By James Mellen III, Staff Writer
Frontman of popular KPop band BTS Kim Nanjoon spoke to our reptilian overlords at the United Nations last week.
While it might make sense with the political climate of the Korean peninsula that the band would talk about a politically charged issue, the pop culture representative of the worlds 11th largest economy decided to talk to a room full of bureaucrats and a camera about loving yourself.
The singer started by speaking about times in his life when he felt down and lost, saying he was concerned about how other people thought of him. He then continued to preach about how music gave him an outlet to be himself. The speech ends with him urging all young people to love themselves.
On the pop culture side of things, this seems to be little more than a publicity stunt. KPop is a global phenomenon so this is the KPop equivalent of playing for the president. Nanjoon also did get a large audience to listen to what is overall an inspiring message for a younger audience.
An important distinction to be made here however is that Nanjoon was not given the opportunity to perform at the United Nations, he was given the opportunity to speak at the United Nations.
From a political standpoint this begs the question, should Korean pop stars have any degree of influence over the puppet masters behind our daily lives?
The band used its platform to give a feel good speech to the kids back home watching the United Nations meeting, but what if they had used it to talk about trade deals?
That might seem a little ridiculous, but our current president used to fire people on TruTV. The line between pop culture and politics are blurring and that should scare all of us.
Pop culture stars and politicions have one important similarity, both camps are generally famous. It’s important that we denote the difference between “good at singing” famous and “can tactfully negotiate the construction of nuclear weapons” famous.
There isn’t a whole lot of overlap between these two camps. In the case of BTS being known internationally does not equate to knowing about international relationships.
I was born in 1999 which means in school I learned about 9/11 terrorism and the George Bush presidency as the world I lived in.
Kids born in 2009 are going to learn about KPop bands speaking at the United Nations and the Donald Trump presidency as the world they live in.
It’s easy for us to see how this might be problematic, because we lived in a world where current events were handled by people with some level of expertise on the subject, but today’s kids aren’t going to. This is the only world they’re going to know, and that means that in ten years when these kids can vote, they’re going to be a lot more likely to vote in pop culture stars.
Now that these floodgates are open it’s going to be harder to close them, pop stars are going to continue to shine in the political spotlight, and it’s our civic duty to prevent it from happening.
We created this problem, and so the solution to this problem is pretty straightforward.
Don’t vote pop culture stars into office, don’t support your favorite artist going to the White House. Your vote matters and your dollar matters politically, without those two things pop culture stars and positions are nothing.
It’s important that we educate people on the problems with the overlap between pop culture and politics, especially people younger than us.
PHOTO COURTESY: CNN