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Open City Mag - An Asian American Writers Workshop joint

Open City Mag - An Asian American Writers Workshop joint | Korean Wave | Scoop.it

Sukjong Hong provides an examination of the meaning of Gangnam style as a metaphor for wealth in Korea.  Its meaning resonates within an American context when South Korean students from the neighborhood study in the United States.  This is a more interesting take on Psy's recent American popularity, but how does the average American read the satire, if at all?

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Culturally and Socially Significant K-pop and K-drama
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The Daily Beast Takes on Black K-Pop Fans?

The Daily Beast Takes on Black K-Pop Fans? | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Hear those rap interludes, ultra-catchy choruses, and dance breaks? MisterPopoTV is here to show you that African Americans can be into Korean pop music.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

It’s nice when major news outlets recognize that black K-pop fans are part of the general K-pop fandom. However, this piece trades in overused tropes about race and K-pop.  Many of the black K-pop fans I know would not recognize themselves in this piece. However, they would recognize the repeated assumptions made about African Americans and K-pop.

 

This piece reinforces the notion that it is strange for African Americans to like K-pop, even as it tries to disabuse readers of that notion. Given that K-pop utilizes R&B and hip-hop and that K-pop artists have been collaborating with black music artists since the 1990s, it should surprise no one that K-pop has black fans.  In addition to the K-pop’s godfather, Seo Taiji, artists such as uber-producer Yoo Young Jin, first generation girl group Baby V.O.X and pioneer hip-hop group Jinusean collaborated on tracks with African American artists.  Often, these collaborations occur on albums, not on promoted tracks where casual K-pop fans spend most of their energy.

 

The piece also features black K-pop fans who share their views on the web via YouTube and tumblr. While they are the most visible on the Internet, they are not necessarily the most representative.  Like most global K-pop fans, black K-pop fans access their K-pop through the Internet, but do not participate in K-pop via the Internet. Many do not make reaction videos, write about K-pop or leave comments on social media. In other words, a more realistic look at black K-pop fans would be to see who shows up to concerts, or track their viewing habits, something increasingly difficult with the changes in the information provided by analytics of social media sites.

 

Moreover, while hip-hop has a clear impact on K-pop, R&B has even more. All of the Big Three Korean agencies produce groups that delve into a variety of R&B genres. This makes sense, especially for those seeking wide mainstream appeal. Despite its long and staid history, hip-hop is still viewed by some as youth culture that challenges authority and the status quo, something that turns off older generations.  However, a wider variety of people find soul ballads or even R&B-inspired dance tracks appealing.  By suggesting  “the genre’s hip-hop influences act as a gateway drug,” it ignores the wide variety of music within K-pop as well as the ability of black fans to like aspects of K-pop that do not involve hip-hop. 

The article also continues to promote the reductive argument that combines misappropriation, authenticity and K-pop.  Given that both black culture and K-pop are hybrid types of cultural production, drawing hard and fast rules who can and cannot borrow and under what circumstances is nearly impossible, as consensus is hard to come by.  Are black K-pop fans required to express “a genuine desire to connect” with Korean culture? When the article takes the expected turn to blackface in Korean popular culture, it makes it seem that racism runs rampant in K-pop, and in doing so, recycles this tired cliché about race and K-pop:  “Incidents of blackface and other similarly offensive events happen so often in Korean pop culture that one might attribute it to some sort of cultural naiveté or ignorance of historical context.”  There are far more incidents of blackface in the country that originated it than in Korean pop culture and the article distorts instances of blackface to make a false point about racism and K-pop.

Black K-pop fans are quite savvy and diverse, and this article only shows a glimpse of them.

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K-pop and the Middle East: The Foray

K-pop and the Middle East: The Foray | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
When ZE:A announced that they were traveling to the United Arab Emirates for a fan sign – my immediate thought was “Who’s gonna turn up?”
Thousands did.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

K-pop continues its spread around the world, and this article examines recent forays of K-pop artists into the region.

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The Way Forward: Sam Hammington

The Way Forward: Sam Hammington | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
The entry of non-Koreans in to the Korean entertainment scene has gained a steady momentum in the past few years. These non-Koreans have mainly stuck to the idol industry — debuting with girl and guy groups too many to mention.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Just some questions: Why is Korean entertainment obligated to embrace non-Koreans in its industry? Are other national entertainment industries obligated to do the same? if so, how is the United States, home of Hollywood, one of the biggest entertainment industries on the planet, doing with embracing international stars into its entertainment industry?  

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Super Junior talks to gov't

Super Junior talks to gov't | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Super Junior, Left to Right : Choi Si-won, Eun-hyuk, Sin Dong-hee, Sungmin, Henry and Zhou Mi Members of the K-pop group Super Junior visited the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul, yester
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

K-pop artists frequently represent not just sources of entertainment for fans, but also participate in government conversations related to Hallyu, the Korean wave. 

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The 1960′s American K-Pop Tale of “The Kim Sisters”: From Post War Korean Poverty to USA Prime Time

The 1960′s American K-Pop Tale of “The Kim Sisters”: From Post War Korean Poverty to USA Prime Time | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
If asked “What is the first Korean music you were introduced to?” how would you respond? Fans from the 90′s might say H.O.T., Seo Taiji and Boys, g.o.d, Fin.k.l and etc.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This is a great article about the Kim Sisters, showing the lesser-known aspects of Korean celebrity before Hallyu-era K-pop idols. 

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Princeton professor’s take on K-Drama

Princeton professor’s take on K-Drama | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Endings are often too “corny,” and the really bad characters are forgiven too easily   By Park Si-soo A lecture presentation written in English popped up on Facebook several weeks ago, instantly taking Korean users of the social network website by...
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

K-dramas have large followings among a diverse audience. Here in the United States, K-drama viewership is up. The article seems to be more of a personal take on K-dramas, but overlooks some of the other reasons why viewers watch K-drama, reasons that include the high production values, global locations and the glimpses into Korean society. Many K-drama viewers watch modern K-dramas, and tend to like the romantic comedies and melodramas more so than historical K-dramas. Those who watch historical K-dramas like the narratives as well as the costuming and historic settings. 

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Gummy Leaves YG and Signs Exclusive Contract with JYJ’s C-JeS Entertainment

Gummy Leaves YG and Signs Exclusive Contract with JYJ’s C-JeS Entertainment | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
It’s official! Gummy will be joining JYJ at C-JeS Entertainment.
K-Pop officials confirmed on October 24 Gummy has signed an exclusive contract with C-JeS Entertainment.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This particular move is interesting. YG has  reuptation for giving its artist more creative freedom, yet Gummy did not renew her contract. Instead, Gummy becomes the second musical act represented by C-JeS. One can only speculate as to what motivated her decision, but this challenges the notion that artists never have the freedom to make such decisions. 

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Album Review: Drunken Tiger's "The Cure"

Album Review: Drunken Tiger's "The Cure" | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
After a four-year hiatus and hot on the heels of Tiger JK’s departure from Jungle Entertainment, Drunken Tiger returns with The Cure, the “group”’s ninth release.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

While we can all disagree on the technical or aesthetic aspects of music and have different opinions on what is good or bad, this article reflects the tendency to reduce hip hop to just one mode. Even as it identifies Tiger JK's personal travails as inspiration for the release, it blasts the The Cure because of its lack of "acid flows, endless cool, and sick production."  Erika explains that "the emotional sentiments are as hackneyed as the beats, not because Tiger JK comes from a place of insincerity, but because the audience has been there, done that, and come home with the t-shirt." Overall, Erika says that this album is not up to Tiger JK's previous work because its too mello and not "bombastic" enough. 


Such opinions represent a refusal to allow hip-hop to grow and change. It keeps hip-hop on one setting, and discourages innovation, or even anything that deviates from a norm that defines hip-hop as hard. We've seen this before, when the norm became gangster rap, and other modes fell to the wayside, and many regret that turn. As Mark Anthony Neal once said, hip-hop has a mortgage. If it is truly a mode for personal expression, then it follows that personal circumstances change, and it may not be as important to talk about what's going on in the club anymore. In addition, the relentless quest for "something new" from artists is just unrealistic to maintain, and at some point, artists of a certain level cease to have to prove themselves. 

 

If we are going to talk about Tiger JK's dialogue with various musical traditions, I would expect the musical knowledge of writers to be wide and varied enough to bring a critical eye to the musical traditions at play, musical references that go beyond the 1980s. 

 

 

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Roundtable: Is Korean Hip-Hop Getting a Bad Rap?

Roundtable: Is Korean Hip-Hop Getting a Bad Rap? | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
K-hip-hop came to forefront of the news when Swings pushed the first domino by releasing “King Swings,” a track intending to have a similar effect as that of Kendrick Lamar‘s feature in Big Sean‘s “Control” in the US.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Underneath the conversation about the diss tracks is some discourse about how, as one participant puts it, "With K-pop, we are able to enjoy everything even without knowing what they are singing about due to the visual aspect of their performances. But that is not present in K-hip-hop where their artistry relies on understanding of their songs in their full context with their slang, metaphors, puns and every other wordplay that is out there."  While lyrics are significant, they are not the only component of hip hop music. Some would argue that the beat is equally important, and that musical aspect is something that transcends spoken language.  Others would point to a general spirit of individualism in hip hop that speaks to people around the world. People who don't listen to KHip-Hop because of the language probably aren't listening to much music in any language beyond their own.   Lots of insight about the global spread of hip-hop can be found in Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, edited by Tony Mitchell.

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'Crayon Pop' profiled on U.S. program (2013/08/30)

'Crayon Pop' profiled on U.S. program (2013/08/30) | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
The U.S. morning show "Good Morning America", broadcast a report about the Korean girl group Crayon Pop on Wednesday, under the title "Will Crayon Pop Create a 'Gangnam Style' Sensation?
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Appearances by K-pop groups like Crayon Pop on American television provide opportunities for exposure to mainstream audiences. At the same time, Crayon Pop is only one kind of K-pop, and as the story links the group's work to the wacky antics of Psy, I wonder if this is the only kind of K-pop that mainstream audiences will accept (or the only kind of K-pop that they will be exposed to). Again, these are images of Asian women that do not challenge the way Americans think of Asian women. 

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2AM's performance was the best non kpop at Kcon (they are ballad) them signing just the way you are made me cry and I didn't really care for the song when it first came out but they made so beautif...

2AM's performance was the best non kpop at Kcon (they are ballad) them signing just the way you are made me cry and I didn't really care for the song when it first came out but they made so beautif... | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
I’ll go look for fancams a little later in the day, but that sounds lovely *O* I really enjoy 2AM :D 
-Admin Kim
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Categorization is something that can be really useful in navigating the K-pop world, but sometimes it can be too restrictive. Given the group's history, style of music, and mode of promotion, it is difficult to say that 2AM is not a K-pop group. However, the comment reflects a desire to distance 2AM from groups at the forefront of K-pop, namely, idol groups.  However, K-pop is a style of music with many genres and different kinds of groups.  

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Koyote teases a comeback single (2013/07/23)

Koyote teases a comeback single (2013/07/23) | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Dance group Koyote unveiled its first teaser video yesterday for its coming single set to be released this Thursday.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Unless a K-pop group has officially disbanded, it is always poised for a comeback. Koyote last released material in 2011, but now they are staging a comeback.

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Token White Member: The Problem With Foreign K-pop Idols

Token White Member: The Problem With Foreign K-pop Idols | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
So what happens when theories become reality?
A new girl group called The Gloss just announced their impending debut a few days ago.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This story puts a lot on Olivia, the ostensibly white member of new female K-pop group, Gloss.  There is a quite a lot of elision, and while it raises some issues, it raises more questions. Whiteness, like other socially constructed identities, is not monlithic and subject to historical, national  and cultural context. Similarly, the term "foreign" depends on your position: does foreign mean all people outside of Korea, or all people outside of East Asia?

 

The piece also assumes what fans, white, black, Latino, Asian American, want by painting them with broad strokes. Instead of assuming what white fans or black fans think about one white member of a K-pop group, it would add to the conversation to actually ask them how they view whiteness or their own place in their various fandoms.

 

 

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Is MBC's Lip Sync Ban Good for Global Fans?

Is MBC's Lip Sync Ban Good for Global Fans? | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
In a possible industry changing move, the MBC Show! Music Core chief executive producer (CP) Park Hyun-suk made a statement earlier this week pronouncing that the show is not going to allow singers or artists on stage that rely solely on MR (music recorded). According to him, about 10-20 percent of the singers who go …
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Producers for MBC’s Show! Music Core may think that its decision to ban acts that use MR (music recorded) is a good one, but such a move makes assumptions about what viewers expect from such performances.

 

Expectation is key. While one may have an expectation of a live vocal performance by someone singing a national anthem at an event, one may not have the same expectation for a live vocal performance in a different setting. Producers may think lip-synced performances on Show! Music Core are misleading, but that assumes that viewers expect these performances to be live vocal performances.  Do viewers expect such performances to be live vocal performances?  Many viewers look forward to such performances for other reasons. These shows have a long tradition of being a showcase for a variety of performances, which represent a combination of vocals, styling and choreography.  Many global viewers tune in for this combination, as many will never have the opportunity to see such acts perform live in their country. 

 

In addition to vocal reality shows, there are other outlets to experience the vocal talents of idols.  The format of Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook is specifically designed to allow artists groups to showcase their live vocals, and has hosted a variety of acts, from individuals known for their vocals such as Lyn, Park Hyo Shin and Hwanhee, to hip-hop acts such as Drunken Tiger and Dynamic Duo, to K-pop idols such as Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls and 4Minute.  Idols also have opportunities to sing live on radio shows such as ShimShimTapa, performances that are also video-recorded and accessible through YouTube.

 

As the article suggests, this may have an impact on choreography-heavy comebacks for groups if this is undertaken as an industry standard, which will not be good for global K-pop fans who routinely cite choreography as one of the appealing aspects of K-pop. 

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Michael Porter and K-pop: An Analysis

Michael Porter and K-pop: An Analysis | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
K-pop is a business, through and through. No matter how original a concept is or how natural fan interactions may seem, the details even down to how much a performer weighs are all calculated.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This article begins by looking at K-pop through an economic lens, but falls into a familiar trend of boiling the success of K-pop down to profits and business models and echoing the much-repeated mantra about the manufactured nature of K-pop. At the same time, it leaves out the key to the global spread of K-pop, namely the fans, who have exerted tremendous influence on K-pop.

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Roundtable: 2NE1 vs. SNSD

Roundtable: 2NE1 vs. SNSD | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
It’s been a while since we had such a matchup of industry titans going head to head.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This article features various opinions about the simultaneous comebacks of two of K-pop's most successful and popular girl groups. Members refer to the "anti-aegyo" discourse often targeted to SNSD, as well as the continued use of the "fierce" concept for 2NE1. Described as a competition between the two girl groups, it overlooks the fact that some fans like both groups. 

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How to Navigate Symbolism in K-pop MVs

How to Navigate Symbolism in K-pop MVs | Korean Wave | Scoop.it

This A music video has a limited amount of time to make a lasting impression.

Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This article attempts to critically read symbolism in recent K-pop music videos. While all interpretations are not valid, some can be said to be invalid if not supported by MV itself.  Grad students exposed to literary criticism may recognize this. They may also remember that what the artist (or author) may have intended cannot be reliably discerned (intentional fallacy, anyone?). The article alludes to the importance of details for any interpretation, but fails to note that symbolism is also dependent on cultural context. In other words, does the writer's reading of the use of red take into account what that may mean in Korean or East Asian cultures? 

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The Korean Wave does not really exist

The Korean Wave does not really exist | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
The Korean music scene has changed vastly in the past decade.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

While this article attempts to address the varied uses of the term "Korean wave," it does not address the complex factors that go into the term.  It fails to define the Korean Wave itself, its links to multiple modes of cultural production, such as K-drama and Korean film. The Korean wave is more than a mere marketing tool; it is a phenomenon that has economic, cultural and political implications. Using Psy to make an argument about the Korean wave and its longevity ignores the 20-ish old years of music, television and film that make up the Korean wave, and the fact that K-pop was enjoying global popularity before Psy's appearance. There needs to be more context provided to make these kinds of assertions about the Korean wave. 

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Epik High Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary with a Video Message

Epik High Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary with a Video Message | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Once a musician, always a musician. October 23 marked Epik High’s 10 year anniversary.  On October 22, Epik High’s official Youtube channel posted a short video with the message “Thank you for the memories” to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of...
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

The fan dynamic from Epik High can be described as low-key in relation to idol groups and artists. Yet the fan message is a tried and true strategy. Epik High's message is less a direct message to the fans and more of a peek into their creative world. 

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Why is the human body such a horrible thing nowadays? You show a bit of skin and you're considered a slut? And to blame everything on American music, really? Kpop fans annoy me sometimes.

Why is the human body such a horrible thing nowadays? You show a bit of skin and you're considered a slut? And to blame everything on American music, really? Kpop fans annoy me sometimes. | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Who knows? It’s especially worse in Korea, as we’ve seen with banned costumes, music videos, dances, ect. Especially with Hyuna.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

There are people who like K-pop precisely because it is devoid of the focus on the body that some see in music in the United States. While the United States may not be directly to blame, it does have a large influence in global culture. 

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Vocal Group What Women Want Debut with Music Video for “Curious”

Vocal Group What Women Want Debut with Music Video for “Curious” | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Rookie vocal group What Women Want has made their debut with their first single, “Curious.” The music video was shared with English subtitles through the official Loen Entertainment YouTube channel.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

One thing missing from the K-pop scene right now is a female vocal group. What Women Want diversifies the landscape by centralizing their voices.

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I think this blog could be better if you admins at least had a Kpop experience or something :/ or interviewed them or something like other sites have had experiences with the idols or have been to ...

I think this blog could be better if you admins at least had a Kpop experience or something :/ or interviewed them or something like other sites have had experiences with the idols or have been to ... | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
While I understand where you’re coming from, we can’t help that we’ve never ‘had a kpop experience’ and I can’t say any of us will apologize for it?
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Most global fans experience K-pop via the Internet. At the same time, a lot of K-pop occurs on the Internet: Instagram accounts, tweets, blogs, YouTube. Social media is the primary way that K-pop spread across the globe. Most global K-pop fans will not have a "Kpop experience" but this does not diminish their participation in K-pop, nor should it render their observations and opinions about K-pop as invalid. 

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Before I start I would just like to say that I'm CL biased but this is about her (and other YG artist) getting on instagram and trying to act "hood". I feels as if they are trying to portray someth...

Before I start I would just like to say that I'm CL biased but this is about her (and other YG artist) getting on instagram and trying to act "hood". I feels as if they are trying to portray someth... | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
Anonymous asked: Before I start I would just like to say that I'm CL biased but this is about her (and other YG artist) getting on instagram and trying to act "hood". I feels as if they are trying to...
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

This comment reflects how sometimes Western, and particularly American, commentators on K-pop forget about our relationship to Korea (i.e. looking at a culture from the outside) and reveal an unfamiliarity with Korean history. The rapid modernization experienced by Korea in the wake of military dictatorships and a war that ravaged the country does not preclude issues with economic disparity. African Americans do not have the corner on "ghettos" or "hoods." 

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Can K-pop prove it's got staying power? (2013/08/28)

Can K-pop prove it's got staying power? (2013/08/28) | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
On the Fourth of July near a pier in San Francisco, many people gathered to enjoy the crisp weather by the sea or find a good place to see the fireworks.
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

Commentators have been announcing the end of K-pop for years now. Such pronouncements do not take into consideration the trajectory of K-pop. K-pop's international appeal did not begin with Psy; Psy represents yet another aspect of K-pop's global spread. 

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“Zhou Mi and Henry Are Not Official Super Junior Members…”

“Zhou Mi and Henry Are Not Official Super Junior Members…” | Korean Wave | Scoop.it
And cue the storm. We’ve all been seeing the signs that Zhou Mi and Henry were getting a little more love from SM Entertainment: the two are more involved in Super Show 5, Henry is SME’s first male solo debut in 13 years, and Zhou Mi has been...
Crystal "CeeFu" Anderson's insight:

As the story brings out, there is a long history of ELFs (fans of Super Junior) making their voices heard when it comes to who is in and out of the group. But I wonder about the evidence that supportions the claim about who supports which side:  "Those supporting the main petition seem to be primarily from South Korea and China while those against it, as you could expect, were from Southeast Asia, Japan, and Western fans." One would have to do some research to support that claim with some evidence.


It's hard to know (again, without doing some digging) how much of the ELF fandom the "only13" view represents. Several ELF fansites, like SGSJELFs, to name a couple) state that they support all the members regardless of subgroup affiliation. 


But even more importantly, the failure to contextualize the "only13" movement feeds into the misconception that fandoms operate on groupthink.  There's always another side.  We might want to consider how other groups, and fandoms, navigate subgroups and solo careers.

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