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by Robert Cain for China Film Biz
October 25, 2012
As I was writing the 3rd and final installment of my “Korea Conundrum” series, which explores the cultural and institutional impediments that prevent China from achieving global soft power influence, I came across a couple of music videos out of the PRC that explain the problem far better than I can.
While South Korean K-Pop star Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame was enjoying his brief reign as king of the pop culture meme, China was doing its part to say “Hey, we get it, we’re cool too” by producing Gangnam parody videos. Here’s a seemingly popular one that appeared on both Youtube and also on Tudou, China’s Youtube equivalent:
Of all the bad Gangnam Style parodies you’ll find on the web, this is undoubtedly one of the worst. Where the original Psy video has irony, wit, and biting satire, “China Style” is utterly vacuous. Take a look at the opening lyrics:
The creators of this video take a song that satirizes the excesses and emptiness of consumer culture and turn it into… what? An anthem celebrating international broadcast companies? As Beijing Cream noted:
Not only are the creators ignorant about the original song’s meaning, they insult us by trying to explain Gangnam Style’s popularity. Where they lack in originality, they also lack in self-awareness. These are the type who, at a party, stand stone-faced through your jokes and then say, “So what you’re saying is…”
The only thing China Style has on Gangnam Style is more T&A. A lot more. Shockingly so, given China’s censorship strictures. There’s even some weird nipple tweaking at the 2:42 mark.
At least the video did get over 500 ‘likes’ on Youtube. But then, it also got almost 3,300 ‘dislikes,’ six times as many.
Surely there must be someone in China who gets it. Someone cool, detached, a keen observer of Chinese culture who has something meaningful to say. Someone like Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist and symbol of dissent…
Alas, here’s Ai Weiwei’s contribution to the cultural conversation:
This is just so wrong, on so many levels. Say it ain’t so, Ai…
Guess I’ll be writing that 3rd installment after all, if for no other reason than to send China a few pointers.
In other news, release dates have now been set for the import films that will grace China’s movie screens in November. Here’s an excerpt from a missive I received this morning from my friend ‘Firedeep’
That’s the report for now. Back to Youtube– I mean research, for me.
Robert Cain is a producer and entertainment industry consultant who has been doing business in China since 1987. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.pacificbridgepics.com
Both videos were painful. I had to stop Ai’s within 30 seconds.
Dave, I’m with you. Unwatchable.
This is perhaps a slightly more acceptable Chinese copy. Hopefully there will be more originality next time.
The first video really didn’t get it. But then I have come across quite some friends who admitted to me that they did not get it, sincerely, frustratingly, and sometimes angrily. Hmmm.
The horse dance is becoming famous in over the world and the singer named Psy is known as a worldwide idol. Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video has more than 300 million YouTube views and counting.Millions of people imitated this dance. A teacher teaching math danced ‘Gangnam Style’ in his period to make it less boring and his students are very interesting in his new way of teaching. A teacher teaching physical education did the same thing in the physical class. In recent days, people told about this song and its dance had proved as an internet sensation when almost 1000 inmates of a Philippine prison burst into the famous horse-riding dance.,
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