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[S4E47] How Double Dare You! [TOP]

In Busan's Daeyeon-dong, Colin talks with James Turnbull, author of The Grand Narrative, a blog on Korean feminism, sexuality, and popular culture. They discuss what Westerners find so unappealing about Korean plastic surgery; the associations of the "double eyelids" so often surgically created; why he used to believe that Koreans "want to look white"; the meaning of such mystifying terms as "V-line," "S-line," and "small face"; the uncommon seriousness about the Western-invented concept of the "thigh gap"; how corn tea became publicly associated with the shape of the drinker's jaw; Korea's status as the only OECD country with young women getting thinner, not fatter; Korean advertising culture and the extent of its involvement with the "minefield" of Korean irony; the prominence of celebrities in Korean ads, and why the advertisers don't like it; how long it takes to get tired of the pop industry's increasingly provocative "sexy concepts"; the result of Korea's lack of Western-style reality television; how making-of documentaries about 15-second commercials make the viewers feel closer to the celebrities acting in them; why he doesn't want his daughters internalizing the Korean sense of hierarchy; why an expat hates Korea one day and loves it the next; how much homework his daughters do versus how much homework he did; the true role of private academies in Korea, and what he learned when he taught at one himself; the issues with English education in Korea and the oft-heard calls for its reform; the parallels between English test scores and cosmetic surgery procedures; the incomprehension that greets students of the Korean language introduced to the concept of "pretending to be pretty"; and how to describe the way Korean superficiality differs from the Western variety.

[S4E47] How Double Dare You!

Colin Marshall sits down in Kobe, Japan with guitarist, improviser, and sound artist Tim Olive, whose latest album is 33 Bays with Alfredo Costa Monteiro. They discuss Japan's importance to global experimental music culture; his own swerve toward experimentation after a western Canadian childhood spent listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid; his early exploration of Javanese music in a Saskatchewan record library; how a Québécois girlfriend took him from Montreal to Osaka, where he lost "the rage"; how struck he felt by the sea of black hair Japan first presented to him; Osaka's "glorious ugliness," Nara's deer, and Kobe's wild pigs (just one of the signs of its close proximity to nature); his lack of a computer until last year, his longstanding ambivalence toward digital technology, and the double-edged sword of the internet's power to open up everything all at once; his workshop full of guitars in various states of dismantlement, and the importance of instrument modification to the physicality and sense of touch in music, both of which he prizes; Japan's distinctive combination of the highest new technology and the oldest traditions, as seen in the zoning collage of Osaka where venerable temples meet up with glossy love hotels; the fluid senses of time and space one must cultivate when moving between the West and the East, or even between Asian countries; his "under the table"-style freedom in Japan, and the other kinds of freedom the country affords, such as to one particular naked salaryman before the cops caught up with him; 845 Audio, the label he founded to release 33 Bays without delay; and his recommendations for getting tapped into the Kansai experimental music scene.

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Tom Lutz, founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and author of the books Crying, American Nervousness, 1903, Cosmopolitan Vistas, and Doing Nothing. They discuss whether the internet has brought about a new golden age of the essay; giving writers the word count they need to write about the subjects they want to, such as the literature of Romania; "publish what you want to read" as a guiding editing principle as "write what you want to read" is a guiding writing principle; the team of specialized editors that help him sift through a hundred pitches per day; why on Earth the name Los Angeles Review of Books was still available in the 21st century, and the seat of its "steampunk" appeal; the curiously "doubled relationship" non-New Yorkers have to New York publishing; how his readership turned immediately global, and whether coming from as international a city as Los Angeles necessarily entails that; the internationalism of "taco trucks and Korean spas," and the attendant indifference of distinction between "high" and "low" culture; connection as the very purpose of essays, and cosmopolitanism and debate as the essence of literary culture; the possible corrupting influences of the review form itself; the surprising pieces he has run, such as Ben Ehrenreich's consideration of the "death of the book" which became a consideration of Bruno Schulz; what's to be done about the divide between popular writing and "professionally deformed" academic writing; the value of clarity, honesty, curiosity, and a little bit of obscurity; whether to rule out the parts of Los Angeles by now written into the ground, such as the freeways, the beach, and the entertainment business; his early wanderings through Los Angeles and how they placed him in the city the way books couldn't; and literature's inability to catch up with the expansiveness of Los Angeles, the way he couldn't read everything printed in the year 1903, and the way even Herbert Spencer couldn't capture his entire life in his three-volume autobiography. 041b061a72


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