Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chicago is the World » This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We’re a Culture, not a Costume.

As Halloween nears, whenever I teach late, I come home to find a different cast of characters galloping triumphant through my house, including Howl’s Moving Castle, pirate vs. ninja, kung fu masters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Steampunk, Goth Lolis, and more. A raucous combination of cosplay and Halloween, the spirit is festive, the creativity fun, the details impressive. Last week, even my old prom and wedding dresses were both trotted out and Steampunked. “Don’t you kids have homework to do?”

And the background music in our house these past few weeks has been Psy’s “Gangnam Style” with its driving beat and in all its many variations (UC Berkeley Style,Michigan Style, Gundam Style, My Little Pony Style, Umma Style,Lungi Style, Klingon Style, Mitt Romney Style).

For several weeks, which is unheard of in internet time, folks have been loving and discussing and parodying Korean rapper Psy’s music video, “Gangnam Style.” With its cool style and critical social commentary and fun dance moves, it is now the most viewed YouTube video ever. I love what Asian Americans in particular have been doing with “Gangnam Style,” although I am also wary that some of its crazy popularity might rub a little too close for comfort to laughable Asian male stereotypes—is the mainstream laughing at or with Psy?

However, all alarms went off when I realized that Psy is going to be a huge Halloween costume this year. In the Los Angeles Times article announcing Psy’s new clothing line with Jill Stuart, also came the announcement that Halloween costume companies were putting together Gangnam Style Halloween costumes: “Party City said it has costume accessories in stock to pull off a “Gangnam Style” costume. ‘We expect this to be a HUGE costume trend this year,’ spokeswoman Ressa Tomkiewicz wrote in an email.”

click on link for whole article: Chicago is the World » This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We’re a Culture, not a Costume.

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