A reader writes:
Max Fisher's article on Psy is woefully inadequate. Granted, it was probably the best article on Psy to appear in the Western press, but it is still pretty ignorant about Korea and the Korean music scene. One, satire and social criticism is hardly new in Korea or its music industry. The rock scene of the 1970s wasn't scared about criticizing the government (well, they weren't until Park Chung Hee threw them all in jail and blacklisted them in 1976). Seo Taiji – the biggest thing in modern Korean music, from 1993 – really took a hiphop-tinged axe to modern Korean culture.
Two, Psy is hardly making subversive social criticism.
He's the goofy son of a rich family who has been making shallow, vaguely braggadocios/self-depreciating dance-pop for years. Three, Fisher should be aware that the doenjangnyeo stereotype he claims is being criticized (Psy's song only touches on this) is actually quite misogynist, and is more about young women being uppity and not knowing their place than it is about nouveau riche poseurs.
In short, Psy is very much of Gangnam, not a critic taking aim at the neighborhood or its cultural pretensions. It's basically the Korean Right Said Fred of 2012. If you want to hear some great Korean pop, you should check out Neon Bunny.