It seems as if Korean pop-music sensation Psy and his song "Gangnam Style" exploded into popular consciousness within the last week, spurred by the legitimacy that comes from getting the most "likes" on YouTube.
Makes sense, really—it might be the catchiest damn song of the last few years, despite the fact that the language is foreign enough to make certain law-enforcement officials toss it into the back of a van after three questions.
It doesn't hurt that the song's video is an absurdist fantasy that goes from children's playgrounds to parking garages to steam rooms to alleyways beset with blowing garbage and some shaving-cream-like substance.
But what gets lost in the insanity of a song whose video features both a man gyrating in an elevator while wearing some kind of furry hat, and a singer making his best attempt to look like a badass while riding a children's carousel, is this: The entire song is a send-up of a particularly materialistic subset of Korean culture—those who do things "Gangnam Style."
According to the blog "My Dear Korea," the Gangnam area is beset with nouveau riche whose wealth arose due to exploded land values, and those who want to be just like them—which explains where the allusions to horseback-riding, beach-lounging and bathing in luxurious pools come from.
Also, it seems that coffee is a fawned-upon luxury in Korea, even more so than it is here. A good part of the song's first verse is dedicated to the admiration of classy women who can afford classy coffee, while the singer claims to be a man who can throw down coffee like shots on Fourth Avenue.
So there you go: Not only is "Gangnam Style" a ridiculously catchy dance tune; it's a send-up of (and a peek into) a culture that few of us had any idea about before today.
But if anyone has any leads, I'm still trying to figure out why the guy humping the air inside of an elevator has such a huge smile on his face.
The Week on The Range
We gave you a heads-up about a dangerous situation near Evergreen Mortuary; shared photos of vintage appliances in the Old Pueblo; offered a chance for you to Gronk the hell out of your hunger; gave an update on medical-marijuana protests; revealed the inanity behind hanging chairs; offered some ideas as to what documentaries you should be renting from Casa Video; and told you where you should be working out if you're tired of the same old elliptical-and-free-weights routine.
We gave you a preview of the upcoming local taco-turf war in Taco Wars; fawned over 1702's digital beer menu; told you that your beer should be fine in case of a nuclear attack; told you how we're tackling the $4-a-day SNAP Challenge; and shared with you a look at Dinnerware Artspace's Food, Art and Drag show.
We took a look at Ron Barber and Martha McSally's reactions to Mitt Romney's "47 percent" quote; told you who Bruce Babbitt is endorsing in a race for the Pima County Board of Supervisors; took a look at the favorite in the Jeff Flake/Richard Carmona contest; took a look at the flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour on its way to its new resting place; shared the reactions of Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords to Endeavour's Tucson flyover; and oh-so-much more!
Comment of the Week
"Here's a reason: If someone does something ignorant and hateful, it may be their constitutional right. But if they choose to avail themselves of that right, the rest of us should know about it, because, you know, ignorant and hateful. Forewarned is forearmed. Haters need to be called on their hate. Every time."
—TucsonWeekly.com user "LouisWu" defends the fact that we pointed out the startling trend of hanging invisible Obamas from trees ("Apparently, Chair Lynchings Are a Thing Now," The Range, Sept. 20).
Best of WWW
Adam Borowitz's post previewing an apparent visit from Taco Wars, a television show that plans to pit three local taco shops against each other in an attempt to prove taco superiority, generated 30 comments, most from people throwing their taco preferences out for all to see. Taqueria Pico de Gallo, Boca and the newly reopened MaFooCo were among the most-beloved, while someone had the bright idea of touting San Diegan Mexican food over Sonoran stylings—something we'll keep in mind if we ever want to eat Mexican food where guacamole is used in place of actual flavor.