time.
AS: Yeah, I think I was just finally you know…
KP: Yeah well I don’t live alone, so that’s a scary thing? *chuckles*
Alright, next one is “accurate or no?” And I’m gonna send you a link.
AS: Okay. Let me open up the chat bar again.
KP: Alright, this is – oh god, it’s Ian Miles Cheong: “finally, #KPopisCringe is trending”
AS: So I just got an archive link.
AS: “finally, #KPopisCringe is trending” Ah yeah, that edit.
KP: Scroll it down there’s some interesting clap backs on it, too.
AS: Yeah, I like the @Hoseokielovebug clap back and it’s basically like, I’d say it’s like a more wholesome image to be honest. And there’s definitely aspects of kpop and adult fandom, adult fans in kpop fandom, who deserve to be criticized. But I feel like the image is definitely something that’s made up by a troll – and this obviously looks like the kind of thing you’d find on 4chan, so you never really gonna have a rational debate with anyone from there. There’s a few things that are obviously wrong with it in terms of correlating weight to character, so uh – you are fat so therefore you must be bitter or ugly or like mean or stupid and that kind of thing. So, you know, there’s obviously a lot of things to deconstruct about that that’s inaccurate. Same deal with skin, because it’s like, you know, just because someone has a breakout doesn’t mean that they’re ugly. Um, so that’s why I quite like the reply which you’d probably be able to insert as a picture if you’ve got the blog, or you’ve got the YouTube video that was from @Hoseokielovebug. Basically just goes through, and, you know, the girl’s still a bit chubby in the picture, but they acknowledge it and then it says: “Is fat but who cares? That doesn’t define people’s worth as humans.”– which I wholeheartedly agree with.
KP: I actually really like the next clap back after that. The “Grown man who has kpop as his sole enemy”.
AS: Ah yeah, quite accurate! Especially the “lives in mother’s basement”!
KP: But, you know, I think – I mean, all stereotypes have a grain of truth in them, that’s how they get started, but, you know, the first one, there are probably people out there who do exist, but there’s plenty of people who also exist like the second one, too.
AS: Something that I actually had, you know – finger quotes – “a problem with” was that a lot of kpop fans then started “replying” to the tweet with selfies being like: “See, I’m conventionally attractive, so it doesn’t apply to me!” – That’s just very much like #Imnotlikeothergirls kinda thing and I think, you know, this person is clearly insecure and got problems and is just being mean on the internet for the sake of being mean and whatever insecurities in life he has. So, why are you seeking to validate that criticism, like, why are you trying to appeal to this person and be like: “See, I’m not like that” – why is this someone you want the approval of? *frustrated chuckle*
KP: Well, it’s like…
AS: Slam dunk on them to show that we’re not like that – but it’s also like: Well, you’re also reinforcing that to be unconventionally attractive – Uh, I’m sorry, was tired, just came back from gym, brain not working – but it’s like reinforcing the idea that if you’re not conventionally attractive then you are worthless and you are as bad as that comment. It’s like – so what? So what if does look a little bit like that comment, that doesn’t mean they deserve to be ridiculed by 4chan bros.
KP: Yeah, it’s buying into the conversation. (AS: Yeah) With the parameters that are originally set by the image. So, as opposed to saying: Well, that’s kinda bullshit.
Um, let’s move on. Next one: “If it takes one hour to cook a batch of cookies and Cookie Monster has 15 ovens, working 24 hours every day every day for five years, how long does it take Cookie Monster to make six million batches of cookies?”
AS: Damn, quick math!
KP: Yeah, it’s beyond me. That’s why I’m a musician, because I can only count to four, so I’m gonna skip over this one.
AS: Yeah, I’m sure if I really wanted to I could probably sit down and answer that question, but right now it would actually take me quite a while, so I’m gonna pass.
KP: Yeah, we’ll pass on that one.
AS: I’m sure someone can come along with the answer if they really really want to.
[Kpopalypse’s note: thanks to the reader in the comments below for pointing out the “cookie monster” meme, which I wasn’t aware of. The above calculation is used by Holocaust deniers to “prove” that the Holocaust never happened, the argument being that given those processing times, there’s no way that six million jews could have been exterminated in the timeframe that Hitler’s Germany was in power and actively killing them. The calculation conveniently ignores that the gassing of jews wasn’t the primary method of killing – the majority of jews were killed by firing squad and then buried in mass graves or killed by other methods, this outnumbered the amount that were killed in gas chambers. Source (p. 875, 880)]
KP: Yeah. We’ve reached the bottom of the barrel. Here’s a Fuck, Marry, Kill question.
AS: Oh god!
KP: Scott Morrison, Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott *chuckles*
AS: Yeah, I think we already established the fact that I would rather, like, I’d be very happy to die in these circumstances. *chuckles*
KP: Yeah I think you could order them anywhere, it wouldn’t matter. *resignated chuckle*
AS: Um. It’s pretty much like the same thing, they’re all like a deviation of the one lizard in a human skin suit.
KS: *chuckles* Next: Why do you think Americans hate pineapple toppings on pizza?
AS: Cause they’re smart for once!
KS: You don’t like pineapple on pizza?
AS: Ban pineapple on pizza, it’s a disgrace!
KS: When I was growing up, there was never this stigma about pineapple on pizza (AS: Well, there should be!). Everyone used to like it. And then all of a sudden it became cool on the internet to not like pineapple on pizza and I must’ve missed the memo, cause I’m not sure when that happened.
AS: Not soon enough!
KP: *hehehehe – laughing* So what bothers you? Do you like pineapple without pizza?
AS: no. *laughs*
KP: Oh, that’s fair enough then. Cause I like pineapple in general, so I like it on most things.
AS: I’m a pretty fussy eater, so like I’m a fucking nightmare to be honest, but I just, can’t stand pineapple on pizza; very rarely can handle pineapple in general. I can handle it in small doses, like I might have a little bit of it, but in terms of being able to just straight-up eat pineapple – not the way I can eat other fruits, like for example: love watermelon, enjoy apples, enjoy bananas, enjoy oranges, enjoy quite a lot of fruits and like, can eat whole amounts of the fruit and whole serving sizes – can’t do it with pineapple. I also hate coconuts and avocado.
KP: Oh my god, jeez.
AS: Fuck avocado and whoever made that.
KP: What do you eat?
AS: Did I not just say banana, watermelon, oranges, apples, strawberries – I like strawberries! Strawberries are my favorite.
KP: U-huh. Cool. Noted. Um, how did you react to the strawberry scare a year or two ago where there were the needles?
AS: Ah, like: Please, let me get closer to death as soon as you can (AS: *chuckles). Sign me the fuck up.
KP: Next question. “Have you been keeping up with the Onision scandal?”
AS: Oh, I just saw that video of him having a mental breakdown and just laughed. So …
KP: Yeah, I will continue on. “Chris Hansen from ‘To Catch a Predator’ has gotten involved by interviewing all of his victims on his YouTube channel and is even contacting the FBI. They’re apparently in the works of launching an investigation, more victims keep coming forward and they all have come clean about he and his spouse’s” – he has a spouse? – “predatory ways of luring young girls to trust him, when they’re between 14 and 17 years old and immediately pressuring them into sexual activity once they turn 18.”
AS: Ew. Ew first. I mean, it’s textbook grooming, sounds like YG and his wife. Yeah, pretty much just – that’s a nice little summary of it. I remember in his little mental breakdown video he was like: “You tried to call the FBI! How’d that do? So you go for the Patreon!” – so, good to know that they’re going back to the FBI again.
KP: *chuckles* I didn’t even know who Onision was until I saw Blair White talk about Onision actually and I still don’t even really know what his claim to fame is.
AS: I just know that he’s a YouTuber of some sort and I’m not sure whether he was a gamer, well, I vaguely heard the name a few times during, like, Twitter stuff and seen his profile through that, and he’s always had, like, a reputation of being a creep and apparently I also saw something about, one of his exes, and that’s when I originally heard about the ex escaping an abusive relationship, so obviously, more things have come out since then.
KP: Well, here’s the next sport question for you. (AS: Yay, sports!) Yeah, wasn’t wrestling…”I know Kpopalypse hates sports, however I’m curious AustralianSana’s opinion on the current status of the figure skater, of Evgenia Medvedeva (as corrected by AS) and Russian figure skating as a whole. Her old training mate Elena Zagatova has just announced she’s going on a hiatus. A lot of people pretty much know this is her camp (AS: Yeah) and coach pushing her to retire due to her being 17 and not being able to keep up with all the 15-year old quad-jumpers (AS: Yup, yup). I personally think the situation in Russia is quite depressing, because they basically treat female figure skaters as disposable as soon as they reach puberty.”
AS: Yup. Yeah, so, the people who do follow me on the Twitter that is private – a lot of people will know that I’m a very big Evgenia fan. I’ve admired her for a very long time; I’ve been following her since, like, pre-Olympics and, yeah, I adore her. I love her very much and I just wish I could give her the world. I’m also a fan of the Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and I’ve been a fan of the sport for a while, so I know Michelle Kwan, I know Sasha Cohen is another one who I really, really like, and I like to figure skate as a hobby, but I’m pretty much mediocre at it, but I just love to go out on the ice and have some fun. In terms of Evgenia, what I really do love about her is the fact that she’s very resilient and – I just have to quickly google her age cause I think I’ve been a fan of her since she was like 18, which by Russian standards is like, you know, retire you hag. Um…Evgenia Medvedeva, let’s see…age – I know she’s in her 20s, she has to be, but she’s still quite young. She was born in 1999. (KP: So she’s 20) So I would’ve been a fan of her since she was like 16 or so. So, like, I recognized her as like a super talented figure skater and then the Russian – pretty much exactly like the person in the mention has summed up – it’s like: They train them and they drill the shit out of them until they’re like robots, but the training is not conducive with long-term sustainability.
KP: Why does this remind me of something else in particular? AS: Hmmm *Kpopalypse chuckle*
AS: So, I have a coach who I take lessons from and I asked her about this one session, and I was just like: How are these Russian athletes jumping quads? Cause there’s a new up-and-coming skater, I think her name is Trusova, it’s her last name, Alexandra Trusova, and I’ve done a quick few searches of her and she’s basically come unto the scene this year, like she’s just leveled up to I think being 15 and capable of competing in like the senior circuit, and I first heard of her when she was like 12 to 13, because she was doing quad jumps. As a twelve year old. Like, nearly a quad jump, and she finally nailed it when she was 13, something along those lines. So for those of you who are listening and have no idea what figure skating is: Quad or Triple or double refers to the amount of spinning rotations someone does in the air. So to do a quad jump means you take off on the ice and you spin around in a circle, like, in the air, four times before landing – and you have to stick the landing and there’s certain deductions that the judges will do depending on like the way that you land on the blade and whether you stumble etc. So, to do a quad jump as a female is phenomenal, because it basically hasn’t been seen in the sport, so Trusova was like probably one of the first women to land a quad jump and she was doing it when she was 12, so that was just like, how? So I chatted to my coach, I’m like: How is she doing this? And it’s all to do with the training system that they start them in. And like, Russian training, it’s almost the equivalent I guess of the South Korean education systems in their schools, where it’s like the most intense in the world – and it is absolutely not set up to set up for long-time achievements. Like, they will bust their knees by the time they’re 17, and they’re gonna have lifelong cartilage damage, lifelong ligament damage. So, in terms of the Australian skating scene, whilst I’m far from competitive, the rink that I go to has kids training for the Olympics, it also has an Olympian representative; I’ve skated a rink that has the Olympic representative from the 2018 games. Ah, how do I say it in a way that’s not offensive? Like, I don’t mean it in a rude way at all, but they’re nowhere near close to competing for gold. But, in the way that the system runs in the countries that are competing for gold, you wouldn’t want to be – because it would literally be the be-all and end-all of your life.
KP: Yeah, just fuck you up too much.
AS: Yeah, absolutely, whereas the kids that I see on the ice when I do my little trainings, like, they’ve obviously got parents who love them and care about them and there’s things in their future that exist beyond skating. As much as they do love the ice and dedicate their time to the ice, they have futures outside of it, or even futures within the ice that are long-term. So, unlike the Russians, skating can have long–term careers, so, the person who I take my lessons from, she was training for the Olympics at one point when she was like, a teenager, but she eventually pulled back from the competitive circuit because she wanted to have more of a life. Like, she wanted to date, she wanted to just do normal teenage things and she’s been very happy with her life since. And, I think at one point she was talking about doing Disney on Ice, so Disney on Ice is like a huge example of a career in the ice. A lot of Olympic athletes will have exhibition galas, even during events that are on the competition tours. Yeah, so it doesn’t have to be gold medal or nothing and in terms of Evgenia specifically, she basically got out of the Russian system right after the last Olympics, so when she competed in the previous Olympics – I think that was 2018 – she was the odds-on favorite to win gold, because she was like the world number one, she just won the World Championships and she was coming into the Olympics red hot, but she placed second behind the skater who you just mentioned is being forced into retirement who was another Russian – and that Russian at the time was two years younger than her. So she was devastated, because that’s what her whole life had been building up to, but the way that the Russian system works, there was a new kid on the block and the new kid had been doing things that she wasn’t trained in when she was in the machine, because it’s always about improving on the machine. So the new kid had a few more tricks in her routine, there’s points scoring in the way that the routines are set up, so if you land a majority of your jump towards the end then you get more points because for some reason that’s now seen as more valuable. Routines have taken a big shift from being about the artistry to being heavily scaled on the jumps and it’s always a balance to try and find the right amount between them because obviously if you scale it too much towards the artistry it’s far too subjective. If you scale it too much towards the jumps then it ruins the artistic side of the sport which it still very much is. So it’s all about trying to find that balance. So, right now it’s a bit more skewed in the jump favor, so the other contestant – and it was fair, so it’s not rigged – but she gained her routine so to score maximum points through the jumps at the end. (I know that Evgenia did have some at the end as well the same way, but it’s just she had more and that’s why she won the gold.) So, after she basically got her heart broken and was made to feel like she was replaced and useless in the Russian system, Evgenia then went to Canada, and that’s where she’s been training since. She’s been training under Brian Orser who is a very well-known coach in the figure-skating world; he also trains Yuzuru Hanyu. And I’ve just – from following her on Instagram, following her tweets, she just seems like such a happier person for it and I just, you know, I love seeing that, I love seeing someone fight back against such a system that’s set up to push you down and make you feel useless, and I love that she’s fighting back against that. Just, very unfortunately for her, she recently competed in a Russian event, but her boot broke, she had a sad, like, a devastating fall during a warm-up, so she competed in the short program but didn’t do too good because of the boot issue and then the long program was set up and she just felt she had to withdraw because it was too dangerous for her to skate the routine on the broken boot. Yeah, it was very sad, and like I just feel, you know, devastated for her in the sense that she put all that work into getting out of that system, did everything right, you know, got herself a new coach, got herself to a new country, and she comes back to prove herself to the Russian system and just the worst thing happened for her. So I’m just like, you know, it’s devastating; as a fan of her I can feel for her, but you know: I think she’s already proved herself in that system you know, she’s a World Champion and no one can ever take that away from her. She deserved her gold, but unfortunately it just didn’t come and that’s something I talked to my coach about as well in terms of the Olympics are only every four years, so you could be the best figure skater in the world, but by the time that two years comes – like, if you’re the best figure skater in the world, two years after the last Olympics, by the time the next two years come around again for the Olympics, probably someone else has come up through the machine that’s gonna be better than you by then. And it’s not a fault of her, it’s just timing. So yeah, that’s my massive rant on figure skating. *Kpopalypse chuckle*
As you can see I have passions besides kpop!
KP: Yes, just like the picture before, you know. People do like other things – amazing! Um, obviously I don’t have much to add to that, but obviously there’s certain parallels you can draw to kpop.
KP: Next question: “What do you think about the claim kpop fans make whenever kpop scandals happen about them being orchestrated cover-ups for juicier government scandals? (AS: I’m in on that) For example”…sorry?
AS: I’m hugely in on that conspiracy!
KP: You’re in on that one, you believe that one?
AS: A bit, yeah.
KP: Yeah, well, I know that people have noticed certain patterns…
AS: I think it was a lot more prevalent during the previous administration, and on one hand, like: I’m an adult and I do understand that many other adults do not give a shit about kpop in Korea, the same way that no one gives a shit about the Kardashians or Justin Bieber in the West, but likewise, the same kind of thing also happens in the West as well, it’s like, some shit goes down with Trump and Iraq, or Trump and Iran, or Trump says something and all; the country is on fire and Scott Morrison goes “How great is the cricket?” like, it’s such a huge thing that exists I’m pretty sure in every country where pop culture is a machine that’s used to distract from greater issues. And because it’s just such a constant turn of events and constant churn of ‘new thing to read about, new thing to care about, why did this person do this?’ it’s gonna correlate to when something fucks up with the government as well. So how much of it is actually a conspiracy with the government trying to release something deliberately? Versus: How much of it is a bit of a coincidence with what’s going on at the same time that the government is also in a scandal as well?
KP: I wonder if it’s changed a bit now because of Burning Sun in particular. Because, if you think about it, and, depending on how much you know, Burning Sun really is a government scandal. (AS: It is.) KP: There is also a kpop scandal, and the two are very much linked, you know.
AS: In a way, I feel like Burning Sun also kind of proves that the kpop is very much the sacrificial lamb for the government because, you know, if you look at how many names are coming out during Burning Sun, like Seungri is obviously the hugest one, then you had the two guys who ended up going to jail – I can’t remember the names off the top of my head and then you had the other people who were named in that group chat that were named and shamed, but, you know, all these names coming out are idols and actors, but where’s the names of the government figures? (KP: Yes.) But everyone’s too busy: “Where’s Seungri? Go to jail!”, which, by the way, I’m absolutely on board with – electric chair! – but, you know, let’s electrocute the government whilst we’re at it. Guillotine!
KP: *chuckles* Yeah, that’s the scandal that they may not have wanted to have more attention and what. Anyway, we’ll move on to the next. Alright, there’s two links here and the question is “Why are your politicians puppets of China?”
AS: Everyone’s a fucking puppet of China.
KP: Yeah, China trying to kinda run the world at the moment, have you not noticed, question-asker? (AS: Yeah) Ah, do I even need to link you these things? Probably not, but I will anyway. Um, here’s the first one. “Paul Canning on Twitter” (first link), “ASIO investigating reports of Chinese plot to install agent in Parliament” (second link)
AS: Yeah, “I heard that he was a 32-year-old Melbourne resident cultivated by the Chinese Government to run as a Liberal Party candidate in the Commonwealth Parliament…[and] now [he’s] dead.” Yeah, thing is: The person who replaced that supposed candidate is, I think the name is Gladys Liu and she was the candidate who then had those really shitty signs that were saying “This is how you vote in the election” that were designed and in the same colors as the Australian Electoral Commission (KP: Yeah) but they were actually Liberal Party propaganda signs in Chinese and that’s the person who replaced the guy who was supposedly assassinated for threatening to spill the beans on China trying to get its way in the Australian parliament, so hmm, yeah, pretty obvious that it was a pretty legit thing that, you know, he was gonna be a Chinese spy, and then he’s obviously since been replaced by another Chinese spy because Gladys Liu also has ties to the CCP.
AS: Like, it’s not even well hidden. Sorry.
KP: *chuckles* Yeah, okay, the second link’s really just about the same thing.
AS: Yeah, like, Gladys Lee was the person who replaced that candidate and she obviously committed fraud in terms of getting herself elected in in the first place, and then the Australian Electoral Commission just rules that as “not actually being against the rules”, and I’m like “aahhh it’s not deception, it’s just voter deception.” Yeah, it sucks all round but you’re never gonna get anything ethical under a Liberal government and as long as they’re getting the Chinese money they’re not gonna have anything to say about it.
KP: Yeah, when those posters came out, they were designed to look like Australian electrical, ooh wooh Australian electro…you know.
AS: Try saying that three times.
KP: What you said! Um, I actually launched a complaint with whoever the fuck that was, he’s launched a complaint, too, about electrical fraud and they wrote back to me, it was cool. But they of course said the ad’s legit. It was within the bounds or whatever.
AS: So now you know that was basically a result of the Chinese Communist Party trying to infiltrate Australian politics. The more you know.
KP: Next question. “Can you guys discuss a bit about Amber and the controversy with her statements on the Africa-American male arrested at a BART station for eating a sandwich. For context, BART’s a public transport train system in California and the police officer was originally there to apprehend some intoxicated individual but couldn’t find them, so he apparently targeted the guy instead. Also, people don’t give a shit about eating on BART.”
AS: Yeah, I’ve watched that video and yeah, it was a bad take to make, because she basically says something along the lines of “oh, but if he had respected the cop, he wouldn’t have been arrested” and I was just like “NO”. No no no no no no no no no – because obviously there are a lot of relationships between African-Americans and the police force, which is why African-Americans don’t have respect for the police and frankly with the amount they get shot and then no repercussions as a result I can’t really blame them for that. So yeah, it was definitely an ignorant take to make. The only thing I feel vaguely sorry for her about is the clipping of that little video because shortly afterwards one of the other people who’s on the program with her explains that to her and then she’s like: “Oh shit, I understand now” and I’m like, I’m sympathetic for you in the sense that you supposedly did learn after someone explained it to you, but I’m also a bit baffled in terms of we’re the same age, so I don’t understand how someone could be 27 and not really aware of African-American and police relations in the US – particularly as someone who lives in the US? Like, I’m Australian, and I know about it, and yeah she’s a kpop idol, but she was living in America before she became a kpop idol and she’s been back in America since, so it’s a bit hard not to know.
KP: It’s one of the first things I’ve ever found out about the US because when I was a teenager, you know, NWA “Fuck the Police” was big and Ice-T was big and Cop Killer was a big thing and you know, Public Enemy we’re talking about that sort of stuff as well. Back in the late 80s, early 90s you know, rappers actually had something to say, it wasn’t just all about money like it is now.
AS: Thank BTS though, for bringing back real meaning in rap music!!1!
KP: No. Um. (AS: *laughter*) So, yeah I was very well aware of all that stuff and the Black American point of view on it. I mean, obviously…
AS: Like, yeah, not to butt into you as well, but Amber was meant to be a rapper of the group as well; not that SM rappers really have that much credibility, but…
KP: Well, none write their own rap so they’re just talkers; they talk in time of the beat what their main tells them to say. Um, true dat, you know I got it (AS: well played) So yeah, I was always aware of it and I’m incredibly ignorant about all sorts of things in America, but I knew about that and I mean obviously I’m only getting it from the Black American side, but I know it’s been an issue for a long time and I considerably empathize with the black people who feel like they’re being picked on, because I’ve seen it as well. I’ve seen, like, it’s probably nowhere near the level in Australia, but I was in a mixed race band and we had Aboriginal members in the group. In Adelaide we never had any problems but when we toured up in Queensland, it was a different story. You know, when we check into hotels, like, it was me and the other white guy who was our audio engineer, we’d go and do the hotel booking and the black guys just stayed in the car cause they knew if they went and did it they’d get charged extra or they’d dock the paid deposit or they just would be refused. We saw a lot of racism up in Queensland and all sorts of weird things that just wouldn’t happen to white people. So, I saw like black guys getting moved on from the food court cause they’re playing chess, cause it’s like, if it’s two white guys in suits that would never happen, you know (AS: Yeah). So, you know, those things are real and they happen.
AS: Yeah, like, if you look at the statistics of the Australian population, I think Aboriginal Australians make up roughly 2%, but then if you look at the statistics on how much of them make up the jail ratios, it’s insanely disproportionate. Like, I think in the Northern territory, they make up 98% or something – just baffling.
KP: Yeah. So, those sort of things go on and we’re pretty aware of it down here. I would think most people with any sort of consciousness would be aware and Amber’s always been that person who’s sold herself as very conscious of these things. And I mean, I don’t really give a fuck cause I don’t really expect anything from these people, so it doesn’t really change my opinion of any of her music or even really her as a person, honestly, because I don’t really have any stock invested in her as a person anyway, so it’s just like “okay, this idol said something stupid, well, whatever, you know I will say stupid stuff every day. Who gives a shit?” So, I just don’t really care, but I understand why, you know.
AS: Yeah, I understand why that would be so upsetting to anyone, especially someone who was black in America.
KP: Yeah, especially if you had a bit of a hard on for Amber, you know, “here we go again”. So, next question which may be related – or may not be: “Could an argument be made to classify ‘Zimzalabim’ as a hate crime?”
AS: *laughter* God, that song is a fucking mess. I had it weirdly stuck in my head today, but for whatever reason it was, like, different variations of the word ‘Zimzalabim’ so instead of ‘Zimzalabim’ it would be like ‘Zimbabwe’ or what was it? Sheldon’s ‘Bazinga bing ballazing bing ballazing’ *both laugh* like it’s different random gibberish.
KP: It could be anything, couldn’t it?
KP: Well, people listening who read my stuff will know my thoughts on that song which I – that was one of the first two reviews I wrote – I always start revising my best and worst lists a month or two in advance, starting off with the stuff that I know is definitely gonna get in the list no matter what and I think one of the first things I wrote was the thing on Zimzalabim cause I was like “no way this is not getting in”.
AS: Yeah, I need to read your Worst of, I read your Best of; I agree with Apink %%, but I think that needed to be higher. (KP: Oh – tough.) That was on the best-of list, by the way, in case anyone’s getting confused.
KP: Yeah, I know you really like that song. (AS: It’s a great song!) It’s a good song. (AS: Fantastic.) Let’s move to the next question. “Hey, just finished listening to your last podcast and really appreciate how much time and effort you put into this.” *chuckling* They think we put in time and effort! Don’t tell anyone… “I’ve got two very different questions: 1. One of the things I found very interesting about the last podcast was when AustralianSana mentioned how the idols who took their own lives where all more progressive leaning. To me it seems like these celebrity suicides as well as these issues kpop has in general (slave contracts, beauty standards, expected work attitude etc.) almost put like a lens on the issues that Korean society as a whole has, showing a more extreme version of things that are already not going well. Viewed from that perspective, it would sadly make sense for idols who are seen as more progressive to receive more backlash from fans as well as possibly from within the kpop system for touching a sore spot. My question would be whether the kpop industry as a whole could be seen as a more conservative or progressive force within the Korean society. On the one hand, there are very outspokenly progressive idols and certain brands of empowerment have been sold very successfully so far, such as 2ne1 and BTS. On the other hand, neither fans nor industry seem to be willing to or at least capable of protecting artists from getting under fire or even just lowering the outrageous demands idols are supposed to fulfill. So what is kpop as a whole leaning to?”
AS: Yeah, that’s an interesting question. So if you’re after what kpop as a whole is leaning to, if they’re gonna bring up BTS as an example, I think they’re a huge example of the fact that idols can be progressive as individuals but then will be restricted by the machine when they actually start speaking out and gaining any actual power. So it was fine for 2013 BTS to be anti-establishment up to 2016 BTS, when that was the last time they’ve really actually had any balls in terms of speaking out against corruption. For those who don’t know, 2016 BTS released a song called “Am I Wrong?” and that is interpreted as being very political – it was like “Am I wrong about the whole world’s gone corrupt, everything’s gone crazy”. If you read the lyrics, it’s actually quite well-written and they performed that live on television which I happened to be in the audience for #humblebrag (Mnet Countdown). You can see me at the front~ Anyway, so, they perform that song on Mnet Countdown right in the middle of when public backlash was really starting to mount against president Park Geun-Hye at the time and she was also running an active blacklist on anyone who dared criticize her regime, so that was the last time BTS was actually political. Whereas nowadays, because they’ve actually become such a huge group and have all this influence, they’ve been totally leashed and restrained and put under the government’s thumb since – what’s his name? – Moon Jae-In has become the president since. So, you know, they were very outspoken against the conservative corrupt president which is why I really got into them because fuck yeah! Fuck the establishment, especially conservative establishments. Now we’ve got a center-left president, suddenly that’s just all died in them and I would say that Bang is majorly responsible for that because he seems to be really in cahoots with this president. Like, if you look at all the “Bang Shi-Hyuk shakes hand of Moon Jae-In” articles that exist everywhere on google and if you do a quick google search of BTS and Moon Jae-In, you get like link after link after link after link of all the different events that they’ve spoken to, received congratulations from, shaking hands with, received gifts from, and it’s like: “Okay, so you’re basically being bribing them to shut the fuck up and support your administration”. And of course Army’s buy into it, it’s like: “Ah, look, the president likes them, the president supports them”. Yeah, presidential support when you’re meant to be anti-establishment isn’t really cohesive. So, I would say that the kpop sphere is all about presenting this image of Korea to the world through Hallyu, so of course the government is going to try to play a major role in shaping what that image is, and Korean culture and society is still…I don’t wanna say regressive because that could come across as being quite racist and that’s not my intention at all, but society-wise it is still quite a few years behind in terms of societal issues such as racism, sexism, misogyny, things like women’s rights. (KP: So, regressive, in other words? *chuckles* ) Yeah, I know…I’m being that kind of white person – but this is also what I’m hearing from Koreans themselves. Like, I volunteer a a church (I know, I’m surprised I don’t get struck by lightning every time I walk through the doors) on a regular basis to help tutor English to people who don’t speak English as a first language, so that’s my way of trying to use my privilege to help other people, and there are a group of Korean ladies who I speak to at the church and we have our morning tea together. The first time I met them I was basically introduced by someone that’s like “Oh, this is Hollee and she’s studied in Korea!” and we had a chat that was very similar to this in terms of you know, “Why did you move to Australia? What things do you notice are different? Why are you interested in Korea if you’re an Australian?” and I talked about things like me studying over there, me witnessing politics first hand over there because I was there in the middle of an impeachment scandal and I asked them about their perspectives of Australia. A lot of things in Australia are more progressive in terms of women’s rights, and in terms of children being able to enjoy their youth, and go to school, and then actually have time outside of school, and not just be trapped in like a system that’s all about grades, and nothing else but your grades otherwise you are worthless as a person. I’m trying – because I don’t wanna be too critical, there are many wonderful things about Korea and I loved living there and I totally do want to visit again – but kpop presents this very polished image of Korea as a country and it doesn’t really have much room for social criticisms in terms of, like, things such as those rights, whereas Hara and Sulli, especially as women, were very much on the receiving end of a lot of that kind of bullying that were to do with misogyny in Korean culture. In terms of Sulli with her no bra movement, Sulli was very feminist in a country where feminism is still perceived as being a very dirty word and I think that even in Western cultures, feminism still does have a bit of an “Ugh, white feminism” and “oh, you’re a feminist, oh, you hate men”, but in Korea it’s at another level, really. Like, Irene reads a book on feminism and she had people burning her photo card for it. Naeun from Apink had like a caption on the back of her phone case that says “Girls can can do anything” and she had all these hate comments on her Instagram because she took a selfie in a mirror or something and then people realized: “Girls can do anything? What are you trying to imply? Are you suggesting that men can’t do things? Oh my god she’s a crazy liberal feminist!”
KP: If girls can do anything, why aren’t they being drafted?
AS: Yeah! That kinda thing. So, if you are I guess interested in kpop more than just that polished little sphere, you can tell – like, precisely Irene’s situation, Naeun’s situation – that things are definitely not as progressive socially as they are in terms of technology. Because some of the technology that comes out of Korea is some of the best in the world, but in terms of societal issues like women’s rights they’ve still got a long way to go (and obviously the West still has a long way to go as well – you get the gist of what I’m trying to say) .
KP: Uh-huh, yes. I think that any arts field generally tends to attract progressive people, just because if you have any sort of desire to do music or art then you’re generally a creative person and creative people kind of exist by trying to do things that are new or trying to reinterpret things in a different way, which is very much the definition of progression in the more literal definition of moving forward as opposed to conservatism, which is like trying to keep things the way they are. But as an industry, kpop is certainly one of the most conservative that I’ve ever come across, certainly in terms of behavior, in terms of people being quite willing to accept the status quo basically play the game. There’s not a lot of questioning that goes on. I mean, people sometimes think that I’m conservative, I’m not sure why, but the fact is that if kpop was more progressive my blog would be much less controversial than it is (AS: Uh-huh) because people would be used to that idea of questioning authority and of questioning what they see and of trying to look at things from a different way and being able to be satirical. All those tings are aspects of progressivism I think, or progressive thought, you know, not just taking everything so seriously and having a white suit & tie approach. So I think kpop is very conservative in that sense. It’s the sort of shoehorning of very progressively minded people into very conservative requirements which I think creates a lot of the angst that some – a lot – of the more progressive stars and also probably a lot of the more progressive fans feel. (AS: Yup.) Yeah, I’m not necessarily talking about left-wing vs right-wing slinging match, I was talking about the way people think, if that makes any sense.
Now, this person had a second question as well, um: “As Australians, have you watched the Al Jazeera documentary ‘How to sell a massacre?’”
AS: Yes, well, that’s all to do with Pauline Hanson and then the One Nation Party and then they went to America and were basically trying to receive donations from the NRA in order to loosen Australia’s gun laws.
KP: I haven’t seen this documentary, but I’m very well aware of it cause when it came out it was on national news. “If yes, what’s your take on it? Both content-wise and in terms of how the story was investigated.”
AS: Look, I think it’s valid because as someone who knows a bit about Australian politics and the One Nation Party I think anyone would be able to tell you that the conservatives in Australia do want relaxed gun laws and that is something to be deeply embarrassed about because our gun laws are what keeps us safe – whilst Americans unfortunately still have to deal with basically like that ‘Onion’ article that comes out every time there’s a mass shooting. “Country that has regular mass shootings that says there’s nothing to be done to prevent mass shootings – as only country that has mass shootings.” Like, why do we wanna go in that direction? It’s baffling and it’s insulting that they would willingly try to participate in doing that.
KP: Yeah, for those around the world without context, One Nation Australia is kind of (AS: Tea Party!) Yeah, I guess they’re a bit like Tea Party in the US or like UKIP in Britain
AS: But they’re like, a redneck Tea Party.
KP: And they generally…I mean, Pauline Hanson got s start in the Liberal Party which in Australia is conservative (AS: That’s a fuck-up of the word ‘liberal’) and she got kicked out of that party for being, you know, too racist basically.
AS: Which is a pretty big accomplishment if you consider just how racist the Liberal Party is here.
KP: Yeah, one of the bands I’ve toured with up in Brisbane, a punk band, they had a song called “Fish and Chips Bitch from Ipswich” which actually was a big hit on the independent radio up there about the time that Pauline Hanson first emerged and was very controversial – before she got locked up. Anyway, so that’s the context of that and I mean, gun control in Australia has bipartisan support, but One Nation is so far on the fringe of Australian politics of actually don’t like gun control and that’s actually quite rare here which is good I think.
AS: Yes. Well, speaking of that there’s George Christensen who I’m pretty sure is – like, he’s in Queensland (not much of a surprise in that regard) – but, isn’t he part of the Liberals or is he part of the Nationals?
KP: Oh, I don’t even know. Same difference.
AS: Yeah. But like, there is an Australian politician who is not One Nation but is like, supposedly from the more ‘center-right’, but he is very much in favor of relaxing gun laws. I guess that’s an example of how Australia doesn’t have a left and right like people tend to think we do, it’s very much a center-right and a hard right party these days.
KP: It’s interesting because the conservatives are the ones who actually brought in the gun laws here. (AS: Yeah.) and it’s widely considered to be the best thing that they ever did during that particular term. Moving on: “Please talk about how fans complain so much about lines, can make people dislike the” – I guess we’re talking about line distributions, not cocaine.
AS: At last!
KP: “Please talk about how fans complain so much about lines, can make people dislike the idol that the fans keep asking lines for. For example, I like Jeongyeon and Chaeyoung from Twice but every time I see them I remember about the stupid fans that are always like ‘oh my god, Chaeyoung unni didn’t get one minute’s worthy of lines in this song!1!! JYP is so evil, she should get more lines than Nayeon and Jihyo, this is so unfair to my baby!’”
AS: I guess like Twice is a huge example of that because they’re a group with nine members, so if you’ve only got a song that has three minutes and then considering the fact that…
KP: Someone’s gonna get fucked in the arse if you got nine members in a three minute song.
AS: Especially given about how much of a three-minute song is like an instrumental as well. Yeah, you know, of course as a fan of all nine members of Twice I would like to see more line distribution rather than just the same members getting the majority of each song but then at the same time it’s like, that is the kpop machine in terms of: groups have positions and you’ve got your main vocalist and your lead vocalist and certain songs have certain ranges and I’m pretty sure Jeongyeon has more of a lower range whilst Nayeon and Jihyo are higher so that’s why they get more of the lines because a lot of Twice songs are very much in a higher pitch. So, I can get why certain fans – I get both sides of the coin in the sense of like, yeah, I get if you’re a fan of an idol who is not getting very many lines and you’re gonna be like “Oi! I’m buying these CD’s and my favorite member is barely appearing in the CD what gives!” but it’s like also, you know: at what point does it become insulting to the other members and Yadeeyadee yadda I guess. I guess it’s hard to draw an exact line on where it is to be rude an offensive to the other members of the group.
KP: I don’t think it really matters much.
AS: I think they’re all getting paid or not getting paid the same amount.
KP: Yeah, I mean you know the ones who get the most singing are probably the ones who probably would rather sing more anyway most of the time. I mean from the information that I’ve had from people who have actually debuted in kpop or tried to, is that they’ll deliberately specialize. So, if you’re a dancer, they’ll try and make you a better dancer, if you’re a good singer they’ll make you a better singer and they won’t focus on the dancing and so on. So obviously, if you got specialized people and some people have singing more in their comfort zone, then it makes sense to give that to those people and the ones who would rather dance or they look good, then that’s what they do.
AS: I think Chaeyoung is an example from that person who talked about Twice. She’s in an interesting situation because she’s a decent rapper, especially by girl group’s or JYP group’s standards I guess, cause they’re not necessarily as rap based. And their groups don’t have as much of a reputation for featuring rap in their music as well though quite a few boys do. So, when Chaeyoung has rapped, she’s written the majority of her rap verses, and, you know, without sounding like I have smoke up my ass because frankly I’m not exactly the first person you’d really think of as a rap critique, but I think she has a decent understanding of rap ability in terms of flow, in terms of lyrical skills; in terms of delivery I wouldn’t call her like, you know, the second coming of Jay-Z, but I think she’s got potential in what she does. Of course, I would therefore like to see her have more lines, but, you know, in a group concept like Twice it might be a difficult way for her to get that. So then I guess other things come into it in terms of solo projects or mix tapes or maybe a solo albums or just like free songs that are put on Soundcloud. So I guess in terms of that, personally I’m not as fussed about line distribution in songs, as I am about an opportunity for the idols who want it to be able to have access to the creative freedom to do outside projects. Like, I guess that’s what I would advocate for.
KP: One thing that I’ll ask you about – this is something for me – is that after I spoke to you, maybe last time or the time before or something like that, someone noticed that you’re very interested in idols who write their own music or get the chance to write their own music and they also noticed that I had a post from years ago talking about how when you think your idol writes their own music often they don’t write their own music.
AS: Yep, I have read that post.
KP: Yes. So, when you’re making those sort of determinations, how do you know?
AS: Well, the short answer is I don’t, but in terms of what I’m talking about in my little fantasy land where everything happens in a way that I approve of, I guess I like the idea of idols who have that interest just being allowed to go into the studio and have some form of creative control and creative direction. So obviously, like this isn’t a perfect example because I’m not in the studio with them, so I’ve got no idea what’s going on and anything that someone says that’s approved by a company to be published can never be taken at face value because it could obviously just be a fluff piece to make the company look good rather than what the idols are actually thinking, but something that vaguely matches this would be Gfriend. So Gfriend talked about one of their most recent albums and they don’t necessarily have writing credits per se, like I don’t think they’re listed in the production or the lyrical content but they would say in an interview that they were involved in terms of the creative style and the direction of the album, so like they had a say in the vibe that they wanted the songs to have, or the tone of of what the song wanted to have, or the direction. So hypothetically, assuming everything in that statement is 100% true, I like that idea of just even being able to have input and if that’s the level that Gfriend wants to have, and then they get to have that, then I think that’s a good thing; I think it potentially opens doors for them to continue and find out what part of the creative process they gain the most enjoyment from being involved in. So, I’ve always believed that idols can be artists and it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of music production although that is obviously a valued skill and I wouldn’t talk down about anybody who’s capable of doing that because I sure as hell am NOT. But to contrast that in the West, I would use Britney Spears as an example. Britney Spears has very minimal songwriting credits to her name but she is widely regarded as one of the greatest pop performers of our modern era and I personally as a fan consider her an artist from the way that she’s able to bring her songs to life. Anybody can record a demo, anybody can go up on stage and sing a song at karaoke or what have you, but Britney as a whole package has been able to sell her songs, sell her music and I guess that’s like going off on a massive sidetrack in terms of the “free Britney campaign” and what’s that cost her in her personal life and there’s a lot of tragedy in regards to that, but in terms of speaking of artistry, I think that artistry can come from other aspects of music and the whole package and idol music is much more of a package in terms of choreography, videography, photography, performance, that doesn’t just have to be from the song itself. Sometimes it can even just be picking the genre that you want to do. So, if an idol wants to learn music production – happy to see them in the studio and learning, and even if it’s only one line in the song that they start out with, and hopefully that leads to better things for them in the future which I think Shinee’s Jonghyun would be an example of that in terms of: He originally has always wanted to write, but SM always told him: “You have to be as good as any of the actual producers that we’re hiring and bringing in from overseas or Kenzie for us to put you on a record.” So he was rejected and rejected until eventually he became good enough that he started getting his names and credits. And you could argue that maybe he only wrote the one line just like Kpopalypse says sometimes idols do, but then by the time that he’s writing music for other artists and self-composing his own entire albums, then you get to a point where you really do know that it’s him putting in that effort by the end. So, it depends on the level of experience they have to start out with, so using BTS as another example, Yoongi was already a producer before he started working for BigHit, so that puts him on a much better capability to have involvement in his music process.
KP: Yeah, there are certain cases where it’s more obvious there is some sort of input going on and there’s other ones where it’s like, well, they probably just tag the name on and maybe they’ve got to change the color of the box.
KP: There was another question which is very similar to the one I just asked which was just about the point of roles in kpop groups, we’ve sort of already covered it, but the one thing they did ask was is how that’s changed in the last couple of years. Well, how do you think it’s changed, or: has it changed?
AS: I mean, I think it’s changed a little bit in the sense that it’s not as labeled overtly as what it used to be. So, if you look up a girl group or a guy groups profile, I know any time I did that in, say, 2013, you would immediately get like official profiles which would then say from JYP himself or SM: Visual, sub vocalist, lead vocalist etc. Whereas these days, I don’t think it’s as specifically labeled, like, you might get it on a fan-made profile but maybe not necessarily the official ones. Like, I know that Blackpink doesn’t have a leader; whereas a lot of groups tend to have a leader, Blackpink doesn’t. I don’t think 2ne1 had one either, actually. Like, you’ll always have our maknae, a majority of times you’ll have the leader who’s just the oldest member of the group, although in Twice’s case that’s Jihyo so there’s always exceptions to the rule. I just think, for example, if you’re talking about vocalists, if you use Woollim as an example, or Infinite, there were very much ‘sub vocalist, main vocalist’. Woohyun and Sunggyu, where one’s the main and one’s the lead, whereas I think nowadays if you’ve got that kind of group position, they’d both be on equal terms. So: maybe, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself an expert on the topic either.
KP: Yeah. I mean, what you’re saying rings true, it’s not something I’ve ever really paid much attention to. I guess I’m really out of the loop with a lot of those sort of conversations. As soon as people start talking about who’s who I just fucking tune out on that shit. I don’t really care. I don’t really care about it – if the song is good. (AS: Yeah.) Last question, this is the last one for this episode. This is from the person who asked bout long lines and how it made people annoyed when fans when fans had kept on about it. “Another topic I think would be cool of you to talk about is when fans get mad at an idol passing because it made the comeback of their bias group get delayed. AOA had a comeback this week and their showcase got delayed because of the Hara situation. I saw so many fans saying that Hara was selfish and that she made AOA’s efforts go to waste.”
AS: Puh. Well I think that’s kind if a contributing factor to why idols kill themselves because they basically feel like they’re only a product.
KP: Yeah, that right there just sorta shows you exactly what idols are up against when it comes to how people are perceiving them.
AS: Like, if Hara has taken her own life the fact that’s it affected AOA’s comeback is supposedly more of a tragedy…
KP: You gotta wait two weeks!
AS: “Please refrain from killing yourself until next comeback.”
KP: Yeah, it’s pretty fucked up. Like a lot of things are fucked up.
AS: A lot of things!
KP: But, yeah, it’s some fucked up shit. I mean, I didn’t see any of those comments, but then I don’t really have too many idiots on my feed.
AS: Yeah, probably helps that you blocked pretty much a lot of Armys as well.
KP: Yeah, I blocked about…ten thousand Armys and then all the Twice fans got upset at me cause I did interview with the German stalker dude, so I blocked another few thousand and that was it? *chuckles*
AS: Yeah, I mean my block list is over a hundred thousand, so: can relate!
KP: Yeah, it’s getting to the point where some of friends will post some random kpop news thing and and half the comments, I can’t read them cause I’ve blocked them. Like, oh gee, what a shame!
AS: Save yourself some brain cells.
KP: But hey, if anyone wants to get unblocked all you gotta do is, you know, talk to a mutual and, send me a PM and I’ll unblock them. Hasn’t happened yet – so be it. Thank you once again for sharing your time and talking to me about stuff – much appreciated!
AS: Yeah, it’s funny how like a few that came up today were things that I’d lately been thinking of, for example the bathroom question, and then also Zimzalabim being stuck in my head and then funnily enough just this whole segment that we do, cause I was like: “Oh yeah, I hadn’t done one of these in a while.” I think I might have been thinking about that like two days ago whatever, so that ended up all coming together.
KP: Cool, that’s good. Alright, I’ll see you next time and people can submit questions as usual. Please submit stuff and if you’re upset, or happy, or whatever, about the feedback and the direction of the questions, then, well, you’re in control, listeners, so just send us something.
AS: Yeah, I’m always happy to hear feedback as long as it’s constructive, so when I do these things I don’t intentionally try to piss anyone off as much as some people may think otherwise, so if you do have criticism, by all means, feel free to inform.
KP: I think most people who actually would sit through an hour and a half of us rambling on would probably be reasonably mentally together (AS *laughs*) and would probably give us reasonable feedback, I think.
AS: Yes. I’d like to think so.
KP: I mean I’ll be really happy with the quality of the questions, generally speaking. And even the troll ones are at least funny. *laughs* (AS: Yeah.) All good. All right, no worries, thank you for the chat and we’ll meet again for another podcast at a time to be determined.
AS: Yes, and also a side note: Thank you to whoever does the constant work of transcribing these little chats that we do because they go for a long time, I can’t imagine the amount of effort that’s actually involved in having to…well, I can imagine because I did do transcriptions of a couple of uni projects a few times and I know there’s a lot of work involved. So, to be doing that for free without being us, it’s just something that’s happened for all of them so far – super appreciative of the work that’s involved in that.
KP: I’m very appreciative – cause I did the first six or seven ones before, and fucking oh, it’s a lot of work. Cause you talk quick as well and I probably talk a bit funny, so we’re probably not the easiest people to transcribe, so we do appreciate what you do. You know who you are. *both laugh* So, thank you and – see you next time.
AS: Yes, thank you.
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