Gag me with the Gangnam jokes
South Korea’s election to the U.N. Security Council may or may not make a difference in easing the nuclear standoff with North Korea. But it is likely to lead to the proliferation of even more corny jokes about the Korean pop sensation, Psy, and his "Gangnam Style" music video sensation. Korean diplomats, international civil servants, ...
South Korea's election to the U.N. Security Council may or may not make a difference in easing the nuclear standoff with North Korea.
South Korea’s election to the U.N. Security Council may or may not make a difference in easing the nuclear standoff with North Korea.
But it is likely to lead to the proliferation of even more corny jokes about the Korean pop sensation, Psy, and his "Gangnam Style" music video sensation.
Korean diplomats, international civil servants, and American diplomats posted in Korea have been milking the dance craze, promoting the new South Korean flair in contrast to the dour image projected by North Korea’s nuclear-armed dynasty.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the former Korean foreign minister, will actually begin a speech today decrying the end of his status as the best-known South Korean in the world. (Ban once told an aide that he had been mistaken for Kim Jong Il during one of his first U.S. tours as secretary general).
"The other day I was introduced by a journalist as the most famous Korean on the planet,"says Ban, according to a prepared speech he will deliver to students at Drake University. "But I had to relinquish that title to Psy, the singer of Gangnam Style!"
Earlier this week, the Korean president of the International Criminal Court, Sang-Hyun Song, worked a Gangnam line into his address to the U.N. Security Council.
"Let me apologize in advance if I slightly overstep the conventional time limit allocated to speakers," he said. "I am afraid I could not stay within say, 10 minutes even if I were to speak in Gangnam Style."
Sadly, the jokes aren’t even restricted to Korean leaders. The U.S. ambassador to Korea, Sung Kim, got a group of interns to perform the Gangnam Style dance at the embassy.
"I wish I could do the dance for you, but I can’t. I’m just a horrible dancer," he said on his online "Ask the Ambassador" series. "But, I have very talented interns at the embassy who are willing to do the dance for you."
Ban meanwhile told the Agence France Presse that he is big fan of Psy, and has seen the video "several times."
"I’m very proud that his performance has been loved and enjoyed by more than 400 million people," Ban said. "It is amazing."
Ban apparently has not, however, instructed his own staff to perform it. "I haven’t seen anyone around doing the dance," said a U.N. official. "But he is happy that everyone else seems to be doing it."
Follow me on Twitter @columlynch
Colum Lynch was a staff writer at Foreign Policy between 2010 and 2022. Twitter: @columlynch
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