How to effectively criticize someone

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How to effectively criticize someone

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O Deok-hu is a fictional name that sounds like otaku in Japanese. It is used to refer to people with obsessive interests in trends or hobbies. Likewise, Pak Sun-hi is pronounced similar to ppasuni, which refers to a female follower of something popular. Whang Sang-min, a psychology professor at Yonsei University, predicted that otaku and ppasuni would emerge as a driving force of consumer society.

In cyberspace, otaku and ppasuni are very much mainstream. The objects of their attention are diverse; from merchandise such as Kim Yu-na earrings, the movie “The War,” to participation in candlelight vigils.

O Deok-hu and Pak Sun-hi are names for fans, though they have had a strong negative nuance in the past. The former is notorious for a closed and escapist image, as he or she indulges in something, while the latter belittles females who follow stars blindly.

The nuance of the words was mitigated when the word “fandom” started to be used in the middle of the 2000s. Fandom refers to the followers of pop culture, especially those who consume cultural products.

The fandom phenomenon represented by otaku and ppasuni includes the emergence of “anti-fans,” as well. They are people who, for a variety of reasons, dislike a famous person to the point where they will speak against them online. Paris Hilton, heiress of the founder of Hilton hotels, increased her number of anti-fans by willfully boosting her image as a wealthy airhead. But the louder her anti-fans spoke out, the more prosperous were her business ventures.

In a digital society, where having critics in cyberspace is better than having no critics at all, the anti-fan phenomenon is a paradox.

The war of words between supporters of Shim Hyong-rae and critics of his latest movie is a good example.

As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity and the more critics spoke out, the more free publicity the movie was awarded. After culture critic Jin Jung-gwon remarked that it was a poorly made movie, “Jin Jung-gwon,” “Shim Hyong-rae” and the movie, “Last Godfather” were ranked among the most searched words on the Internet. The film attracted nearly 2 million viewers in the next 10 days.

Sometimes, if you want to criticize someone, it would be more effective to keep your mouth shut.

*The writer is a culture and sports reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.


By Ki Sun-min
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