Saturday, October 8, 2011

UPDATED: First pi, now pizza pie

Wow. I guess I should add pizza to my list of things Korea invented.

(With the Dokdo posters in the background, it's clear someone knows how to poke fun at some of the Korea-as-irrational-nationalists meme.)

(HT to you know who you are.)

It turns out that the Grand Narrative has a post on this, which is an interesting read even if I don't necessarily agree with his opening paragraph:
To put it mildly, Koreans don’t often use satire and irony in their popular culture. And when non-Koreans do? Hell, that can even get them deported.
For starters, it seems there are a number of films that employ a great deal of satire and irony (from The Host to The President's Last Bang, though I may be defining irony different from him. My own attempts at satire and irony have been called out by my critics, so I could just be a loon. To be honest, for the longest time I thought irony is what we do after we finish the washee.

As for the Babopalooza deportation* issue, I think the case can be made that they got kicked out not for making fun of Korea (which identifiable people do all the time on blogs) but for violating the restrictive terms of their visa, just as thousands of people have gotten nabbed, fined, deported, or otherwise punished for. I mean, the same law back in the late 1990s prevented me from going to grad school while working full time until I finally managed to get the right visa (when new visas offered more opportunities for me). No one at my grad school was "making money" from attending grad school (it was the opposite!) but Immigration still came in to enforce the law. The folks at Immigration do take these things seriously, as many can attest, and saying that they were persecuted for their content is like, well, saying that whatever bad thing happened to you happened because you're a foreigner (meme #81).

In other words, this isn't [insert humorless authoritarian regime here].

But be careful, because in the opening of the above fauxcumentary [insert humorless authoritarian regime here] was poked fun of as well. They and their obsession with what is claimed by Koreans to be from Korea. Really, someone did a great job mining some Internet memes here.

Japan Focus takes an interesting and scholarly look at the Mr Pizza viral ad and what it all means, including how Japanese interpreted it. The Marmot's Hole has a post about that post, which had focused on an earlier Marmot's Hole post.

* No one was actually deported, according to the above Busanhaps link:
First, no one was fired or deported due to the police investigation. However, several participants who were due to start new teaching jobs the following March, found that their schools were unable to process their visa applications due to the investigation, and therefore the schools had to withdraw the job offers. Unable to start a new job, some of these people had no choice but to leave the country when their old visas expired (I believe there were three such cases). Strangely, those of us who were renewing or extending contracts and visas at our current schools had no problem, and could stay in Korea. Of the people who were forced to leave, all eventually returned to Korea after a few months when the investigation was completed, and found just as good, or better jobs.
I'd say, "put that in your pipe and smoke it," but Lord knows what problems smoking anything other than tobacco would bring in Korea.



  1. Thanks so much. That is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I wonder if it was really made by Mr. Pizza...?

  2. I'm thinking it was. This kind of marketing is becoming a "thing," and the production value, consistently positive promotion of the product (i.e., the jabs are taken against everything but Mr Pizza) seem to fit the mold.

    I wonder if they got the okay from the Buddhists, though. I can imagine some people of any faith my not be too happy with their iconography being used in this way in what is essentially a commercial.


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