Sunday, March 29, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Gangnam Style’ reinforces cultural role

decicco column sig

By
From page B1 | November 02, 2012 |

Roll the clock back six months and tell me that a South Korean K-pop artist was going to have one of the biggest hits of 2012 and I would have said you were a few tracks shy of an album.

Turns out the joke’s on me. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has racked up more than 600 million views on YouTube, making it one of the streaming video service’s most-watched clips of all time. It’s so hot, it actually went up another few million since you started reading this sentence.

The odds against “Gangnam Style” dominating American attention spans are astounding. It’s a song written for a foreign audience and sung almost entirely in a language other than English.

If you could foresee that being a big hit, you were probably telling people last century that the 2012 presidential election would come down to a Mormon and a black man, but more on them later.

While the song is catchy, much like other YouTube phenoms before him such as Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain” and The Rubberbandits’ “Horse Outside,” the furor around “Gangnam Style” is the video.

Psy goes over the top in lampooning the lavish life of Seoul, South Korea’s, Gangnam district, comically amplifying it by doing the song’s signature “horse riding” dance on boats, in stables, on rooftops, across streets and in subway stations.

Still, there are many instances when we appropriate “Gangnam Style” and other foreign works for the purpose of laughing at them.

That’s a weirdly familiar role for Asians in American culture. Look at Ken Jeong’s character in “The Hangover” movies or our shameless willingness to laugh at “American Idol” entrant William Hung, both of whom play the role of an Asian man who doesn’t fit into some sort of prescribed code of behavior for his race.

Psy is perfectly cast as the “silly Asian man” in the “Gangnam Style” video. It may be a less harmful or offensive role than other stereotypes not worth repeating, but it does, nonetheless, reinforce one.

What’s genius about “Gangnam Style” is its appeal to an American audience. We don’t even need to know what the song is about – poking fun at those in the Gangnam area and those who try to emulate them, if I understand correctly – to “get it.”

Don’t take the “Gangnam Style” video too seriously. It is funny and Psy knows that, but there’s a part of me that suspects – the scientific word for having no proof, but going with my gut feelings – that it would not have racked up more than 600 million views on YouTube if it’d been created by a white American pop artist.

Rock the vote

Everyone knows using facts and issues such as the economy, foreign affairs and Big Bird are pretty much a waste of time when it comes to picking a president.

The best way to do it is by learning what’s on his – or, hopefully some time in my lifetime, her – iPod.

Our defending champion is President Barack Obama, who brings with him an all-star cast of favorites, including Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, Miles Davis and more.

The GOP, on the other hand, seems unable to catch a break, musically speaking.

After naming Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorite bands, the group’s Tom Morello said vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was the “embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.” Ouch. Though that must sting, it’s not hard to picture Morello saying the same about Obama or Biden, too.

More recently, Brooklyn indie rockers The National got feisty when “Fake Empire” was appropriated for a Republican Internet commercial decrying the Obama campaign. Add Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Silversun Pickups to the list of musical Mitt Romney rebuffers as well.

The Killers responded a bit more diplomatically to Romney’s endorsement earlier this year, with the Las Vegas band’s bassist Mark Stoermer saying, “Anyone’s allowed to like us.”

In an interview with Parade magazine, Romney also noted a fondness for the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Aerosmith and Alabama, so he has a fairly wide swath of artists he enjoys, too.

But whether it’s the donkeys or the elephants you endorse, as long as you vote Tuesday, that’s the important part.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3, 5 Comments

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics