Why Psy?

By: Julie Dickinson, Foster Undergraduate

At the time of this writing the video “Gangnam Style” by PSY has over 1 Billion views, making it by far the most viewed video in the history of Youtube. PSY’s antics are hilarious and the video is truly unique, but I’ve seen videos of cats trying to stuff themselves into too small boxes that rival the comedic value…so why PSY? Koreans are wondering the exact same thing. Living in Korea during the Gangnam Style phenomenon was bizarre to say the least because honestly Koreans didn’t understand the popularity and would frequently ask me if as a westerner I could provide insight. That being said, PSY is a national hero for the popularity he’s brought to the country and to KPOP. It makes me a little sad that this video is what 99% of the world population associates with Korea but at the same time it really is an excellent opportunity to open the world up to Korean culture. In October, PSY decided to give a free concert in Seoul to thank the people of Korea for their part in his success. I decided to attend and it was an experience that really very drastically changed my outlook on life and that I will never forget. The population of Seoul is around 10 million and I would hazard to guess that 9,999,999 of these people were at the PSY concert. I have lived in big cities my entire life and I thought I had some sort of concept for what that many people in one place looked like but I had no idea. Needless to say I arrived at the PSY concert 2hrs early and I probably moved about 3 feet between where I got off the subway and where I ended up. I couldn’t see or hear PSY but that was irrelevant. Seeing the massive amount of Koreans ranging in age from infants to the extremely elderly was an experience I’ll never forget.  To Koreans, PSY represents so much more than a silly horse dance, he represents hope for the country. As I said, to me its somewhat of a shame that PSY is the only exposure that most people will get to Korea because honestly if you think PSY’s funny or unique or quirky…he’s just the tip of the iceberg.