Geoffrey, can you come in here for a minute?
Geoffrey, I’ve got this problem. It’s about Gangnam Style.
- Gangnam Style is huge! Don’t tell me you’ve got a problem with Gangnam Style.
Well… I mean, it’s well-produced. And I get that it’s supposed to be humorous. But like, I don’t know anything about the Gangnam District. I’ve never been to South Korea. I don’t speak Korean. So when I watch the video, like, I feel like I’m missing most of what’s going on.
- Why should that matter? Did you see the SNL sketch?
Yeah, and I don’t think that really addressed the issue either. That sketch felt like they were basically saying, “we don’t know why we like it either but we’re onboard the bandwagon!”
- Why do you always have to be such a contrarian about big hits?
Because from everything I’ve read about it, Gangnam Style was created as a satire of conspicuous consumption — the point of which is to say something like, “you know how materialistic those people in Gangnam district are, with their expensive coffee and whatnot.” But like, I don’t know. And unless the rest of the US suddenly became well-versed in Korean culture overnight, I kind of suspect that this is the largest-scale occurrence ever of people laughing along at a joke they don’t get in order to avoid the awkwardness of having to ask someone to explain it.
- You really are the world’s biggest buzzkill, you know that. Isn’t it good enough to call it WTF Asia and leave it at that?
No. And that whole WTF Asia thing is kind of racist if we’re being honest. The whole idea is predicated on the assumption that what passes for normal in Asian countries is bizarre here, when the fact of the matter is that if something from an Asian country looks bizarre to us, chances are it’s bizarre in its native country too, but now it’s just removed from its original context.
- What’s wrong with losing context?
Everything, Geoffrey. Every god damn thing.
- Only you could manage to take the most popular thing on the planet, and then tell everybody they’re appreciating it wrong.