Wednesday, November 28, 2012

gangnam or גםגם


   During  a recent wedding, sometime between the dances, a funny sounding song was played over the loudspeakers. It was not played by the band present, but a disc was inserted and i could not make any sense of the words or what language it was, but, Hebrew was not one of them. Many yeshiva bochrim started dancing along in what appeared to be a tailored dance that goes with the song. After inquiring about the song, I was told its the most popular song out there. It's  a youtube sensation with over 800 million hits and counting. Now that I've paid attention to it, I've heard it in other frum circles and elsewhere. It's not a jewish song to say the least.

   Which got me thinking- is this the style of yeshiva bochurim we are producing today?? No, these are not the serious yeshiva bochrim, but they are not kids at risk either. This was your average bochur. It seems they are missing the basic fundamentals of yiddishkeit. There is no busha to bring a prusteh song with prusteh lyrics and dance to it at a Yiddishe chasunah. A boy I spoke to just smiled and said "whats the deal its on you tube whats wrong??"

   Are we so removed from the basics that there is no difference between our culture and the culture of the street? We're at a point where bochurim don't even understand what is wrong. They know some of the basics but thats it. It used to take a while for a non jewish song to catch on into the jewish music market or at least it was copied. Now it has reached us instantly and we are no longer copying it, we are living it.

  Forget the argument about the pros and cons of the internet. The sad reality is, that the internet has connected us with the western culture in a way like never before. We became a society were there is no hevdel or differentiation. We've adopted to anything that's up on youtube or other forms of entertainment.

   As we approach Chanukah let us focus and the basic fundamentals of yiddishkeit, knowing we are different than the yevonim and other nations. Let us have more bochurim not dancing to gangam ,but  living the maamar chazal of  אל תגםגם ותאמר אלא אמר לו מיד.

21 comments:

  1. I'd beg to differ - the song ain't Western, its Eastern. I believe Korean, if I'm not mistaken.

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    1. The Western culture has reached Korea too.

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  2. There is no question you're right, but, when I hear that one frum yid is being charged for rape, another major Rov is under suspicion for getting to close to his followers, two frum balei battim charged with pedophilia ,all in the span of less then two weeks, I think we have much much bigger problems.

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  3. I agree that dancing with pritzus to a goyishe song is not a holy derech.(remember the macarena?) Yet, don't have a cow. Telling our kids NO about everything is not the way to make them feel more attached to hashem and yiddishkeit. We have to teach with love and be an example.

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  4. I only heard of this crazy about 3 weeks ago.

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  5. This is an interesting topic, how how much of secular culture do we allow to encroach on our lives. This is the mark of a true blogger, to express your feelings and engage in debate. BLN I will post on this gangam in the coming days. Haven't heard it yet, at least not that I know of.

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  6. It utterly humors me how gut-responsive you are. Since Gangnam style certainly does not fit into your model of "Yiddishkeit" you don't even bother trying to understand what it means and immediately criticize it's presence. Unlike yourself, I actually have Korean friends who know the meaning of the song as well as the core context frame. If you even read some articles on it, you will realize that the song is actually a giant satire on rap itself which challenges illusions and mediocrity. If you pay attention to the video and know what other videos it is trying to criticize you will see the immediate differences. Instead of dancing on the red-carpet with glitter flying in their faces (a prototypical Hollywood scene) they are dancing in a packing warehouse and packing foam takes the place of the glitter. Instead of rapping in a disco-bar or concert hall, they rap in a park and tour bus. The best scene of all is when he sings "and I'm the greatest rapper in the world!" as the camera zooms out to reveal him sitting in a toilet stall in a public bathroom. The dancing style itself is a mockery of the prototypical gangster-rap hip grind whereas he sticks out his behind and pretends to move like a chicken. This song is created from the perspective of someone who grew up with MTV as the norm and he's trying to mock it in it's own language, you don't know exactly what that language is; only that you despise it. Believe it or not, Gangnam style actually has some lessons to teach people.

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    1. Seriously, the whole song is a mocking of the very Americanized rich district of Gangnam, including the lines "hey.......," it even switches to English to mock them for their Americanized life. It's actually a brilliant song, even if it's a strange fluke that made the Internet rounds.

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    2. Which model of yiddishkeit does this song/dance fit in to?

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  7. My wife told me that the late Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz zt"l taught her class in seminary how to do the twist (pretend you are drying yourself from behind with a towel). No, of course he did not have the young ladies practice or demonstrate in front of him.

    So I would say, stop being such an old fogey or ignoring the greatest sage of all who counsels us not to see the past as better than the present.

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  8. I'm surprised at the misdirection of the comments here. As I understood the post TPV wasn't criticizing them for having fun or for using a disgraceful song (as one commentator already pointed out the lessons that could be learned from it), it was for their lack of busha. I wholeheartedly agree. If this was done at a shabbaton or a Purim shpiel or camp play it would be fineish (not yeshivish but fineish). However a chasanuh is a seudas mitzvah, one of the only times we are allowed to play real musical instruments after the churban. In addition there are rabbanim, rosh yeshivas, grandparents, in-laws, and many others who a bachur should be embarrassed to have such lightheaded fun in front of. Not to mention the embarrassment he could cause for the chassun on his big day. I have seen father in laws faces at inside jokes done during the dancing that portrayed hints of regret mixed in with their horror. TPV states that we used to copy the music and isn't bemoaning that fact (though I'm sure we should) it is our lack of busha, our seeing nothing wrong in taking youtubes latest hits and playing them when we should be involved with keitzad meraktin lefnai hakallah......and I doubt this is what Bais Hillel meant.

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    1. Differentiating 'acceptable dance styles' for weddings and purim shpiels is ethically coherent but likely comes down to hair-splitting in the implementation. You can't exactly direct the wrath of the zealots and paskevil-makers to target some action A so long as it's performed only in a set of contexts C1...CN. Yet another thing the asifa shows is that by the time an issue travels up the broken-telephone chain all the way up to 'authorities' it inevitably becomes categorically-evil so you need to be very careful in choosing what to oppose given the community has a limited amount of energy in opposing 'the outside world' in general.

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  9. Since when is it mutar to watch non Jewish music videos that have scantily clad women dancing in them? TPV, yeshiva bachurim should not be watching youtube. You want al tigamgem? You dont even know how low many bachurim are holding. If they watch youtube regularly they can have so much trash in their head it would be a chiddush if they could understand a few lines gemara.

    Everyone who says you cant assur is a naar. You can show love, you must show love. LOVE OF HASHEM. Wheres the Ahavas Hashem? If you love Hashem and you love your kid you dont give him an internet enabled device and certainly dont give him a pc with unfiltered internet. Parents today have failed their jobs in doing chinuch and therefore anything the Yeshivah tries to do is from a standpoint of already being behind the 8 ball so to speak. Chinuch starts at home. Any time you see a good boy or girl you can be almost positive they come from a Torahdig house. Sadly a Torahdig house is a minority in the Heimishe Yeshivishe velt. Ill stop here, but the bottom line is that if parents continue to allow their kids to filthy their minds from a young age then things will continue to spiral down and in a few years you will have yeshivos that will take Gemara out of the curriculum because the boys just cant grasp it. Only the "metzuyanim" (whos parents dont allow their kids to use internet and filthy their young impressionable minds) will be learning Gemara. You think I am exaggerating but I am not.

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    1. "If they watch youtube regularly they can have so much trash in their head it would be a chiddush if they could understand a few lines gemara."
      Since when does understanding the intricacies of 'tamei mashkin lehios techilah' or 'kol demekadeish, adaita derabanan mekadesh' have anything to do with your "purity of thought???" Quite a few socialist maskilim had no trouble at all learning these models and systems of reasoning. I have taught these concepts to jews who watched youtube their whole lives and they seem to be able to grasp them just as easily as the binomial theorem.

      "Any time you see a good boy or girl you can be almost positive they come from a Torahdig house."
      Right... and this is why when my brother visited the yeshiva of Long Island, half the kids there came tell him 'you stupid drunks still think the Rebbe is alive!' This is also why when I walk down 13th Ave not wearning the penguin outfit people look at me like I'm an imposter versus when I walk down San Francisco with the penguin outfit, people courteously smile at me. How many people from your Toradig houses go to war-torn african countries to install water filtration systems and halt deadly diseases at the peril of their own lives? Your xenophobia hilariously contradicts the facts!

      "Only the "metzuyanim" (who's parents dont allow their kids to use internet and filthy their young impressionable minds) will be learning Gemara."
      Well I guess that certainly excludes YU, Daati Leumi, and Chabad but I guess you probably don't believe they learn gemara do you? I use unfiltered internet every day, the same now as when I was eleven yet I learn with a chevrusa several hours every evening. Do you even consider me part of Klaal Yisroel???

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  10. TPV
    Check out Lipas latest video. This is getting out of hand....
    http://www.gruntig.net/2012/12/lipa-schmeltzer-believe-in-miracle.html?m=1#comment-form

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    1. sad indeed.. its a free for all out there.

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    2. I think it's been a free for all for a very long time. The only difference now is that there are no more illusions.

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    3. Check out Lipa Shmeltzer singing Gangam at a Oorah Kiruv concert

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IJjpOE4UUg&feature=youtube_gdata

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