K-pop: A fad or will it stay?

Oppa Gangnam Style!

By: Marina Ignatyeva

Ever since “Gangnam Style” went viral on Youtube, the South Korean rap star Psy skyrocketed into U.S. super stardom. He brought the spotlight onto Korean pop, otherwise known as K-pop, which has already been massively popular all over Asia. The funny video, the crazy horse dance and the fact that the catchy dance song is performed by a fat guy in an outrageous suit appealed to the American public, which has a long history of loving bizarre Youtube videos. Korean media and Psy’s entertainment company, YG Entertainment (one of the biggest and most influential companies in Korea and Asia), hail this as a victory for K-pop, and that Korean artists are crossing over to the U.S. market after years of trying. I think this raises the question of just how permanent this success is.

Korean artists had been trying to debut in America for years. In 2005, R&B sensation Rain, who starred in Ninja Assassin, tried to debut. He even appeared multiple times on the Daily Show, and had funny dance offs with Stephen Colbert. After him came the pop princess BoA, who is a huge star in Korea and Japan, and Seven, another popular solo artist. All three of them released songs that were aimed to be similar as the American music at the time, and all three of them aimed for the sexy dancer/powerful vocalist image. All three of them reached only very limited degrees of success. A more successful debut was by the Wonder Girls, who opened for the Jonas Brothers on their 2009 tour. They managed to be more popular than those before them, and even released a recent song featuring Akon. However, at the end of the day, the majority of Americans did not even know that K-pop existed.

If tailoring to the U.S. market did not work, what does Psy’s success means? I believe it reflects that the U.S. Youtube users discovered a hilarious video that went viral. To most of the viewers, K-pop is “Gangnam Style”. It does not matter that Korean music is very broad, or that there are better songs than Psy’s hit. They do not try to understand the lyrics, nor do they care that Psy has been releasing songs with deeper meaning and better sound since 1993. In a sense, Psy had locked himself up in a very limited song type, and he will have a very hard time diversifying without losing his success. This probably means that K-pop is a fad, but only time will truly tell.

Stephen Colbert discusses America’s Financial Victory, Confederate History Month, Crazy Commercials and Gay Animals

This host is tough as nails

Stephen Colbert opens his report with a newsweek cover, he then probes into the slavery side of Confederate Month, leads a conversation about fast-food in afghanistan and cupcakes in Germany, before finally wondering if nature could ever be gay.

To kick it all off, the host holds up the NewsWeek cover that displays the words “America’s Back!” over a patriotic background. He supports the celebration, happily announcing the news that the Dow Jones closed above 11,00 for the first time since September 2008. And even though he isn’t quite sure what that means, his trusty financial advisor, Gorlock, assures him in a new book, “To Serve the Investor,” that it’s best for Stephen to just “relax and fatten up.”

In other news, Governor Robert Mcdonald of Virginia decides to call April, Confederate History Month. Stephen creates a new bumper sticker, “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS of embarrasing moments in American History,” which brings him It him to the Word: Slavery. In the snippet, Stephen discusses how some southerners consider slavery as an insignificant issue.  They want to merely focus on states rights, which just so happen to include slave ownership in certain regionns. As Alexander Stephens so elegantly phrased it: “[The Confederacy’s] corner-stone rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race –is his natural and normal condition.” By the end of The Word, Stephen tells everyone to strip the hateful word of its meaning, as he begins referring to everyone in the audience as his “slave-uhs” (as in slaver, or someone who owns slaves.)

The Nussbeugerl reflects the 'German Smile', which is a frown to Americans.

The episode moves into a discourse on the fast food ban in afghanistan, and a burger king commercial depicting a crazy King, which lead Stephen to believe that food advertisers are in fact lunatics; he goes on to cite the campaigns for Coco Puffs, Almond Joys/ Mounds, and the KFC Double-Down Sandwich as further proof of commercial craziness. Then he transitions into a story about Germany turning down Mcdonald’s line of American cupcakes, after their citizens continue to prefer their own native bavarian pastries, (like the “Nussbeugerl.” ) Desperate to show Germany the good stuff, Stephen invites German Ambassador of the UN, Hanz Bienholdt, to come in and try a cupcake. After explaining the bizarre item to the Ambassador, the German representative decides that he doesn’t like “cuppit ckaes”, though he does openly admit that he’s done many unforgivable things for a Klondike Bar.

The episode closes with a discussion about ‘They Gay,” an article in The New York Times by the straight-human, Jon Mooallem. It discusses whether or not animals can be homosexual. And, as it turns out, it’s difficult to tell; however, studies have reported that one third of a studied population of Albatross have actually paired off in lesbian couples. Stephen doesn’t get much evidence to swing either ways, so he swings alittle in both directions.

Colbert Chokes on the March-Madness Vasectomy Trend

The Leader of The Colbert Nation

Stephen Colbert chokes on a tongue-twister of a story, when he reports on the growing support for a gonad-less March Madness; that’s right, this year’s March Madness doesn’t just involve basketball, but it hopes to inspire male fans to go to their neighborhood doctor for a simple snip, medically known as a vasectomy.

A vasectomy, which is a general procedure for male sterilization, is now being popularly marketed by Doctor-endorsed March Madness free-pizza enticements, and a lifestyle choice that earns the right to watch basketball for ‘rejuvenational purposes.’

But, Stephen sees how a vasectomy  can translate into three days off work, and he raises the petty procedure to a full-out lobotomy, which would not only lay a man up for the entire season of UFC, but irreparably degrade his mind enough for him to actually enjoy it. And, fortunately enough, not only will the ‘vasectomized’ patient be thoroughly invested in the nourishing world of UFC and basketball, but he will also get a formal introduction to a more bad-ass type of chess game.

Check Mate!

Chess-boxing combines the wit of chess with the dim of boxing, to create a new hybrid-sport. In this trendy game, opponents first duel out four minutes of brutal chess, before they put on the gloves and duke it out rocky-style.

And to think, all that truly divides a man from manhood, is a vasectomy! Wow!

Obama will talk to Jon Stewart, but Not Stephen Colbert

The Leader of The Colbert Nation

The Leader of The Colbert Nation

Though President Obama is interested in appearing on the Daily Show, he is hesitant to show up for an interview on the Colbert Report. As it turns out, a politician has yet to get the best of news ‘fundit’ Stephen Colbert, and according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Obama doesn’t want to take the first shot.

But, considering the stark differences between the respective atmospheres of these two comedic news programs, his hesitation isn’t hard to understand. On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart offers a straightforward approach to exposing and exploiting contradictions found in the political arena, while on the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert dances a jig of pure satire and irony.

Allegedly, President Obama is frightened by too much sarcasm, and can’t find the confidence to go head to head with Mr. Colbert. But, it’s kind of hard to believe that the same man who blasted the Republicans during their own dinner could be afraid of a five minute interview with a host on Comedy Central.

Host of The Daily Show

Host of The Daily Show

Who knows, maybe Stephen is more intimidating than most people think. Perhaps Mr. Colbert should tone it down to get the president to show up. Whatever happens, Jon Stewart is sure to make his french-named friend a little jealous if he’s the only one to get some presidential love.