A collab in the future?
One of the greatest film directors alive really loves BTS.
During the press tour leading up to the Golden Globes, Bong Joon-ho, the writer and director of Parasite, repeatedly expressed his appreciation of BTS. While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joon-ho said in Korean, "I particularly enjoyed the episode BTS was here." At the Golden Globes Awards, where Parasite became the first Korean film to win the Best Motion Picture in the Foreign Language category, Joon-ho was asked, "How does it feel...for your country to be leading the way in creativity and vision." He began his response with an unprompted shout-out to the boy band, "Although I'm here at the Golden Globes, BTS has three thousand times the amount of power and influence that I have." He added, "I think Korea produces a lot of great artists because we're very emotionally dynamic people."
Now, BTS fans have begun clamoring for a collaboration between the award-winning director and pop group. Many fans of both appreciate the parallels between their creative content: social commentary and critiques of the class divide. "I can see why he would love them. BTS's lyrics often criticize materialism, capitalism and classism in society which is exactly what director Bong did with Parasite," one fan tweeted.
Parasite is praised for its cutting social commentary through Joon-ho's simple premise: A young man from a poor family in Seoul becomes a private tutor for a wealthy family. What follows is a defining moment in the horror genre about toxic wealth and social ruin. Similarly, BTS' music has been praised for its open lamentations about the social pressures to succeed and constantly optimize the self to the point of feeling less than human: "They call me try-hard / Our generation has had it hard," begins their song "Beapsae," or "Silver Spoon," in Korean. "Stop going on about 'effort' and more 'effort' / It makes my skin crawl / Try harder, try harder / You really don't have a chance / As expected from the ones before us..."
Furthermore, they've both faced stigmas surrounding non-western culture. BTS has been criticized for their individual English-speaking skills and not writing English lyrics, despite gaining a worldwide fanbase. RM, the only band member out of the seven who speaks English fluently, explained their choice to Time Magazine: "We don't want to change our identity or our genuineness to get the number one. Like if we sing suddenly in full English, and change all these other things, then that's not BTS." As for Joon-ho, he's been at work in the industry since 2000 and prefers to write his own stories, regardless of the language barrier. During his Golden Globes acceptance speech, he advocated for more appreciation of international art and pushed Americans to be more open to non-English languages, critiquing, "Once you overcome the one-inch barrier subtitles, you'll be introduced to so many more amazing films."
"The conclusion I'm reaching is that, rather than the language, it's really about the story and the movie itself," Bong told the Huffington Post about his multimillion dollar hit film. "That's something that I'm realizing more and more during the process of promoting 'Parasite.'"
Ultimately, their shared appeal lies in the flawed humanity they bare in their art. What would a collaboration look like? Probably a visually stunning but dark look at the emotional and social casualties of the modern age. Plus, dancing. A lot of J-Hope dancing.
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The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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