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Sun, December 5, 2021 | 11:30
Resistance to violence in Korea
Jinu sees himself as a humble musician who focuses on providing solidarity to those suffering from oppression, violence, and health problems. This week he spoke to me about his experiences and why, as an individual, he has decided to try and take a stand while no-one else will do so. He describes having seen firsthand young hired thugs ('yeongyeok') and police carry out acts ...
Twitter or television?
Stephen Fry suggested this week that “social media is a lavatory wall.” Essential, capable of providing anonymity and security when we need it most, yet basically surrounded by a load of old crap and home to glory holes and spycams.
Neon Bunny: A new Korean cosmos
Music needs space. Claude Debussy, Miles Davis, and many others knew this. It's not always what you play; it's the gaps, the intervals, the meditations and the silence between the noise that really resonate. Nothing is louder than silence.
The metaverse as capitalist nonsense
I don't want to live in the metaverse. Multimillion dollar companies' insistence on intoxicating us with sentimentality, hooking us on disposable simulated emotions, ubiquitous visibility and the hyper-clarity of a digital world are the themes of innumerable sci-fi novels and films and they never have a happy ending.
Cultural appropriation: Inside and out
Last week I sat down with Yu Jung-ahn (Daisy), a former member of the K-pop group Momoland, for a chat about life inside one of the world's most talked about industries. When our conversation was eventually released as a podcast, two things immediately became clear. First, the adoration fans around the world have for these idols is tangible and genuine. Second, these idols, d...
Foreigners, Halloween and xenophobia
About 10 days ago, I began seeing local television news warning viewers that COVID-19 infection numbers would increase during Halloween, claiming that foreigners would be in Itaewon partying and not respecting the nation's social distancing guidelines. The narrative being constructed was unambiguous and early. It was also playing into ready-held stereotypes and beliefs. This ...
North Korea outlives America
Governments, nations, borders and cultures flow in and out of existence. They emerge and flourish amid waves of hope and triumph. They perish as bodies age and congregations decline. Some fade into irrelevance while others suffer unimaginable tragedies. Thus has it ever been: the stark inevitability of the human experience. The forever rise and fall of nations.
Music and the lost future
No one is really bored anymore. We always have a phone. We are connected at all times. A digital world of our choosing at our fingertips. Now even 90 seconds waiting in a line has most people reaching for their pocket rather than suffer the crippling anxiety of existing next to someone. No one is bored, but everything is boring. Content is content-less. A 10 second TikTok. An...
What is morality in 21st-century Korea?
In many ways, we are the first real people to exist without any answer to the question of what we're doing here or, more importantly, what we're meant to do. Secularization and the increasing absence of religious authority have left many modern citizens grappling with existential questions. Worryingly, this situation leads some to conclude that the only answer must be a retur...
'Squid Game': Linguistic realities
For good reason, “Squid Game” is dominating headlines and streaming charts. It's an exquisitely made, claustrophobic thriller which brings to light the underlying economic struggles of Korean life in the 21st century, with echoes of “Battle Royale,” “The Hunger Games,” “Saw” and more. Lee Jung-jae rekindles the fabulous star power he demonstrated in 2019's “Chief of Staff,” a...