Radio

Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

COMING UP: Colin James and Adam Driver

COMING UP: Colin James and Adam Driver

A Canadian blues icon and a celebrated actor join George in his home.

Past Shows

 

 

News Promo
Dissident Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Goes Gangnam Style… With Handcuffs
October 25, 2012
submit to reddit

gangnam-weiwei-1.jpg

The music video for 'Gangnam Style' by South Korean rapper PSY has been parodied by lots of unexpected people: midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, the North Korean government (sort of), and Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers, to name just three.

Oh yeah, and Peter Mansbridge, of course (skip to 1:14 to enjoy that one):

Well, you can add Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei to the list.

Ai released his version of the video late Wednesday to Chinese sites including Tudou, China's version of YouTube.

But internet users in China can no longer see the video.

"After we had uploaded it, a few hours later... we found that a lot of people, tens of thousands, had already watched it. Now, in China, it has already been totally removed, deleted entirely, and you can't see it in China," Ai said.

The parody video is titled "Grass Mud Horse Style" - the phrase "grass mud horse" sounds like a very rude insult, and Ai has used the phrase many times to mock Chinese censors.

As well as the censor-baiting name, the video includes scenes of Ai dancing with and in handcuffs.

gangnam-weiwei-2.jpg

So why would a prominent political dissident decide to throw on a shiny pink t-shirt and copy some K-Pop dance moves?

Ai told the Associated Press he chose to make the video after learning that the family of his friend Zuoxiao Zuzhou, a famous rock star in China, was losing their home to a demolition crew.

He felt a little humour might help alleviate some of the frustration felt by the Chinese public.

This is not the first time the Chinese government has moved to silence Ai Weiwei. Last year, Ai was detained without explanation for three months, apparently for his political activism.

He is also facing fines of $2.4 million over charges of tax evasion. Last month, a court upheld the fine.

As for PSY himself, the rapper met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, and gave him a little lesson in doing the 'Gangnam Style' dance:

"So now you have first and second famous Korean in the same building," PSY said.
Ban joked that he feels overshadowed by the popularity of the star - and a little envious.

"I'm a bit jealous. Until two days ago someone told me I am the most famous Korean in the world. Now I have to relinquish. I have no regrets," Ban said.

In some ways it's pretty surprising to see political dissidents and political leaders alike aligning themselves with a pop star - especially a pop star best known for dancing around like a horse.

Obviously publicity is one reason for the choice. The song has become a worldwide phenomenon, and like any popular meme, associating yourself or your cause with it has the potential to raise people's awareness.

But at this point, PSY's 'Gangnam Style' could be considered more than just a popular song.

It's so well known that it's become a part of some geo-political discussions. Apparently the song is not popular in Japan, and that's got some people in South Korea angry.

According to the Telegraph, "South Koreans believe that Japan's dismissal of the worldwide hit has more to do with the bilateral dispute over the sovereignty of two rocky islands that lie between the Asian neighbours than PSY's music."

You know a song's gone mega-viral when it's being cited in territory disputes.

If Japan and South Korea want to get into a more measured and meaningful discussion about the issue, though, the song they need comes from this country. Just play them a little of this to get the conversation started:

Related:

Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Free But Forced To Remain Silent

Peter Mansbridge As You've Never Seen Him Before - Going 'Gangnam Style'

Ai Weiwei's Supporters and an Egyptian Blogger Get Naked for Change

Comments

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.