Japan’s indifference to ‘Gangnam Style’ riles S Korea

maybe the song sucks. being number 2 on the U.S billboard is proof of that

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SEOUL —

While South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has taken the world by storm, it has largely fallen flat in Japan—an anomaly viewed with grave suspicion by some in the singer’s home country.

Korean K-pop music is huge in Japan, but for one reason or another Japanese music fans have remained relatively immune to the seductive powers of Psy and his horse-riding dance.

In South Korea, there has been speculation that a bitter territorial dispute over contested islands may have caused Japanese fans to shun the song.

While the number has topped the UK charts and currently sits at number two on the U.S. Billboard ranking, it has only scraped into the top 30 of the Japanese iTunes chart.

To make matters worse, various Japanese music blogs have suggested that the video’s success on YouTube—530 million views and counting—was down to South Koreans using automated viewing programs known as “bots.”

Some even started playfully referring to the song as “F5 Style”—a reference to the keyboard key used to refresh the window of an Internet browser.

On Monday, the Korean Wave Research Institute (KWRI)—a non-profit body established in 2010 to “aggressively” promote Korean popular culture around the globe—hit back.

Denouncing the “conspiracy theories” of YouTube chart manipulation, KWRI president Han Koo-Hyun said the “outrageous” Japanese argument was “tantamount to doubting a world record in an Olympics marathon.”

Skepticism about the song’s worldwide popularity on YouTube “should be viewed as a primary school kid’s jealousy and envy”, Han said in a press release.

Not content with defending the success of “Gangnam Style,” Han launched a vitriolic attack on the only Japanese entry in YouTube’s chart of the 30 all-time, most-viewed videos.

Currently ranked 29th with more than 237 million views, the video shows a young Japanese woman engaging in the popular Internet meme activity of dropping some mentos candy in a bottle of diet coke so that it sprays soda everywhere.

Mocking what he described as the “most grotesque and preposterous content” on the entire chart, Han said it was “another lowly example showing the video-related preference of the Japanese.”

Several reasons have been suggested for “Gangnam Style’s” lack of success in Japan, including the fact that Psy didn’t follow the path chosen by most K-pop stars of releasing a Japanese-language version.

Colorado State dining halls now serve Halal meat

Colorado State bowing down to islam

 

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Jasir Mayat was excited to move to Colorado from Pakistan a few months ago to attend CSU as a freshman in the College of Business.

When Mayat, a student in the INTO program for international students, read a statement on the CSU INTO website that said a dietitian would be there to work with students who follow a halal diet, he interpreted this to mean halal meat was served at dining halls on campus.

However, Mayat arrived at CSU and found that halal meat was not yet offered, despite other halal options such as vegetarian and seafood dishes. He sprung into action and approached CSU Housing and Dining Services about introducing halal meat to CSU dining halls.

Halal meat will now be served at the Parmelee dining hall starting Monday.

“We knew this was coming, given the INTO program,” said Peter Testory, senior executive chef for CSU Housing and Dining Services. “Jasir was the first student (to approach us), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t already on our program.”

Mayat explained that Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permitted” or “lawful.” Halal meat is the only meat Muslims are allowed to eat, based on their Islam religion. It refers to beef and chicken mainly, as pork is forbidden in Islam. Seafood is considered Halal, with some restrictions.

According to Mayat, an animal used for Halal meat must be killed by a Muslim, who is required to say an Arabic phrase that means “in the name of Allah” while slaughtering the animal.

The animal must be killed by severing the jugular vein so it becomes numb and doesn’t feel much pain.

“Because we go for the jugular vein it’s considered one of the most humane ways of slaughtering an animal,” Mayat said. “In Islam we have a very high regard for animals and we don’t like inflicting pain on them.”

For the meat to be Halal it also must be free from contamination from alcohol or pork when being cooked and all the blood must be drained completely from the animal before it is consumed.

“After I came here and found out there was no such thing (as Halal meat in dining halls) I was pretty worried about it,” Mayat said. “Especially considering there’s a lot of Muslims on campus, from all over the world.”

According to fall 2012 data from the Institutional Research Factbook, out of 1,133 total international students at CSU, there are 39 students from Kuwait, 165 from Saudi Arabia and 6 from Pakistan, all of which are primarily Islamic countries.

“I wanted to introduce Halal meat so other incoming Muslim students and Muslim students already here on campus would have easier access to food,” Mayat said. “I wanted to do something good for my community, for the Muslim community in general.”

To get Halal meat introduced on campus, Mayat was hired by CSU Housing and Dining Services to survey about 100 Muslim students to find out if there was enough demand.

“This student approached us and we reacted immediately by hiring him to work for us and help us find the need for it,” Testory said.

Mayat’s surveys found that 26 Muslim students on campus practice a halal diet. Many of the students responded that they eat haram (unlawful) meat currently because of the lack of protein options and that they would eat halal meat if it was available.

Housing and Dining Services felt this was adequate demand. Halal meat will be substituted into the regular Parmelee menu on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch and dinner, according to Testory. These days were chosen because they are the weekdays when there are no Halal seafood items already available on the menu.

Halal meals to be offered upon request in Parmelee include barbeque grilled chicken breast, cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, chipotle chicken sandwiches, sweet chili Asian chicken wings and more. The same outside vendors that provide dining hall meat also provide halal meat.

The Corbett dining hall also features halal options which currently do not include beef or chicken. Some of these options are mozzarella cheese sticks, red beans and rice, baked cod with lemon, grilled Portobello mushrooms and more.

“We’re pleased that this particular INTO CSU student was among those who made their dietary requirements known,” said Avery Waxman, senior director of marketing communications and recruitment strategy at INTO, in an email to the Collegian.

“And that CSU Dining Services has been able to respond in a way that not only meets their needs but also gives other students and staff even more options from which to choose,” Waxman said.

Testory said CSU Housing and Dining Services currently offer other religious food options. For Jewish students they provide apples and honey during Rosh Hashanah and matzah during Passover.

Fish is offered on Fridays during Lent for Catholic students. For the Islamic holiday Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, CSU Housing and Dining Services allows students a takeout container, two meal swipes at breakfast instead of one and late night meal swipes.

 

 

Viewer Descretion advised

 

 

 

 

Familiar ad trope: Pairing white men and Asian American women

in racist Hollywood Asian women only exist to be the sex slaves, sex objects, love interests, sex toys, etc for the white man

 

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Balding hipster-nerd brings his demure girlfriend to his boys’-night-out poker game. Girlfriend looks like an easy mark. But as the game unfolds, she’s not what she seems. Shedding her prim blouse and headband for a tight tank top, sunglasses and headphones, she turns out to be a smooth operator. “Bah-zing!” she says triumphantly at the end of the spot, laying down a hand that wipes the guys out.

This scenario, from a new TV spot for Ruffles Ultimate chips, amusingly busts one stereotype (women can’t beat men at poker) but subtly reinforces another familiar ad trope. The boyfriend: Ordinary looking — and Caucasian. The girlfriend: Beautiful — and Asian American.

White guy and Asian American woman. Now where have we seen this before? Actually, a number of places:

●Chevrolet this summer featured an Asian American woman playing second fiddle to her Caucasian husband as he haggled with a car dealer (“Good job, baby,” she coos as hubby seals the deal).

●Heineken imagined an exotic date in a commercial last year that paired a Caucasian guy with an exotic companion (Samantha Rex, a Thai American model-
actress). Together, they cavorted through a nightclub filled with colorful characters.

●Apple touted its iPhone in an ad in which a white soldier watches rapturously via the phone’s FaceTime feature as his very pregnant wife (Asian American) undergoes a sonogram.

Asian Americans have gained a presence in commercials in recent years, with companies such as McDonald’s, Verizon, AT&T, Wal-Mart and others featuring them as individual characters and in a variety of settings.

But when it comes to depicting couples, the portrayal goes mostly in one direction: White guy and Asian American woman. The combination may be the most common depiction of mixed-race couples in popular culture; African Americans are rarely glimpsed with white mates in TV shows or commercials, for example. It may even be more common than an Asian American man paired with an Asian American woman.

And it’s a sore point among some Asian Americans.

A coalition of Asian American activists, known as the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, has “regularly” raised objections to the image in meetings with studio and network representatives, says Bill Imada, chairman of IW Group, a Los Angeles-based ad agency. “It seems to be okay if the man is white and the woman is Asian. The community thinks it typecasts Asian women as exotic or as playthings.”

At the same time, Imada says, “Asian males are just not viewed as being lovers, as being manly enough, or sexy enough, to carry a story or a commercial. The idea is that they’re not strong enough to woo a white woman. So they don’t get the roles” and are rarely paired with women of any race.

Ads featuring Caucasian males and Asian females play off a long history of such portrayals, says LeiLani Nishime, a professor and Asian studies scholar at the University of Washington. “I think part of the comfort with those images comes from the way they affirm a lot of stereotypes we already have about asexual Asian men and sexually available Asian women,” she says.

 

Such relationships have been the star-crossed heart of dozens of movies (“Shogun,” “The World of Suzie Wong” and “The Joy Luck Club” to name three), a recurring feature of numerous TV shows (“Ally McBeal,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Gilmore Girls” and the new “Elementary,” with Lucy Liu), and a theme of Broadway musicals (“South Pacific,” “Miss Saigon”). Decades earlier, it was even the basis of an opera (“Madama Butterfly”).

In TV news, the pairing of an older white man with a younger, Asian American, female co-anchor has become so familiar that some in the news business refer to it as “the Connie Chung effect.” Chung was the first Asian American female to co-anchor a network newscast (with Dan Rather) in 1993.

 

Depictions of white American men with Asian women increased with American military involvement in Asian countries, first during World War II and then during the Vietnam era, said C.N. Le, director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Movies typically presented Asian women as exotic and sexually alluring, he said, although the portrayal wavered between the dangerous and conniving Asian female (the so-called Dragon Lady stereotype) and the passive and submissive character (the geisha or concubine). Asian men, by contrast, weren’t just the enemy of the Americans; they were the oppressors of Asian women, who relied on the American as her “white knight.”

“It’s a very powerful media and cultural image, and I think Hollywood still runs with that,” Le says. “It appeals to a core part of the audience — white men.”

Le says that audiences more readily accept the Caucasian-Asian pairing than black-white romantic relations, which have a much longer and more fraught history in America. “There are still a lot of unresolved issues regarding” black-white relationships, he says. “The perception is that there isn’t as much of a drastic difference” between Asian Americans and white Americans.

Frito-Lay says it had nothing more complicated in mind than to create an entertaining commercial when it produced its “Bah-zing!” spot. The PepsiCo subsidiary markets the snack product primarily to young men, so it was natural for the ad to depict “some bros hanging out, sharing an epic experience,” as spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister puts it.

The boyfriend and girlfriend weren’t cast with any specific person or racial identity in mind, Kuechenmeister says. Instead, “we went with [actors] who brought the characters to life.”

Given that Asian Americans were once overlooked altogether in advertising, the current spate of Asian-Caucasian pairings may represent a kind of progress, Le says.

In fact, these contemporary interracial couples are different from those of the past, Nishime says. The key difference, she says, is that the relationship is presented as “normal,” without the prejudices and cross-cultural baggage of the past. Except for the Heine­ken ad — in which the Asian American woman is portrayed as part of a strange and exotic world — the women aren’t the foreign or “mysterious” Dragon Ladies, Nishime notes: “In most of these commercials, the relationships are fairly mundane.”

Imada sees change coming, albeit slowly. In the “Harold & Kumar” movies, he points out, the title characters (who are of Korean and East Indian descent) have non-Asian girlfriends. And on “The Walking Dead,” the post-apocalyptic drama series on AMC, a running plotline is a romance between a young Korean American man and a white woman over the objections of her father.

But Imada, an advertising man, thinks TV commercials, rather than movies or TV, will show the way toward more imaginative and broader representations of Asian Americans and other minorities. He sees an increasing number of non-white ad-agency creative directors and corporate marketing executives, and a strong business rationale: Asian Americans constitute about 5 percent of the U.S. population, a demographic that marketers will ignore only at their peril, he says.

A small but telling sign: McDonald’s this year aired a spot in which a young Asian American guy turns to his white, red-headed girlfriend and blurts, “I love you!” Seemingly stunned by the remark, she hesitantly replies that he’s “the Egg McMuffin of boyfriends.”

It was a rare instance, and may have been the first, in which a TV commercial reversed the usual Asian and Caucasian roles.

Progress, in any case, Imada says.