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Come Saturday Morning: K-Pop and the New Cultural Rulers

While reading this nice bit of medium-form writing by Gary Brecher, I was struck by this passage discussing how young Saudi women in the city of Najran were discovering the forbidden lures of the outside world:

… In Najran, girls can’t leave the house without a male relative, even to visit female friends. But with a cellphone, they can jump outside the compound without breaking a sweat, texting unrelated males to say God knows what in that krazy lingo you kidz are using these days. And because the older generation in Najran grew up in a world without telephones of any kind, let alone cellphone culture, they’re hopeless at monitoring this coded, corrosive language.

And in a way, the most corrosive of all the alien influences attacking Najran were the most seemingly innocuous: K-Pop and Korean Soap Operas. It’s amazing that there are still people in the old countries, like the US, who don’t realize yet that Korea has taken over world culture. They don’t need your stinkin’ American pop no more. They’ve got Sistar and they’re humming “Can’t Go to Sinchon.”

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” didn’t become the most-watched video in YouTube’s history strictly from American clicks. K-Pop is a thing, folks. Check out this song by seventeen-year-old phenomenon Baek Yer-in and you’ll hear what I mean. (By the way, here is a link to the English translation of the lyrics to “Can’t Go to Sinchon”.)

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