It turns out that between a dissertation, the demands of the school year, increased Jukebox activity (well, you’d be more active too, if you saw all our cool new writers), and other shifts in my life, something had to give, and that something turned out to be this blog.
(listening to Fugazi right now, natch.)
I’ll keep my ask box open but may not be all that swift at checking messages. And there will be Twitter.
in the meantime, y’all keep doing what you’re doing. Tumblr has been a place for learning, growing, and meeting interesting people, and I am so grateful that y’all have been out there, sharing and letting me listen.
CALLING ALL STUDENTS OF ANTHROPOLOGY, ETHNOGRAPHY, AND RESEARCHERS OF QUALITATIVE SOCIAL STUDIES!
Hallyu Ethnography is a just-launched network of students in these fields who research, write, and read academic work on K-Pop and contemporary Korean pop media. We aim to be a place where college undergrads, unpublished Masters candidates and unaffiliated lay researchers (etc) can network to share ideas, resources, and inspiration. We aim to make our data sources available to each other as much as possible, and to encourage students at all levels to ask difficult (or even embarrassing!) questions. We’re looking for members who want to share their ideas and help others develop their own, give and get feedback on work, and provide a future professional/academic network for those of us who wish to pursue this area of study.
Please boost this even if you’re not interested in joining in case you have interested followers! Tweet it! Spread it on any network you can! Researchers on this subject are few and far between and we need your help to reach everyone!
If you’re interested in helping document the influence of kpop, kdramas, k-indie, k-cinema, or all of the above, please consider joining this group! At the very least, we’ll trade a lot of free pdfs on Hallyu, but more importantly, it’ll be a collaboration to systematically build the knowledge base about k-fandom.
Sprawl apologists like Joel Kotkin like to trumpet the continuing population shift to sunbelt metros of the southern US as proof that people prefer to live in these car-centric places that are spread out far and wide — as opposed to compact, walkable cities.
Others believe that there’s a draw to sunbelt states because of pro-business, low-regulation policies that allow for better wages. New York Time columnist Paul Krugman recently wrote an excellent piece that counters that argument, pointing out that, though the population shift is undeniable:
[From 2000-2012] greater Atlanta’s population grew almost 27 percent, and greater Houston’s grew almost 30 percent. America’s center of gravity is shifting south and west.
…this shift to the sunbelt isn’t due to wages:
The average job in greater Houston pays 12 percent less than the average job in greater New York; the average job in greater Atlanta pays 22 percent less.
In other words, what the facts really suggest is that Americans are being pushed out of the Northeast (and, more recently, California) by high housing costs rather than pulled out by superior economic performance in the Sunbelt.
The other draw that sunbelt metros are assumed to have is lower costs of living due to more affordable housing. And though the houses themselves may be lower in price, a new study shows that overall living costs are actually higher in these sprawling, car-centric areas due to transportation spending. Kaid Benfield has the info here: How Transit, Walkability Help Make Cities More Affordable.
A quote from Benfield:
The least affordable cities when housing and transportation costs are combined and compared to typical household income turn out to be sprawling, Sun Belt cities: Riverside, California; Miami; and Jacksonville. Those three cities also have the study’s highest transportation costs for a typical household, because of high rates of driving and relatively low use of mass transit.
So even though lower home prices are an obvious draw to sunbelt metros — and appear to be the sole reason behind the population shift — these prices aren’t low enough to truly provide a cost-of-living advantage over more walkable cities when we factor in the big costs of car-centric living.
Places that are more compact and walkable offer more transportation choices, rather than tying all residents to expensive car mobility. Additionally, they provide a built environment that gives multiple generations of residents the ability to get around without a car.
As I’ve written before, when we build car-sprawl for the middle-class car owners of today, we’re also building environments that will be eventually devalued by the common trends of the real estate market and that will likely be housing the low-income populations of the future. It’s better to pass along walkable environments to future inhabitants of our places than saddling yet another generation with car dependency.
The answer to a more sustainable pattern of housing affordability is not to accept car-centric sprawl as inevitable — it’s to find ways to create lower housing costs inside walkable environments and encourage a population shift within that format.
Top photo of Atlanta suburbs by Flickr user Maik
Bottom photo of Atlanta traffic by Flickr user Craig Allen
Much as I’d like all this to be true, from a policy standpoint (as opposed to a suburban-homeowner standpoint), I’m not fully convinced the “when you factor in sprawl, cheap is actually expensive” argument holds up after a closer look at the data.
The CBCNY policy brief, which the HuffPo article draws from, is in turn based on HUD’s Location Affordability Index — which anyone can play with, hooray! But if you put in, say, Palo Alto, you get an estimated $29,680 in annual housing costs for owners. Zillow currently calls Palo Alto’s estimated average home value at $2.03m, or $1,112 per square foot. $29,680 makes for about $2,500 a month payments; even if you assume the HUD’s calculator isn’t factoring in taxes, I’m a little skeptical that you can get a $2m home for $2,500 a month.
(To put it another way: out of curiosity I put in Cumming, GA, which nearly an hour’s drive outside Atlanta; the Forsyth County schools are supposed to be decent, but otherwise there is no reason to move to Cumming unless you want a cheap, large suburban house or you like the churches. The HUD LAI gave $17,816 in average annual housing owernship costs, so the cost of owning a house in Cumming is 60% the cost of owning a house in Palo Alto. That could well be true — I just would have guessed the difference was greater.)
HUD actually addresses this in their FAQ:
Manhattan, San Francisco, and downtown Boston are some of the most expensive places to live in the country, yet the LAI shows them as affordable for the typical regional household. Why?
These areas have some of the lowest transportation costs in the country, which helps offset the high cost of housing. The area median income (AMI) in these regions is also high, so when costs are shown as a percent of income for the typical regional household these neighborhoods appear affordable; however, they are generally unaffordable to households earning less than the AMI.
My other raised eyebrow is based on the chart (in the CBCNY brief) from which the Riverside/Miami/Jacksonville sentence comes:
The key words in that head being “selected” and “cities.” How did the CBCNY writers decide which cities to include? And if you’re comparing cities, then a lot of the suburban sprawl is going to get lost. My house isn’t within the boundaries of the City of Atlanta. Cities whose boundaries contain a lot of sprawl will rank higher on transportation costs, but that’s a factor of political boundary-drawing, not necessarily land use patterns.
I don’t want to overstate my skepticism; this is obviously a pretty superficial set of objections. And I agree with the larger point that more walkable neighborhoods age better. But I’m not sure what’s presented here is enough evidence to say “these prices aren’t low enough to truly provide a cost-of-living advantage over more walkable cities.”
Mr. Chung later found a job unloading American military supplies at a wharf. He told the authors that he quit after tiring of being called “a gook” and seeing colleagues beaten. He rejoined the police, and at night completed a law degree.
But he could not escape his psychological prison. “For the father who left his family to the mercy of American soldiers, no prayer could lift the weight,” he said, adding, “I was a cowardly father.”
Whoa! That Yasutaka Nakata panel sounds awesome, I wanna hear how that goes. And of course, happy birthday!!
(and thank you)
picsnstuf replied to your photo “It’s pushing 90 degrees Fahrenheit here, so you get a sweaty birthday…”
Hope you have a great birthday! I don’t think I’ve ever seen your tat before.
This reminds me to re-announce that any of y’all who would like to see my tattoo in person can do so at Anime Weekend Atlanta in approximately one month, where I will be hosting two (two!) panels, one on the collected works of Yasutaka Nakata and one on K-pop in Japan. I intend for both panels to be highly interactive, so if you have ever attempted to karaoke “Chocolate Disco,” contemplated KARA’s simultaneous Korean and Japanese careers, or just imagined yourself in a selfie with Kyary, you are welcome to come on by.
Also in attendance will be Dave, a.k.a. Mr. picsnstuf, who will be presenting Anime Hell, as usual; my good friend E, who got me onto Tumblr in the first place; and a tall guy with a buzz cut (not my husband) who will undoubtedly sit eight rows back and mutter under his breath at how terrible I’m doing, and I will take this as a show of support, having known him for fifteen years.
(for those wondering: AWA’s anti-harassment policy is laid out here.)
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and chiming in (in response to this)!
I watched the video again with your interpretation in mind. It’s hard to reconcile with the ballet sequence, which is the opener. We don’t see Swift trying to “fit in” at all — she’s not stretching, she’s not in sync with the other dancers. She does make the attempt with the breakdancers, kinda, sorta, but she tries only half-heartedly to imitate what’s going on with the twerkers, the gymnasts, and the modern dancers.
And at least in the video, the haters aren’t hating. I couldn’t catch any examples of the dancers judging her (as opposed to, say, the friends in the cafeteria in “Ours”). On the contrary, she’s the one who looks nonplussed (in the modern dance sequence) or half-impressed, half-amused (in response to the twerking).
I wish the video had had more sequences of her attempting to learn, as she does with (in my ignorance I’ll call him) The Guy with the Fingers. Then it would come off as more of a give-and-take: the dancers teaching her a craft, her providing them the space to loosen up and express themselves more casually. For what it’s worth, my guess is that Real-Life Taylor Swift is much more respectful of craft practiced for long hours than she comes across as in the “Shake It Off” video — we know she knows something about what makes a story and what makes a hook — but as far as the video goes, I don’t see the concerns for the dancers’ opinions that you see.
It’s pushing 90 degrees Fahrenheit here, so you get a sweaty birthday selfie.
I don’t think I’ve shown y’all the tattoo yet, although I got it in December. It’s taken from an Alexander Calder lithograph, Curly Star and Moon, and if you happen to find an image of said lithograph online, let me know; I found it in a late-1970s black-and-white exhibition catalog. I took the catalog to Rachel-Anne and we worked the color details out.
(Full disclosure: while Rachel-Anne was great to work with, there was a fair bit of Confederate imagery present at Liberty Tattoo, and I swear the woman who checked me in on the day of — not Rachel-Anne — had a swastika ring, so I can’t recommend going to Liberty in good conscience.)
People — my grandmother, especially — asked me why, and I couldn’t say, “Because of my mother,” because my mother would have cried, at a minimum, to see me tattooed. I considered getting a tattoo while she was alive, on and off, but never seriously, in part because I knew how much she’d disapprove. The tattoo thus became proof that she is no longer here to disapprove. I call it my star/scar sometimes.
And it had to be December. When I’m eighty, I tell people, and I’m old and faded and wrinkly and the tattoo is, too, I can look down at it and say, That was from the year my mother died. The people who were closest to her will fade one by one; my daughers will lose what memories of her they have; the era she lived in will grow more and more distant; but the tattoo will still be there. In a way it is my wearing my heart on my sleeve — the heart I have now: shaped first by her love and now affected permanently by her absence.
This is my second birthday without her calling me to say, “Happy birthday, sweetheart!” and me cheerfully reminding her how many years it’s been since she became a mom. I was lucky enough to have a loving mother. A lot is not the same without her, birthdays included. I wear the proof on my skin.
The Jukebox is behind on its Tumblr-ing, because we’ve been busy, including contributing 24 blurbs on the subject of “Shake It Off.” The one most worth reading is Sabina’s, which I will quote here:
This is what bothers me about Taylor in her twenties: the self-image she communicates hasn’t kept up with her growing privilege and reach. Taylor tended to present as the awkward, uncool, normal-ish kid — not popular or bullied but sidelined — even though she was objectively blonde/thin/gorgeous and a multi-platinum selling songwriting prodigy… The world is a riot of ladders, and one can be at top and bottom simultaneously — one can stand on the next-to-top rung and still look up. The worst shit in the world happens because people believe they’re still punching up when they’re punching down or sideways.
I’ve been thinking about this song — the video, truthfully — all week, but I limited my blurb to the song itself (mostly). Then when I read Sabina’s I thought she had articulated a point I was having trouble with; but if y’all will bear with me, I’d like to elaborate a little further.
First, I don’t actually think the main problem with “Shake It Off” is racism. Yes, we have White Girl Failing at Twerking, but that’s after we see White Girl Failing at Ballet, White Girl Failing at Breakdance, and White Girl Failing at Rhythmic Gymnastics. Twerking is a form of dance, not an example of black women doing the crazy sexualized things that black women do. As far as backdrops-for-Taylor-Swift go, ballet and twerking are equivalent. Which is a more respectful statement about twerking than, say, Hyuna manages to make.
This piece, which is partially about “Red”, got me thinking about the politics of backup dancers — I’m still hoping we get to hear more about and from the black dancer in “Red” — and so when I watched “Shake It Off” I saw a number of very hard-working craftspeople with potentially interesting stories to tell. Why shouldn’t we learn more about the twerkers? Or the guy who appears to have rubber arms? Or the expressive modern dancers? Because it’s a Taylor Swift video. But what is Taylor Swift doing? What has she done, in the context of “Shake It Off,” to earn our attention? Nothing. We’re supposed to understand, implicitly, that even when Taylor Swift is presenting herself as the least disciplined person in the video, she should still be the focus of attention and sympathy, simply because she’s Taylor Swift.
So my problem with “Shake It Off” isn’t that it’s racist; it’s that it’s antidemocratic. I don’t dislike Taylor Swift, but I do dislike this presentation of Taylor Swift, coasting on hierarchies, condescendingly assuming that to present herself as “one of us” she should be goofy and clumsy and vaguely rebellious, while in the background the “us” have no such luxury. From one clumsy, overprivileged white woman to another: Taylor Swift, get out of the damn way.
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker!
sunggyu: PLAY MY SONG IT’S CALLED 60 SECONDS BUY MY ALBUM but not on ebay because i wont profit official sellers only WHO WANTS TO KARAOKE ME??
dongwoo: this rounds on me! next round’s on me! everything on me. i pay it all come to big daddy dongwoo
woohyun: infinite, i love you all so much, can we please do a group hug? if we dont hug i think i will die right now *throw hearts to himself, clutches chest, falls over*
hoya: step on my face please sungjong… not. im joking, okay well not really, wait you dont want to? yeah i was joking haha jokes on YOU, im hilarious
sungyeol: did you know that females process alcohol less well than males? did you know an octopus has 3 hearts? did you know i only had TWO SHOTS and i am
trashedsober right now? test my balance i dare you. i can walk in a straight li- *falls over next to woohyun*
myungsoo: does anyone want to pokemon battle? i am serious. i brought my pink 3ds and if you lock eyes with me that means we must prepare to fight. *aggressively stares*
sungjong: ok hoya you may bring me an ice cream, actually 12 please, in different flavors and you can bathe in the ones that melt before i eat them. bring peppermint or fear for your life