Being wary of meaningless satires
등록일 2017-02-17 조회 303
“Do you smell impeachment?”
This quote comes from a skit called “Piece of Meat” in SBS’s program
Since “Yeoui-do Teletubby’s” is no longer on air, similar political satire shows are now receiving much attention. The fact that political satire has returned to KBS is standing proof of a change in the era.
Political satire has a long history in Korean media, not necessarily including “Scholar Satgat Kim” who aimlessly roamed while mocking authority or traditional outdoor performances that ridiculed Korean aristocrats. KBS has taken the lead in this movement. It is ironic since they started during President Tae Woo Noh’s presidency, which was an extension of a military regime.
President Tae Woo Noh wanted to be seen as an “ordinary citizen,” so when he was a political candidate, he announced “people can satirize me.” This launched the use of political satire in comedy. “President, President, Our President” from
At a certain point, however, KBS stopped making political satire. Even when comedians complained about “not being able to do political satire”, people just assumed that there must have been a reason. “Yeouido Teletubby’s” from tvN rekindled political satire through the media, but only for a moment. Director Jang Jin, who led the program, suddenly stepped down, and all skits that made fun of politics just stopped. As time passed, it was revealed that these cancellations were due to pressure from the people in power. It was also found that the vice president of CJ Group (Owner of tvN), Mi Kyung Lee, was pressured to leave office from the Blue House. There were also stories that “Yeouido Teletubby’s” and the movie
As all this happened, it’s became rather obvious that KBS stopped doing political satire because of political pressure. The fact that political satire has returned to KBS means that those who used to be in control have now stepped down.
Television isn’t the only source of political satire. Films, which are on the frontline of mass culture, dealing with political satire are also on the rise. After
The Blue House wields strong influence, even over public funds invested in movies. In fact, half of the movies of Korea over the past 10 years depend on these funds. At the beginning of 2015, the Investment Decision Making Committee was founded. This committee started to review movies for investment, and political movies were practically disqualified as investment candidates.
Such cases also existed during the MB (previous) administration. The movie <26 Years=""> was about a family of a deceased Gwangju Democratization Movement Activist attempting to assassinate former President Doo Hwan Jeon. The film was cancelled right before shooting because the investment was rescinded. Rumor was that the representative of the investment company was called to the Blue House, and then the investment was cancelled. After that, <26 Years=""> was produced by individual investors, who put up the money through a united effort. The MB administration was much more subtle than President Park’s, which was shamelessly more explicit. Regardless of the stories’ authenticity, the fact that rumors exist about a 21st century government having total control of the film industry is, by itself, a sign of societal regression. A “blacklist” in the cultural sector signals a step backward for a society.
Last year and the beginning of this year has seen many political satire movies in theaters. Last summer, the movie
When something that was suppressed is released, the force of the release tends to be great. Not all that is release, however, is good. Political satire is great, but there is a risk of merely offering sardonic pleasure and nothing else. It’s dangerous to mock solely for the sake of mocking. Director Jang Jin, when directing
Some claim that political correctness (PC) forces too much solemnity. Some argue that the reaction force against PCs have elected Donald Trump as president. This is still not true in Korea, however. PC in Korea has just begun. Until the abnormal becomes the norm, we still have a long way to go.
There is criticism that asserts that political correctness shackles the public media. This is because most laughter comes from making fun of other people. There are also claims that political correctness limits the imagination.
We can find the answer in the American popular media, where political correctness is standardized. Right after 2008’s presidential elections, the U.S. internet news media reported that
The U.S.’s media dangerously hops between satire and mockery, while still trying to strike a balance with political correctness. Overall, these efforts receive wide support. Despite several criticisms, both the conservatives and liberals agree on protecting the freedom of satire.
The reason Alec Baldwin mentioned Meryl Streep as the perpetrator of the hacking was because she scolded Donald Trump after winning a Golden Globe last January. Although Meryl Streep didn’t mention Trump’s name once, she made many criticisms targeted at him. She said “And this instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
As Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech was going on, Choi Soon Sil’s hearings were airing on Korean television. Cho Yoon Sun, the minister of Culture and Sports, acknowledged the existence of a blacklist by stating, “I deeply apologize for causing significant pain and disappointment to artists, as well as the Korean public, with this blacklist problem”.
In a country that has a blacklist that cuts support to artists who criticize, until political correctness becomes a social norm, we must continue to be concerned, compromise, and discuss. As popular media has the strongest influence until political correctness is established, it must be more thoroughly proven.
2017 Meryl Streep on the stage at Golden Globe Awards ? Source: Golden Globe homepage
Meryl Streep said the following in the Golden Globe Awards.
“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why, that's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.”
The founding fathers of Korea also took media dearly. The freedom of speech is clearly stated in our constitution. We’ve already felt that it was the power of media that let the world know of Choi Soon Sil Gate. We shouldn’t simply applaud the many satire just because the era of regression has ended. To prevent such corruption from happening again and to have political correctness in satire, we must continue sharp criticisms.
It’s not just the media. “Because we're going to need them (journalists) going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.” This applies to Korea as well. In candle light demonstrations, we hear not our traditional songs but SNSD’s “A Whole New World”. This proves the strength and the importance of correctness in popular media. When satire abound, we must open our eyes even wider.