Sunday, October 31, 2004

Image over Substance


I finally had a chance to see the Ashlee Simpson debacle on Saturday Night Live (we get the show a week late in Korea). Pretty damn funny. Here’s a link to the video.

Here’s a summary of the story if you haven’t heard about this yet (and give a rat’s ass). Basically, due to a computer glitch or a drummer pushing the wrong button, it was revealed that she had a “guide vocal” recording that she either sang along with or just simply lip-synced to. The wrong song came up and the vocals started while the microphone was nowhere near her mouth.

What makes this great is that not long ago she made the following quote, as noted in an article in

Apart from the fact that the Simpson girls, being massively hyped, are hugely obvious targets, the greatest source of Schadenfreude was a remark Ashlee Simpson made to Lucky magazine, in which she insisted that she would "never" lip-synch. "I'm going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around," she said.

Well, “just stand there and dance around” is about all she did before fleeing from the stage (here's a good video of what happened after she left the stage).

This is all yet more proof that the music industry in general is less and less about the music and more and more about pretty faces and image.

Here's Ashlee and her true "talents."

Nowhere is this more true than in Korea (well, could be worse in Japan). As I have mentioned before, mainstream music in Korea is pure image and zero talent. Almost all the big acts were manufactured by recording executives. There are precious few bands and singers that write their own music and were signed based on proven talent after struggling and developing their craft over the years.

And now it is biting them in the ass.

With more and more artists sounding exactly alike and putting out music that gets old in about 2 weeks, fewer and fewer people are buying their CDs. Most just download the music for free from the Internet and their cell phones.

CD sales have continually dropped over the past few years. Sales dropped 7.7 percent in 2001, another 31.4 percent in 2002, and further dropped 31.2 percent in 2003. Those are extremely alarming numbers.

More from a joongang daily article.

The total cost of releasing an album, including production and marketing, runs from 300 to 400 million won, according to Mr. Kang. These days, he says, it's hard to get a return of even 100 million won, even for albums made by established musicians.
"We're about to be standing on heaps of debt," Mr. Kang said.

According to Reuters, 95% of all music retail shops in South Korea have failed over the past 5 years.

Noticed any music retailers go out of business lately? In my case, 3 out of the 4 shops that I pass going to work each day have closed in the last year.

I have listened to music over the internet before. Perhaps I am just the “old generation” now, but when I hear something I like, I go out and buy the CD, even though I know I could download it for free on the Net. I want money to go into the pocket of performers and musicians that “rock my world.” I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks and acts this way.

Koreans, though, are just ensuring that the next generation of “musicians” are worse than they are now. For musicians in Korea to make money, they need to get on TV shows and commercials. This requires good looks more than anything else, so now the music industry is even more image conscious than they were before (which was already pretty god-damned bad).

So, flush the future of Korean music down the toilet. I’ll keep my old Seo Tae Ji and Kim Hyun Sik CDs as a reminder that Korea at least used to be capable of producing talented musicians and song writers before bands like H.O.T and the Korean music industry fucked things up.

Meanwhile, back in the West, when poseurs like Milli Vanili and Ashlee Simpson are exposed, it is our job as concerned world citizens to hound them into oblivion and send the music industry a strong message to keep talentless performers to a minimum. “Pop” music has always been a parasite that threatens to infect the music industry in general, I know. But there needs to be strong pressure on the music industry to “keep it real” as much as possible or otherwise it all becomes a beauty contest.

You know me. I like my musicians and performers good and ugly.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ding Dong Daeng!

A post over at Buddae Chiggae turnedme on to this excellent article on the problems of the South Korean liberals from Sogang University Professor Shin Ji-ho.


A snippet that I thought was most interesting:

Q: You’ve also claimed that the progressive intellectuals, including those politicians with NL faction backgrounds, who have participated in the current administration were “split-ego patients.

These are people who completely deny the fact proven by world history -- that ‘industrialization-first, democratization second’ was the right way to go. They show contempt for industrialization and economic development, claiming that while it’s important to eat, what’s more important is democracy and human rights. Yet when you ask them about the North Korean human rights issue, they say the most important human right is the right to survival, and employ the logic of, ‘Mustn’t North Koreans first make an existence for themselves? Wouldn’t it be O.K. for democracy and human rights to come later?’ The logic they applied to past authoritarian regimes in South Korea and the one they apply to the totalitarian regime in North Korea are contradictory 180 degrees.

The hypocrisy of the Korean left exposed, and it ain't pretty. Here's more:

Prof. Shin called Korea’s current political landscape an “anachronistic alliance of 20th century ultra-conservatism.” He said Korea’s central political axis is made up of the Uri Party’s ultra-conservative leftists who will share in North Korea’s fate, the ultra-conservative rightists of the Grand National Party who have yet to get their heads straight, and the reactionary leftists of the Democratic Labor Party who are trying to turn the wheel of history backwards. He said, “In order to set Korean politics straight, we need a conservative revolution in which a reformed conservatism appears to replace the old ultra-conservatives.” Shin explained:

“Historically, we could evaluate the Park Chung-hee period well, but the Park Chung-hee model will not open the door to the era in which the nation enjoys a US$20,000 per capita income. Now, we must proceed along the model of liberalism, which emphasizes small government and civil vitality. For this, we need not a conservatism attached to simply vested interests without creed or content, but conservatism full of philosophy and soul. Only after this conservative revolution and an administration change to the right can the Korean left undergo sincere change.”

This is the kind of thinking and movement South Korea desperately needs. Hopefully, this kind of professor is more common than retards like this one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Fucking USA

Great little video of the anti-American song "Fucking USA" that was the unofficial theme song of the anti-US hatefest of 2002. It's from the Rob Pongi website which is pretty damn entertaining.

Is it just me? Or does this sound like one of those songs that bad garage bands make up on the spot after going through a second case of beer?

I did a sort of "fisking" of the song lyrics and emailed it to a Pro-north website (no longer exists) that posted the lyrics in hopes of an angry reply. Never happened, much to my bitter disappointment. The following post is from the old site, so some of you may have already read it, but since my hits have tripled since setting up the new Pooper site, I thought it would be good to post it again for all my new readers (all 6 of you).

From the Kuguk Chonson site ( (link dead)

Reportedly a south Korean pop composer Yoon Min-sok has recently composed one after another several anti-US pop songs such as "Laudable Cake", "Fucking U.S.A.", "Toari(tittle-tattler) Bush" in reflection of the daily rising anti-US sentiments of south Koreans.
For instance of the song "Fucking U.S.A.", Yoon was motivated to create it by a scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. In the short-track speed skating, a south Korean skater Kim Dong-seong won one of the races, but the gold medal went to a US skater due to the unfair decision which was adopted by the judges after the US's highhanded behavior.

[Could that "highhanded behavior" be explained in detail? I guess I must have missed it, because it was my understanding that the judge, an Australian, made the decision completely on his own IMMEDIATELY after the race was finished. Dong-seong had barely had time to grab the Korean flag and give it a few waves before the decision was announced. Perhaps they just assume that all us "whiteys" are in cahoots anyway]

The South Korean media described the incident as "extreme national humiliation" and "contemptuous", saying that it was “an event that disgraced national dignity of the Korean people" and a "violation that surpassed the September 11 terrorist attack on the US". Thus a "Get back the gold medal" movement was formed, e-mails were sent in protest of US arbitrariness and a boycott was declared against US goods.

[Wow, it surpassed 9/11. And we know it is true, because the SK media said it, and as professional and responsible journalists they would never be biased and overly-emotional in their reporting. This is just too silly to be worth further pooping upon]

Since Yoon's songs are well reflecting the agitated anti-US, anti-Bush feelings of the people, they are in full vogue now in South Korea. The songs are chorused in places of anti-US mass rallies and even pupils of primary schools ask for their lyrics and strains.

[Hey, that's great that you are teaching your children to hate. The Palestinians and Israelis have been doing that for the past 30 years and it's really paid off well for them. Just make sure you get the children when they are very young and do not have the maturity to form their own views yet. You wait too long, and they'll start thinking for themselves and will be more resistant to illogical hate-mongering.]

Among them, the lyrics of the song "Fucking U.S.A" follow:
“Fucking USA”

[let's go through the lyrics line by line, shall we?

1. Did you see the short-track skating race?

[Yes, about 1000 times by a Korean media hell-bent on stirring up anti-American hatred. Oh yeah, nice selection of camera angles. We'd hate to show all of them to the Korean public and make them confused as to whether the call was good or not]

A vulgar country, fucking U.S.A.

Are you so happy over a gold medal?

A nasty country, fucking U.S.A.

[No, we are not particularly happy. As a matter of fact, I think most Americans, 30 seconds after the event was finished, could have cared less if Ono had won that medal or not. Why? Because it is JUST A GAME! Have you ever asked yourself why one game is so important to you that you have to expend all this energy whining about it?]

Such as you are, can you claim that the U.S.A. is a nation of justice?

Why on earth don't we say what we have to?

Are we slaves of a colonial nation?

[In answer to the first question, yes we can, more or less, thanks for asking. As for the following questions, no, you are not slaves and, unlike your brethren to the North, you can say anything you like, no matter how idiotic. Aren't you happy that you have this freedom? Isn't it great that North Korea was prevented from taking over the South by US and UN forces so you can act and think as you like?

Yes, you are welcome.]

Now we will shout: "No to the U.S.A."

A wretched thief, fucking U.S.A. that stole our Olympic gold medal

A wicked robber, fucking U.S.A. that tries to rob everything by force

[My God, ONE controversial call in the Olympics made by an Australian that didn't go the Korean's way and the US becomes a "wretched thief." What kind of maturity level is this? Why don't you just get a T-shirt reading "My life is so pitiful that my entire sense of self-worth depends on whether or not some Korean I have not nor will ever meet wins a stupid skating game"? (a little long, might want to put it in Chinese characters).

And how exactly did we take it "by force?" Did someone have a gun to that Australian judge's head? Was his family held hostage in the basement of the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple under threat of execution if he didn't give the gold to Ono?

By the way, if you'd like to get an accurate picture of how childish this whole thing is, log on to some discussion boards with Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards and bring up the 2002 World Cup. Listen to them whine about how SK "stole" the World Cup for a few hours. Then you will BEGIN to have an idea of how ridiculous and baby-like you sound. Sad thing is, as childish as they may be about it, they are not anywhere near those South Koreans who go to the length of demonstrating, making death threats, and sabotaging websites.]

2. Did you hear Bush's reckless words?

A shameless country, fucking U.S.A.

It makes war threats to the north as well as intervention into the south

A country of gangsters, fucking U.S.A.

[Bush called the North Korean dictatorship an evil regime. Perhaps unnecessary, perhaps counterproductive, but who is going to say that it isn't true? Free speech and thought is crushed and millions of North Koreans have died due to systematic starvation and brutality, while Kim Jong-il and his posse let their belts out one more notch to accommodate their bulging bellies. And they didn't even say, "thank you" to all the money and rice that SK et. al. gave to them that went to keep the elite class and military in high spirits. Dude, that may not be evil, but it certainly isn't proper etiquette.]

Is the U.S.A. still a beautiful country?

[Yes. I highly recommend a visit to some of our national parks. You won't regret it. Many parts of the US have four seasons too]

Is the north still an "enemy" to be killed?

[No, unless you are one of those strange people who think it is NOT ok to let a government continue to brutalize and kill millions of its own people while the SK media diverts our attention by showing us more pictures of the amazingly happy NK cheerleaders.

Oh yeah, you might want to tell the families of the 6 SK soldiers who died in the naval battle in 2002 that the north is no longer an enemy either, I think they might be a little confused. The million man NK army currently in "forward positions" to invade South Korea might need this clarified as well]

How much more do you want to endure?

[Are you talking to the people who have to listen to this inane propaganda? Are you talking to people with rational minds who have to listen to your absurd bullshit day after day? In that case, our answer is, "no mas, no mas." You've already proven to us very well how retarded you are. Really, it's enough.]

It's time to shout: "Yankee, go home!"

[There's an evil part of me that would love to see just that, just to see your pitiful faces when your economy collapses and North Korea rolls in. However, I know you are in the minority in South Korea, (it’s even your “progressive” government that you elected that is begging us to stay, just in case you had forgotten). I know that the majority of South Koreans are nowhere near so stupid as to want this. For the sake of those South Koreans who have a balanced view of things, I hope you do not get your wish]

You dirty Yankees, wait and see

We will reunify the country with the independent force of the Korean nation

We will build a dignified country, a reunified country

[Ok, we'll wait, though it's still unclear as to how you will pull off this unification without military conflict. Oh wait, that's right, the Sunshine Policy will "melt" Kim Jong il's icy heart and he'll turn out to be a jolly old lovable teddy bear. I bet he even gets his own Children's Show on MBC after he willingly steps down from his "presidency" and turns all power over to "Our Party." The show will be called, "Dear Uncle Kim and Friends," and every show will have the children sing him songs praising him for bringing peace and dignity to the Korean people (and inventing Chocopies and Starcraft, of course)]

Don't forget the blood-stained history of Korea!

[You mean the Japanese occupation that was ended by the USA? Do you mean the blood of 10's of thousands of Americans and soldiers from other western nations who prevented South Korea from the fate that North Koreans face today? Ok, I'll be sure to keep that in mind. You might want to remind President Noh though. Judging from his speeches on Korean Independence Day, he seems to have forgotten the tiny role of the US in Korea's independence]

You, author of Korea's division, fucking U.S.A.

[yes, we certainly are. So sorry about that, but we were under the impression that South Koreans actually wanted to live in a democracy and prosper. Had we known the truth, we would have just allowed you to be unified under the glorious leadership of Kim Il-sun and Kim Jeong-il. Our bad!]

Don't forget the Nogun-ri massacre of civilians!

You, murderer, fucking U.S.A.

[wow, for a second I thought you'd get through the whole song without a legitimate complaint against the US. I agree, this should be thoroughly investigated and properly dealt with, while all the time we keep in mind that in the big picture it was an isolated event, still not clearly examined, and obviously not the intention and general policy of the US at that time.

By the way, during your exhaustive research of past American military crimes in the Korean War, be careful or you might stumble across information related to the slaughter of thousands of Korean civilians by South Korean soldiers who suspected they were allied with the north. If you dwell on that too much, it might make the American atrocities look very small in comparison. We wouldn't want that.]

Friday, October 15, 2004

Captain Howdy Files

The following were first posted on the Korean Herald forum by one "Captain Howdy." The good captain is a dear old chum of mine whom, if memory serves, I first met while trying to contact the spirit of Rob Pilatus (the day the lip synced music died...) on a ouija board I bought for $7.95 at Toys R Us (fun for the whole family! Ages 8 to adult, candles and fresh blood of virgins sold separately).

Occasionally "El Capitan de Holla" will kick back one too many peach flavored Hichu beverages and will get on the Korean Herald forum and run in an amuckly fashion. Few if anyone (save the completely lovable and insane Forgotit) respond. Pearls good captain, pearls...

After a particularly bizarre exchange between Captain and Forgotit was censored by the forum monitor, I begged the Captain to save whatever he wrote and send it to me to be posted on this blog.

And so he did.

I tell the Captain to start his own blog, as he so often threatens to do, so he can tell people "what they really want to know about Korea." However, he's worried it will cut into his "whoremongering" time so it is not yet to be. As a service to my beer drinking buddy/spiritual advisor I'd like to post some of his choice offerings to perserve for prosperity.

1. In response to a post titled: "Where's Bin Laden?"

We Got Him!!

Well, we weren't supposed to tell you yet, but at this very moment there is a small squad of tough, gritty soldiers bringing Bin Laden back to the US.

Here's how it happened.

Bush personally puts together a handpicked force of men, headed by one colonel Razer, to go in and get Bin Laden. Bush tries to sneak onto the plane himself and join the unit, but an alert Cheney sees through his disguise and convinces him to stay behind. "Just like before in 1972, George, you'll be serving your country far better by staying here in America." A very reluctant George Bush admits that Dick is right, just like he always is, and gives the troops one last pep talk before they head out for Afghanistan.

Here's the cast:

Johnny Goodseed: Johnny is from the Midwest and joined the Special Forces after his fiancee (Grace) and mother died in the 9/11 on the plane that hit the Pentagon. He's a handsome, square-jawed young man who comes from a long line of patriots. Johnny assumes head of the special forces unit when Colonel Razor is gunned down by Taliban rebels as he tries to rescue a young Afghan farmer girl from being stoned. Jonny doubts his ability, but he puts his trust in God and Country to see this mission through.

Marco Gonzalez: Latin-American communications specialist who also brings along some spicy latino music to keep things hoppin. He's good with a knife (aren't they all?) and has a great scene where he gets a pretty young Afghanistan woman to ditch her burqua for the first time and he teaches her to tango. Muy caliente!! He's newly-wed, and finds out his wife is pregnant with their son just before departing on the mission. Naturally, he's the first to die.

Jimmy (Jimbo): Explosives specialist. Jimmy's a straight-shooten good ole boy from the south who loves practical jokes (usally involving explosives and/or chickens). He scraps it up some with African-American Jackson (see next), but in the end sacrifices himself to save Jackson's life by throwing himself on a live grenade (oh the irony!). With his last breath, he grabs Jackson's hand and says, "You know, I was wrong to hate you black guys. From now on, I hope people like me will just hate the sand-niggers instead." They embrace, and then Jimbo dies.

Jackson: No-nonsense, tough talking African American Ranger and Johnny's right hand man. He dies in the last scene when Bin Laden, whom they thought had given himself up, pulls a wicked 3 foot long scimitar out of his turban and sticks Jackson in the back.

This leaves Bin Laden and Captain Johnny Goodseed to duel it out to the end... mano a mano!

It all ends when Johnny wrests the scimitar away from Bin Laden and gives him four mighty blows with his fist and boots, one for each of the 4 planes that Al Queada hijacked. Bin Laden is whimpering on the ground, pleading for his life like a Korean hostage, as Johnny raises the scimitar for the coup de grace. Finally, Johnny checks himself and says, "No, no martyrdom for you. You're going to rot in prison for your crimes!" Bin Laden wails in despair as he is dragged away...

It's really cool, and it keeps open the possibility that Bin Laden might escape so Johnny can go get 'em one more time!

2. In response to a post titled, "Korean Women"

Gookbender: I don't know about you all, but I just love fucking all these gook bitches. What else they good for but taking it hard and deep?

Captain Howdy Reply:
Now, though to the careless reader this post might appear to be the work of a self-loathing individual lacking the benefits of even a rudimentary education, I assure you it is not.

To understand the beauty of this simple but powerful text we must look for the underlying message that only a deconstructive analysis a la Derrida can tease out.

I would expound on this issue in detail, but it would probably be lost on all the readers here who lack the years of rigorous study and training in critical theory of literature that I have amassed. Suffice to say, the text should be read as a powerful condemnation of post-modern existentialism and the futility of imposing order and meaning on an inherently chaotic and meaningless reality.

Oh yeah, and the author is probably gay too.

3. (for some strange reason, my favorite). In response to a post on fishing in Korea

I went fishing once when I was about 7 with my dad. We were fishing in the boat and we didn't catch anything so I started playing with the worm can and accidentally dropped it in the lake. My father got really pissed and accidentally hit me with an oar and I fell in the lake, which was not good because I had refused to wear a life jacket (it chafed my chin; I have very tender skin) and three summers worth of swimming lessons at the YMCA hadn't really paid off as well as one might think they would.

After a few minutes of splashing around my dad finally rowed over to me (he was pissed because I was scaring all the fish away) and dragged me back in the boat and took me back to camp. I wish I could say the story ends there, but while I was struggling in the water I swallowed a lot of lake water and it made me really sick that night and I had bad diarrhea and couldn't really hold it until I got out of the tent. I wasn't wearing any clothes since they were all still wet from the lake water so I sprayed it around the tent pretty good I'm afraid.

Anyway, we laugh about it now