It seems cliche to choose BTS’s new title song as the song for this week but I did it because of the Korean title – 작은 것들을 위한 시, literally meaning in English, “A Poem for Small Things.”
It’s about a lover who is entirely absorbed in their beloved and wanting to know everything about them. It’s not deep in the sense of being the most beautifully made iteration of this idea, but it’s a pleasant, joyous, euphoric one. And despite what some might say, it completes a logical progression plot-wise from “Boy in Luv” and even through “DNA” and “Fake Love.”
“Boy in Luv” is the angsty adolescent love focused on self; “DNA” revels in the romance and speaks as if it’s fated, de-emphasizing choice; “Fake Love” reveals that destiny and feelings might not be the best way to determine love; and “Boy with Luv” is kind of reaching the point where you can be yourself with someone and truly choose to love them in all aspects.
The song demonstrates this best, I think, in some of my favorite lyrics from it:
But 너의 상처는 나의 상처
깨달았을 때 나 다짐했던 걸
니가 준 이카루스의 날개로
태양 아닌 너에게로
Let me fly
“But your pain is my pain; when I realized that, I promised myself, with the wings of Icarus you gave me, not toward the sun but to you let me fly.” These lyrics emphasize that it was a choice. And not just a choice – oh, I like this person’s face/voice/hair/whatever, but your pain is my pain. I’m choosing to love you. Which is, frankly, what love is about.
Not a very quick take, I know. *shrugs* Here’s a quick take:
Easter = This Sunday. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? HOW DID LENT PASS ME BY?
NCT127 concert = next weekend. HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN?
The Goose Girl post is coming along. Getting out of hand, spiraling into a veritable tree of here’s one theme – which leads to this, which leads to this, which also has to do with THIS. Like my thesis did – once I had the motivation to write it. I wrote most of it three days before it was due and still managed to get an A. Not my best moment.
But hey, when you get depressed senior year because you’re leaving the place and people that have meant so much to you for four years and you’ve never stayed that long in one place before in your life? I think depression’s allowed. At least a little.
And also to be fair, they changed policy on us senior year in the English department – they got rid of comps (yay!) but then made it so that we could only write a thesis on a work we’d studied in one of our classes.
There went my plan to do a paper on the Welsh mythology I loved so much. I’d even borrowed some books already from my Irish history professor (Irish history and literally an Irishman). King Lear was fine and great and all, and I get the rationale behind having undergrads do a work they’ve already studied but don’t pull the rug out from under us! Lots of us have already been doing reading and analysis all our lives because we like it! Not everyone is unprepared!
I’ve read a book on the temperaments lately (not the one by Art and Larainne Bennett), and it’s helped me to understand myself so much better. I would encourage it for everyone, if they find it helpful. If you don’t know what your temperament is, the best way to summarize: it’s not your personality – that can change over time – it’s the way you tend to think about and react to things. There are four temperaments: choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic. Everyone has a little of all four, but everyone also has a main temperament and often a secondary one that are stronger than the others.
I am a melancholic-choleric, which explains so. much. about me to myself.
Anyway, you should check them out!
I’ve kind of wanted to mention something, or articulate it in print so that people can see it, anyway. Many, many k-pop fans ARE in fact rabid, there’s no doubt about that. The fan culture that the South Korean entertainment companies created intentionally incites obsession. That’s what they want so they make money.
Personally I think it can be enjoyed without obsession (although I’m not the best example of that, but I use it as a crutch so again I am not the best example of not being able to do it either). But I know that a lot of fans expect people to love it, get upset when they don’t, get upset when people criticize the music or people at all in any way, and that’s not good. They also get upset at every, little thing that foreign media might have to say about them, or get wrong about them. It’s immature whatever age you’re at.
But that’s not the only reason fans get upset – in many instances it’s also legitimate to be upset, just not to react as they do. For instance, that Mexican talk show host mocking BTS and calling them gay, Greek talk show hosts making fun of several k-pop groups; British radio host Roman Kemp calling BTS’ “Idol” so much “noise” – and he’s not wrong, but saying it condescendingly, and questioning whether fans like them for their looks or music; Ryan Seacrest interviewing them and asking them, “So do you guys dance?” as if he (or other assistants) hadn’t even typed their name into Google; and many other instances.
It’s not that there aren’t things to criticize in k-pop, just like in any other music. But people often criticize it just for being what it is because it’s different. They don’t give it a chance and automatically relegate it to inferior status because it’s different. And so many fans have a knee-jerk reaction even to reasonable criticism, dislike, or disinterest.
Condescendingly saying, “Oh my gosh those guys are wearing makeup? Ugh they look like girls!” or “You only like them for their looks” or “That’s just stupid pop and not as good as the real music I listen to” and “Why would you listen to music in another language? You can’t even understand what they’re saying…” or “They must be lip-syncing” or “Those music videos are sooo weird” or “Haven’t you heard? Those guys are in slave contracts to their agencies, how can you listen to that?” (as if k-pop fans aren’t acutely aware of the industry’s problems, actually).
There are so many underlying assumptions and prejudices here. Again, not that there’s nothing to criticize – just as much as in the U.S. or any other entertainment industry. But just like anime, comic book, and video game fans used to experience (and maybe do still), so many people react to k-pop with a fundamentally unreasonable, unkind disrespect.
So please remember that if anyone is trying to share it with you – just be polite and kind about not being interested or not liking it, and at that point if the person gets huffy or rude or overbearing it’s entirely their problem.
I’ll get off my high-horse, I promise I just – wanted to get that out there. Remember that an increasing number of k-pop fans are actually mature and reasonable.
I’m awaiting Avengers: Endgame with excitement and trepidation. I would see it on opening day if it weren’t for the fact that I’m gonna have to sit in line from 8AM to get into this concert (more on that later).
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!