Some of the readers of my prior random musing articles will know that i’m a bit of lazy guy so as a special edition this week, i’ve enlisted the help of fellow Soompi writer Yoojiin to help me write our weekly dose of Random Musings. From this point onwards we will differentiate between writers by writing our names first before our thoughts, so i will write LB – first and Yoojiin will write YJ – first. So Yoojiin, want to introduce yourself?

YJ – Hi, thank you for inviting me to the amusing musings. I am from a long family of..okay, this won’t do. Just read my bio on my profile.

LB – Straight to the point, i like that. So anyway this week we’ll be discussing how us fans perceive the image of celebrities and talk about the wonderful world of Honey Thighs and Horse Thighs, while straying a bit off course and talking about sexual lyrics and cranky old men. So lets get started.

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MBLAQ Lee Joon and Our Perception of Celebrity Images 

LB – Well lets start off with what was probably one of the most interesting articles of the week. We had an article a few days ago about how MBLAQ’s Lee Joon wanted everyone to know that his “stupid” image wasn’t necessarily true and how he doesn’t particularly enjoy it. So you actually wrote this article, what are your views on this? We’ve had celebrities before with this sort of image and most tended to keep it as their strength. The biggest example i can think of is Koyote’s Kim Jong Min. It kind of seems like that Lee Joon is obviously not enjoying the added popularity.

YJ – Well,  I think that in Lee Joon’s case, the fact that his image on stage and the way his image was marketed to the public makes it hard for him to put up with it. As long as it’s in the comfort zone of a variety show environment, it works. I think that it depends on the way his image is advertised. Let’s take BIGBANG’s Daesung for example. He is known as the “Dumber” from the duo “Dumb & Dumber” formed with Yoo Jae Suk on “Family Outing.” He is also known for being quite the dork on variety shows, but this didn’t affect his image as a singer because the way “Daesung” as a marketing product was presented to the public is far from Lee Joon’s image. He wasn’t advertised the same way that Lee Joon was. Lee Joon’s image is built on charisma, sexiness, insert word here. Whereas Daesung’s image isn’t as marked. To put it simply, Daesung was sold as the one who doesn’t take himself seriously.

I’m guessing talking about nipple exposure does impact your image somewhat

LB – I think it comes down to the fact that Lee Joon genuinely seems to be worried that this sort of image will affect how people perceive him in other media such as on Stage and in dramas. He mentioned specifically in that article that “love funny things but when my dream is to be an actor and that I can’t be taken seriously, what to do in that case?” So i guess saying he doesn’t enjoy the extra attention might be straying a bit too far into the realms of fan-rumor mongering, but is this perhaps an issue of viewers and fans perhaps entrusting our perception of celebrities mainly on what we see on Variety Shows? We’ve had an article about Jo Kwon and how he mentions that he is a guy by showing off a fairly umm “interesting” mouse pad and his manly computer wallpaper, which seems to be a stab at all those “OMG he must be really feminine because of the way he acts on variety shows.” It’s clear that we definitely place a lot of emphasis on character from variety shows, that’s why we seem to have so many issues when it comes to something like “We Got Married.” Are we perhaps just being a bit too naive in this?

YJ – I believe that one of the aim of variety shows is to show the “true colors” of a celebrity. But this concept seemed to have been lost somewhere on the way between the TV transmission to the housewife comfortably sitting on the sofa. As you mentioned a few weeks ago with “We Got Married” and the scripts in variety shows, it’s hard for your average joe to set apart truth or honesty from acting. We can’t help but wonder whether what we see from our favorite stars on TV is the real them or a misconception, a fabrication made to entertain us.

Despite impressions, they actually aren’t really married.

LB – I think one of the issues in that regard is in terms of how we name this genre of variety shows. We call them “Real” variety shows as a way of emphasising the fact that these variety shows are supposedly meant to resemble real life interactions a lot more naturally and realistically but this whole “real variety show” genre is fairly specific to the Korean market. When most people outside fo Korea think of “real shows,” they would actually think of “reality TV’ along the lines of “Big Brother,” “Jersey Shore,” etc. So the industry seems to be somewhat confusing viewers because of their naming conventions, more specifically “too much Konglish~” usage. But the matter of fact is that Korean “real variety shows” actually do employ quite a bit of scripting, not in the “You say this line and i say that line” type of scripting but a lot of scripting in regards to show directions etc, which wouldn’t be as prevalent on a “reality tv” show. Just seems like we are just confusing viewers, especially international viewers.

YJ – I concur. But the difficult part is to determine what is real and what isn’t. For example, some of our readers seemed to be confused with one of miss A Suzy’s statement on a variety show. Suzy stated that she wanted to have the same phone of as Kim Soo Hyun. Because she brought him up too often on her recent appearances and interviews, netizens left her tweets and started to post topics on community boards wondering why she spoke of him so often. Was he her secret crush? Or was it for promotional purposes since Kim Soo Hyun became the talk of the town thanks to his role in “The Moon That Embraces The Sun.” Suzy then posted a tweet revealing the truth behind it all, “Script.” This word, again. Suzy meant that she was asked to bring up Kim Soo Hyun because of their connection and friendship on a variety show. So, should we trust what we see on TV? Is what you see really what you get? It depends. Of course, it depends on the genre of the variety show and what we call variety. I believe that we call variety show a show produced for entertainment purpose only. But once again, which shows fall or do not fall in this category I ask.

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“I don’t think i’m ugly but I believe that I lack something.” If it’s something like “a short toenail” i’m going to flip tables again.

LB – TV is definitely a powerful media tool and we do get a lot of our information from it. It all comes down to a matter of deciding for ourselves what is real and what is there for entertainment, which frankly is quite hard to determine sometimes. I’m usually of the opinion that we should probably watch variety shows in such fashion where we don’t take it too seriously and just kind of enjoy what’s being shown but not necessarily link it to real life situations. Also while we’re on the topic of images, i would like to quickly mention a few articles that i usually categories as “Celebrity Image Building Events,” articles such as how Yuri doesn’t think she’s ugly, Yoo Ah In DOES think he’s ugly (Love how the “Fashion King” team is balancing each other out), Andy talking about how he couldn’t sleep without alcohol and aspirin and an older article about how Teen Top doesn’t want to be viewed as another Backstreet Boys. I label these “Celebrity Image Building Events,” because some of these comments seem to be very calculated, mentioned in such ways to garner a lot of press and attention, especially the two comments by the “Fashion King” duo. Not as much with the Andy comment but even then i kinda wonder if it was really necessary to mention it. I know fans like knowing everything about their celebrity but knowing such details about how he had to drink himself to sleep sounds a bit extreme? Is this perhaps a way to paint celebrities to look more mortal?

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The Gods Of The East, still can’t afford to have an actual photo framed

YJ – I think there is something truly interesting there, in a psychological perspective. Celebrities feel that they are untouchable in a way that they might be too far from their fans. Their image is polished and marketed in a way that almost turns them into legends. Let’s take for example DBSK, or any other celebrity. Dong Bang Shin Ki, the Gods of the East. Says it all, elevated to the rank of Gods. That is what I meant when I said that the way the public see them is the way they were presented to them. That may be one of the reasons why celebrities want to appear on variety shows and show another side of themselves, more laid back, contrasting with the image and walls they unintentionally built around themselves. That is also probably one of the reasons why they tend to reveal very personal stories about their past as in Shinhwa Andy’s case. Or in the case of the “Fashion King” cast Yuri and Yoo Ah In, try to give a more human dimension to their “character” in order to clash with the sort of dehumanization the star system gives to them. What is more fit to show them in a more approachable way than when they reveal personal stories to the public? When I think of this, the sasaengs come to mind. It could explain why sasaengs want to know everything about their favorite idols to the point that they start stalking them and do extreme things such as violating their privacy and so on. Precisely, to be near their stars, to be seen by them, to “touch” them. Through variety shows, stars want to “give back” to the public and their fans, and this is probably why they seem more honest and prompt to reveal a lot about their personal lives.

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 Yep, definitely Sandra’s brother

LB – Yes, this was one of those points i mentioned during my previous Random Musing article, this issue of saesang fans and how much information stars reveal about themselves. On a more personal level, i’ve always viewed celebrities as people to look up to and therefore “better” than others, in the same i would view pilots being better than everyone else at flying. I like to think that celebrities in a bit of vacuum and over-evaluate their characteristics. So when i see celebrities reveal how they get drunk, smoke etc it actually kind of devalues the celebrity in my eyes. There is definitely appeal to knowing such details about celebrities thou but at the same time, some of the most famous celebrities have built their image around this shroud of secrecy, people like Bae Yong Joon, Seo Taiji and even JYJ/DBSK to a certain extent. Maybe i’m just being greedy but i just prefer having my idealistic view of celebrities untainted by these sort of “confessions.” I watch Variety Shows to escape from the dreary of modern day life, not to be drawn back into it by hearing people that i rate highly discuss the same sort of issues. I know it’s a pretty greedy viewpoint to have but i just sometimes think that some of the things that are “confessed” are best kept secret. Frankly i rather see more stuff like MBLAQ’s Thunder being really …umm… well pretty much being exactly like his sister (*cough* weird and strange and bizarre *cough*) than articles like Andy drinking himself to bed.

I definitely don’t have a room like this with Kara stuff. Honest!

YJ – Don’t you think that there is a sort of a pervy vibe to it when you know all these little disturbing details about your favorite celebrities?

LB – lol sometimes, i’ll be honest despite what i said last week, those Kara figurines are quite appealing. I could like set them up on a little mini stage and make my own variety show and like move them around puppets…uh…yeah this is starting to sound perverted again, maybe i’m a thinly disguised saesang fan as well?

Did you say “2PM Figurines?” Sorry all i heard was Ka Ching!

YJ – I think so too, you could totally fit the criterias. I wouldn’t say no to some 2PM sweaty six pack dolls though.

LB – Ahahaha, perhaps we should move on to our next section before our readers start to think we’re some freaky weirdos?

YJ – We shall then, what would they think of us if we were…Hmm. What’s next on our musings list?

Back to Perverted Land, We discuss thighs of the horse and honey type.

LB – So i’m sure we still have a few readers that have yet to be scared away by our perverted antics, so how about we completely eliminate any readership we have left by straying further along the lines of the “pervert-o-meter” and discuss some juicy thighs? Especially the horse and honey type. Saw some nice articles this week about how Ha Ji Won rated her muscular “horse-like” thighs as the key to the beauty while we had another article about how UEE had supposedly lost her trademark honey thighs, a news that was received with an audible groan from the thousands of dedicated UEE male fans. And on another note, WTF? When did we become so attached to celebrity thighs? I thought such stares were frowned upon? I would think if i was to stare at a girl’s thigh in public, i would get a nice handprint on my face. (And for people that looked at the above paragraph and thought i was talking in some strange alien language, here is the Soompi Glossary to K-pop Culture and Word Usage.)

YJ – First off, what’s all the hype around thighs? I can understand the interest for body lines, S-Lines and so on, although I have yet to find what is so interesting about face shape lines (V-Lines..etc) but thighs? Isn’t there more areas of a woman’‘s body of better interest? Others voluptuous areas I mean.

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As an Aussie and obviously an expert at spiders i can safely say that their legs are definately not the size of spider legs

LB – But But…They are Thighs! You know? Thighs…They are like muscular, long and umm…actually i have no idea why we have such an interest in thighs, i think a lot of this thigh business started with UEE and her “Honey” thighs, which i thought was just a nice way of saying “uh yeah, your thighs are pretty wide.” But then again it’s not like we could blatantly point at a celebrities’ chest and go, “Yeah she has some really nice chest lines.” I think thighs are probably just within the regions of being not too perverted. And healthy thighs do look nice, it’s kind of an extension to having this s-line figure, since it accentuates the hip area and it looks nice in jeans. We had SISTAR’s Hyorin and Bora model some jeans recently and it looks nice since their thighs aren’t the size of spider legs.

YJ – I think this interest for thighs could be linked to Beyonce. Aren’t divas attractive because their body is voluptuous? So by correlation, having animal or honey thighs makes you a diva?  What makes it stupid *cough cough* ridiculously funny is the names they came up with to separate the different kinds of thighs. Who would have thought that Ha Ji Won would choose her thighs as her beauty secret?

This used to be a horse. Past tense “used to be” being the key phrase here.

LB – lol you forgot to mention the key word there, “horse-like,” she rates her thighs as being very horsey. Uh…frankly that brings up some strange imagery, some of which is probably inappropriate in most situations and i won’t mention it here, i’ll just let everyone’s imagination go wild. But in all seriousness, are horse thighs actually nice to look at? I know they’re supposedly to taste very nice on a grill but to actually look at? I don’t know they kind of freak me out. Actual horse thighs that is, i have no objections to Ha Ji Won’s thighs though. Yes it’s true that they are a bit muscular and it kind of makes her look like an Olympic cyclist or Skater but it looks healthy and i guess that’s all the matters. And she is going to need to be healthy considering everything she does lately. Her new drama with Lee Seung Gi, “The King 2hearts” is doing very well, we also had Moon Geun Young saying how she respected Ha Ji Won (I’m guessing this might not extend to the thigh area, the image of Moon Geun Young having muscular thighs gives me the strange tingles), Ha Ji Won wearing the same clothes as SNSD’s Taeyeon and a trailer for her new ping pong related movie, “Korea.” Ha Ji Won has definitely been working like a trusty workhorse that’s for sure.

Yes, cheerleading is the first thing i thought of when i heard those lyrics. In other news i’ve been told i’m extremely oblivious to obvious hints.

YJ – So if I follow, muscular thighs means healthy and looking at Ha Ji Won’s horse thighs makes you hungry? Speaking of “tingle” PLEDIS said that After School’s “Funky Man” expressed “the feelings of a cheerleader.” This part in particular, “Oooh Ooh, a little deeper / shake me around / try and seduce me / for my chest that is pumping / O.K make me tingle like that oh oh oh”  

LB – That sounds about right, think about it, would you eat a wimpy chicken or a big plump juicy chicken? It’s just logical in a strange “thighs = food” type of reasoning. But moving on to your 2nd point, ah that article was one of the highlights of the week and i’m really surprised that PLEDIS actually won that particular case. The “Ministry of Gender Equality and Family” or as i like to call it “The ministry of cranky old people” label anything with even a hint of sexuality as being “Harmful to teenagers.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news Ministry people but there is this amazing thing called the internet these days, i’m sure you’ve heard of it, and there is this amazing service called Google. Trust me when i say that if you find lyrics like that offensive then a quick search on Google is going to cause your poor old hearts to burst with surprise as you worry about “OMG Think of the Children!” Seriously in that case, we should also be banning photoshoots like UEE’s Golf Related Photoshoot and UEE’s Single’s Photoshoot. You know, teenagers could look at those pictures and harm themselves, not sure how but they could! But frankly that lyric is pretty obvious, it’s one of those really obvious “Wink Wink Nudge Nudge, Imagine it, you know, it’s sexual, ah do you see it? Wink Wink Nudge Nudge.”

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Look! She is looking at us in a sexy way! Teenagers could look at that and get the wrong ideas!

YJ – I would go for a big plump juicy chicken for sure. Surprisingly, all this talk of horse and honey thighs made me hungry: “Thighs = food, brain = got it.” Moving on to After School, what was PLEDIS thinking? Where is the link between “Funky Man” the song’s title and the supposed cheerleading concept? I mean, if it was a cheerleading song, shouldn’t the title at least hint at it? Poor old folks at the MOGEF don’t seem to know about the vast and scary world of the interweb, that or they just want to fool around and as U-Kiss would put it “You Make Me Pissed Off” entertainment agencies.

PLEDIS, they are the either geniuses or just extremely oblivious.

LB – Well credit where credit is due, i can respect the fact that PLEDIS is so brazen about it. Yeah “Oooh Ooh, a little deeper…” has plenty to do with cheerleading, yeah you just don’t understand our artistic qualities. And you know “Funky Man,” since they are athletes and they sweat a lot, they smell a bit funky, hence the title. Well at least that’s how i imagine that appeal went. Like i said, credit where credit is due, you literally have to be quite brazen to pull off something like this and actually win. And to be honest i really think MOGEF is just a massive troll in the entertainment agency, i don’t get how the “Ministry of Gender Equality and Family” has anything to do with censorship. Shouldn’t they be more worried about, you know Gender Equality and Family? It kind of says so in their title, their title isn’t the “Ministry of Censorship and Sexual Content Limitation.”

YJ – PLEDIS is probably too smart for us to understand what they meant and on what was their appeal based on.  My friend, I don’t get it either, how are the folks at MOGEF in charge of what it is said in songs? Or do they have like a secret division, underground, MIB style where they discuss the new releases in the music industry and wonder how they can stop them from singing a certain song? How is it that they didn’t do anything when SHINee released their teaser images? You know, those pervy teasers showing Taemin and Minho half naked, the ones you mentioned in one of your musings? Shouldn’t this “harm the younger audience?” Imagine a super division of old folks wearing tuxedos and sunglasses, talking about your favorite artists’ comebacks?

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 MOGEF: Lyrics about sexuality? A big no-no. Half Naked Guy that looks like a kid? Perfectly fine with that!

LB – ah yes, those teasers, i still remember them despite my best efforts to erase them from my memory. I think “Gender Equality” probably means “Feminism For the Win!” so they are more worried about things that negatively impact females but males that look like kids half naked? Perfectly fine by their standards. In some ways thou that could be a cool job to have, a secret agent with the MOGEF and all you do is listen to music, watch TV shows and just complain about the faintest hint of sexuality. I kind of like the appeal of that job. Who wouldn’t want a job where you get to rule the entertainment world with an iron fist? Anyway i think we have scared off all our readers now, so any last words to end our little escapade into the world of thighs? (We’ve gotten a bit off topic haven’t we, kind of went from thighs to talking about Cranky Old Men.)

YJ – (Yeah, again, sounds pervy. Cranky Old Men and thighs, how in the world did we end here?) Anyways, a word of advice for our precious readers. Do not trust everything you see on TV as good as it may sound, it might just be scripted OR… the truth. You choose. Thighs can be your beauty secret, yes, we learn something everyday don’t we? And old folks apparently enjoy “making us pissed off.”