Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Imagine your country cut in half

for fifty years, and then you take the first tentative steps towards reconciliation with a nice concert featuring performers from both countries. So your half of the country, the half that remained sheltered from the outside world, hosts the show. And the other half of the country sends one of their biggest boy bands. But they come out dressed all sloppy with what appears to be women's makeup on, screaming things in a foreign language and singing like some kind of Bollywood act, basically confirming everything you've always said about them, that they are under the negative influence of cultural imperialism from X country and that they've lost their way.
You don't have to imagine it anymore. Here it is. South Korean boy band Shinhwa in Pyeongyang, North Korea.


KristinKC said...

What a F-ing nightmare.

Joe Mondello said...

Is the nightmare that they changed, or how they changed? I myself am still split on this one. I think anything that one considers the same becoming 'the other' is usually pretty disturbing.

KristinKC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KristinKC said...

The nightmare I referred to was twofold. It was a nightmare that Shinhwa was even selected to play in Pyongyang, and it was a nightmare to watch the North Koreans in their hanbok sit through a K-pop performance. The looks on the women's faces made me wince.

The question you posed is pretty interesting. I tend to try to understand both sides of an argument and make as little judgement as possible. I respect the societies of both Koreas and don't consider it a bad thing that they are so different. But watching that video made me feel like the two Koreas are not at all ready to become one anytime soon. And that is a somewhat sad yet not a surprising revelation.

Joe Mondello said...

I don't think either Korea is at all ready for reuniting. Psychologically I mean.

Check out this SNL video of Nancy Pelosi which I think does a reasonable job of approximating the shock that you're talking about.