[MUSIC] Psy, "Gangnam Style"
Max Fisher's claim in August at The Atlantic that the song is quietly subversive of South Korean bourgeois mores may be overstated. What can't be overstated is the extent to which this song's unprecedented popularity--I hear "Gangnam Style" regularly on Top 40 radio in Toronto, the first Asian pop song I've heard--reflects the global success of so-called "Korean wave", the complex of Korean pop culture exports that first broke into Asia some years ago (1, 2) and is now reaching the rest of the world. This Asia Times article breathlessly recounting the rising profile of Korean culture in the United Kingdom, and this New Yorker article talking about the highly sophisticated global marketing strategy of Korean pop music, give some idea as to the scope. For that matter, there's tourism--the Gangnam district that's the subject of the song has even become subject of a USA Today profile.)
South Korea's a global economic power, and South Korean popular culture is fast catching up. The cultural technology of catchy pop songs is, clearly, a technology South Korea has mastered.