Archive for August, 2011

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Censor Sensibility

August 30, 2011

I have had what I can only describe as a lifelong antipathy for censorious groups and “moral” minority, pinhead paternalists so it is with some surprise that I find myself in a position of gratitude to the British Board of Film Censors, now known as the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Following the recent daft and offensive decision by the BBFC to refuse a certificate for The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), I have kept an eye on the progress of that film and in turn have more closely scrutinized other rulings by the organization. Their decision was daft on account of how easy it is to acquire films in this dizzying age of digital technology, a de facto ban in one country being largely meaningless provided the movie in question is both released and adequately sought after elsewhere. This is especially true where, as in this instance, a film has been shot in the UK with a British cast only to be denied a legitimate release there but subsequently intended for release in the United States at a later date. However, the BBFC ruling was also grossly offensive precisely because it was an elitist, authoritarian manoeuvre that explicitly removes one’s right to choose whether or not to view the film. A panel/committee/cabal of faceless, bureaucratic twats whom most of us have never met and certainly most of us do not know; sit as moral guardians in a position of deciding on our behalf precisely which films pose a potential risk of causing us actual “harm”, of corrupting us. Of course, precisely the same material does not have this effect on the staff of the BBFC presumably because they are of superior moral and intellectual fibre to the bleating hordes of plebs who are perpetually tottering on the brink of wanton depravity, one wrong horror flick away from being inspired to abduct scores of people and somehow attach them mouth to arse for their own insane pleasure.

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Tonnes of Fun

August 9, 2011

You can't look away, because his mass is exerting gravity on your face.

Sadly, I don’t watch as many documentaries as I used to. Korean docs (or what passes for them) are, for the most part, some of the most glaringly obnoxious, badly produced pieces of irredeemable crap I’ve ever witnessed on a television, but I’ll save that rant for another time. Fortunately, my wife likes to seek some out online in her spare time and she happened upon a particularly good, albeit sensationalistic, one a few days ago when I was still at work. Upon my return home, she announced that I simply had to see Half Ton Man, knowing full well that I tend to have an excitable and intemperate reaction to the subject matter, hyper-obesity.

Patrick Deuel was the eponymous man of astounding mass and, at his peak, he weighed in at an unfathomable 1,126 pounds (511 kg or, as this was a UK doc, 80 stone). Now, we all know those numbers don’t mean shit just sitting there so please peruse the footage at your own leisure. This programme was part of a Channel 4 series sensitively titled ‘Body Shocks’ that was little more than a loose series of documentaries that cobbled together some real life tales of freaky congenital birth defects and other oddities for rather blatant exploitative entertainment purposes. I saw the very first of these some time ago, The Boy Who Gave Birth to his Twin and it was a marvelously bizarre, deeply satisfying viewing experience.

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Having a Ball

August 7, 2011

Whilst walking into school one morning a few weeks ago, I found myself in the company of the school principal. It was toward the end of the term and almost the summer holiday period so, in the interests of easily accessible small talk that suited his meagre level of English and my appalling level of Korean, he asked me if I had any vacation plans. I explained, truthfully, that a good friend of mine was coming to Korea to visit and myself and my wife would be showing him around Seoul and taking him to Busan, amongst other groovy activities. To further emphasize my excitement and anticipation, I elaborated on my relationship with my friend and said that we had been friends since we were young children. “Ah”, replied Gyojang (Principal) Kim, “Bu-ral chingu“.

I ran this phrase through my head as best I could and realized that separately, the Korean words bu-ral and chingu translate as ‘testicles’ and ‘friend’, respectively. Now, as I’ve long since discovered that being an agreeable sycophant is a highly desirable quality in a foreign teacher in Korea, I was already nodding my head, smiling and saying “yes” to this bizarre phrase as it began to take shape in my head. Eventually, a slight frown must have formed on my face, however, because Mr Kim offered up a partial translation in an uncertain and inquisitive tone. “Testes?, testes?”, he asked. “Uh, yeah”, was all I could reply.

I brought this weird encounter to my wife later that day and as soon as I got to the phrase “bu-ral chingu” she nodded and said, “ball friend, yeah”. A Korean term for a guy having a friend since they were very young is testicle friend. Well, I dubya-tee-effed, dear reader, truly I did, although my wife was fortunately able to expand on it. In poorer times (and not so long ago, Korea was fucking dirt poor) young children were often dressed only in t-shirts whilst they ran around playing, hence their testicles were exposed to one another. The phrase alludes to a time when you knew someone young enough to have literally hung out with them, balls to the breeze.

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K-Pop Korner: f(x) – Hot Summer

August 5, 2011

You may think I have nothing better to write about. To that I say, “shut your damn whore mouths!” The Korner awaits…

‘Hot Summer’ appears to be a major K-Pop hit this year, it’s enjoying widespread airplay around Korea and is quite simply one of those songs you can’t get away from. It therefore seemed like perfect Korner fodder, a light distraction to yield a few laughs, but, unfortunately, the more I looked at it the less interesting it actually became. This has got to be one of the dullest and most insipid pieces of shit thrown out by the almighty K-Pop industry in a while. Let’s clear up some details about the group first. They’re called f(x) with the f apparently alluding to the notation for ‘function’ in mathematics and the corresponding x supposedly indicating that they’re a group who can change and adapt to many different situations, but the more you think about that the more likely you are to ram your own fist down your throat in an all-consuming rage at being exposed to such stupidity. It transpires that this song is also a cover of a track originally released by German pop group, Monrose. Monrose’s song is sung in English and features the kind of sexually charged, summer-themed lyrics you would expect, e.g. “it’s so hot I want to tear off my clothes” and, given what we know about German sexuality, the culmination of all that would likely be them pissing and shitting all over each other. However, quite in contrast, the Korean cover version features entirely different lyrics that are completely sexless. The girls chirp about it being summer, a hot summer, where the sky is clear and blue and they go to the ice cream store or down to the Han River. Later in the song they advise “sweating foreigners” to “wear something black and long” and, were that an allusion to penis, it would be wonderful, but instead it’s quite literally the fucking nonsensical advice to wear long black clothes to cope with summer heat. It is also a somewhat surreal experience, as a sweating foreigner, to feel like a K-Pop song is addressing you directly.

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