Tag Archives: William Hung

PSY And The Acceptable Asian Man

By Guest Contributor refresh_daemon, cross-posted from init_music

 The song of the hour.

So, by now, pretty much everybody who covers Korean music and a batch of mainstream international publications have had something to say about PSY’s “Gangnam Style”, which has, as of the writing of this post, had over 190 million views on YouTube, become an internet sensation, led to Psy getting airplay over the radio in some larger metropolitan cities in the US, and even got him signed to the record label that represents Justin Bieber. And while everyone I know that follows Korean music knows PSY, even my friends and peers who otherwise don’t care a thing about Korean or Asian media know about PSY and holler “Oppa Gangnam Style” along with him.

Much has been said about the viral sensation, breaking down the best moments of the video, examining whether or not this is a boon to Korean music’s attempts to break into one of the most lucrative music markets in the world, and some pieces even went deep into the actual meaning of “Gangnam Style.” And I was happy to let everyone else talk about “Gangnam Style” and its place in our world…except that I still have yet to read an article that hits one particular reason why I think “Gangnam Style” is so acceptable to Western audiences when every Korean and Japanese pop artist that tried to make it in America before has failed.
Continue reading

Props: William Hung

by Guest Contributor Bao Phi, originally published at the Star-Tribune’s Your Voices

William Hung

Let me tell you, I have an almost supernatural (some would say neurotic) capacity for remembering the most embarrassing moments in my life.  Walking into a women’s bathroom by mistake when I was about 7 years old and lost at the mall, crying for mommy. Bursting into tears of hunger at Taste of Minnesota when I was 10.  In 4th grade I sat next to one of the few other Asians I saw at a class assembly because I thought she was so friendly, cool, and cute – then being told I couldn’t sit there because it was for student council members only.  I can’t remember my own parents’ birthdays, or which days to put out the recycling.  But that time I walked face-first into a brick pillar in broad daylight on a busy shopping day?  Yep.

My extreme discomfort towards public embarrassment is why I avoid reality television like the plague.  I don’t get any pleasure or joy from watching humiliating public spectacle, even when it doesn’t involve me.  Shame is something I have in spades, but is not something I enjoy.

Shows like American Idol are horrifying to me.  Because if someone embarrasses themselves or does poorly, I feel terrible for them.  However, I’ve been watching the pop phenomenon in recent years because my partner, who doesn’t enjoy reality television either, happens to enjoy watching American Idol: not to laugh at people, but because there’s always a chance that someone unique, and with genuine talent (hello Adam Lambert) will make it on the show.  I’ve been trying to watch it with her.  It’s only fair.  If I ask her to watch trash like Ninja Assassin and Iron Man, I can suffer through some bad singers and mangled songs with her.

Someone I always think about when I watch American Idol is William Hung.  A Berkeley student, Hung auditioned in 2004 with a pretty terrible rendition of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs. Even though I wasn’t watching much television at all during that time, I couldn’t escape the notoriety of this pop culture disaster. Continue reading