Thursday, November 14, 2013

Culture Clash

   In the olden times, a well learned Englishman would travel to some God forsaken corner of the globe, and there he would sip tea on the veranda of the bungalo overlooking the rainforest, and there, he would write about the things he sees – the strange cultures, the strange people, the bizarre religions. My last name is "Philby." I may well be related to the famous British spy by the name of Philby. I may have that white anglo business in my blood where I have to look out upon the world and classify it. Maybe that's what Modernism is. I think I got a Modernist streak in my blood. I wanna show you what Korea feels like. It feels very odd sometimes. Rightfully so, it was cut off from the western world until only very recently. Sometimes I think the men I see walking around are like what my grandpa must have been when he was doing his thing. Most Korean working men wear baggy suits like you see in old photos from the 1940s. They smoke. They drink. They work. Mom takes care of the kids. 

  They sleep on the subway. Look how his pants have ridden up past his black work socks revealing some of his calf. That's a good look. I wouldn't be surprised if a girl were to slip her number under the tongue of his shoe.



  Maybe this girl will. No way Jose! That's my wife. (bad likeness though)





  Korea has a gritty feel to it, with the spitting and the smoking and the drunks and the motorcycles speeding through stoplights and zigzagging down sidewalks around hunchback old ladies pulling towering loads of garbage behind them. 



  By contrast, the entertainment is emotional and romantic and feminine. And everybody seems to be on the same page with what good music is, and the answer is K-Pop singers. The answer is a young couple with guitars singing about being in love, or a girl gyrating on stage, singing about being in love, and every song has a hip hop break. 



  In America, at least when I was growing up, music was about finding some strangeness that you enjoy but nobody else ever heard of. I thought that was just the norm, but shortly after I arrived here, I asked a fellow artist if she liked K-Pop, it being one of the few things I'd heard of that had to do with Korea. I expected "Haha no. Just cuz I'm Korean doesn't mean I like K Pop," but her answer was yes. And then, naturally, my next question is do you like dog meat which got a "no." 

  So Koreans like feminine music like this rather than masculine music like this, and on their tv dramas there's always an old lady crying and some guy calming her down. If it's a talk show there's sound effects and instant replays and special effects to emphasize what the person's talking about and there's always somebody breaking into song.  Koreans like cutesy stuff, and they must have high likeness tolerances because they don't loom over your shoulder like "how's this con man gonna make me think he drew my daughter in five minutes with no pencil?" A lot of times they go over and sit on a bench and wait for you to finish. But this drawing has nothing to do with all that because this is a some Chinese people.

 But you will notice some hearts and some bounciness. When you see her photo, you're not gonna think it looks like her, but...but..it wasn't so far off as all that.



  


and this is a Japanese couple – caricature artists, Gota and Genki. They are kind and lovely and talented.

I wanted to post this bit about drawing from photos, but it's way to unrelated so I may do that next time. Until then, go back to whatever you were doing.

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