Disclaimer: specific names will not be mentioned unless general and a proven fact
The “scale of reliability” is Bella’s personal meter for determining the accuracy of the information provided via various avenues.
**scale is also arbitrary in the sense that there is just as much garbage to filter through to find the motherload. This is where common sense and trend analyses come in handy**
Walter Winchell once said, “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline,” and I think it’s safe to say that this statement is very relevant and much more applicable today than it was then. It has also become difficult to discern what is really truth vs. what is just chatter vs. some wishful thinking from fans as a result of the Hallyu wave. There is also the issue of mistranslations and misinterpretations of those mistranslations that have also compounded the issue, which has made it much more difficult for some to determine credibility.
I will not call it a part time job per se (although Blue may say otherwise), but I generally do my fair share of “researching” for anything/anyone that catches my fancy. I am not up to date on the recent k-pop gossip scene nor can I say that I am all that interested to even bother. Bluesy and her pedophilic tendencies, I am sure, can help you in that endeavor =D. [Hey, hey, hey, the last time I checked, they were all legal! -Blue] I don’t have a clue unless they are really huge in the overall entertainment world.
The gossip scene is a completely different landscape now than what it was just a few years back and I am sure it will be even more so next year and the year after. So with this said, a guide to help you along your merry way in finding credible information. I will say upfront that it helps:
- if you can read/understand Korean
- It’s doubly important that you also keep up with the colloquial idioms/terms that are being used in cyberspace and know what they mean
- it would be useful if you have the bloody Korean keyboard but let that not be a deterrent since copying/pasting has served me well on my crap computer
- an open mind
With those factors listed above, you must also take the Korean culture and all that comes with it (i.e. tradition, Confucian ideals, conservatism, etc) into consideration when researching. Why, do you ask must one take the culture into consideration? Because K-gossip is not Hollywood/Chinese/Filipino/Japanese/European gossip nor is the Korean culture like Western culture or the Chinese/Japanese/___ culture. My point is that Korean culture like every other culture is unique and because of it, everything must be taken into perspective. Sure, native Koreans in general are changing, they are becoming more liberal and understanding but this still belies the fact that social norms, upbringing, tradition, and beliefs play a considerable role in how you interpret what is presented to you. What you may find acceptable or the “norm” where you live does NOT fly in Korea. And if you say that Korea is changing and so on and so forth, I will respond that ‘yes,’ it is changing but you still don’t see a 25 year old guy addressing the 75 year old man, “Hey ___, what’s up?” Or a 50 year old guy calling his boss by his first name.
As long as Koreans still observe hierarchy in terms of age and social status, ‘westernization’ has not affected thousands of years of traditions being passed down from one generation to another that is still practiced today. The understanding of the Korean culture is incredibly important when deciphering the actions and reactions of fans (Korean and international).
I’m officially off my soapbox and below you will find, I hope, a way to plow through the myriad of information that is available today. Please note that various pieces of information gleaned and gathered are like pieces of a puzzle for you to assemble…
1. Fan cafes (official) vs. the rest:
Official- You have your choice of choosing from the following to get relevant and truthful information:
- Information officially disseminated by their respective management companies (i.e. marriage/dating/engagement/pregnancy). Gossip is another animal- please refer to #2
- The K-star personally endorses and recognizes as their own (i.e the ones set up by fans (daum/DC/etc.))
- the anti-fan cafes that provide the seedy/negative information
Several caveats to remember- there are membership levels within these official clubs (especially bullet point 2 in which a club was not officially set up by management) and basic general membership excludes you to the ultra exclusivity of available information that you may or may not be privy to within the club itself. The Korean clubs also require a Korean registration number for Korean citizens, which is similar to the US social security number.
They will also require you to input a real phone number to verify certain information or type in certain information.
The rest- this would be like the international fan clubs set up by the respective star’s fans. May or may not be privy to exclusive information unless associated with the official fan club.
Scale of reliability- 6
2. PR from management:
Unless it is an official announcement of the following-
- someone has passed away
- entertainment related activities
PR is short for ‘public relations’ and hence, you will only hear the “positive” spin on things or their “side” of things. To be a true connoisseur in determining the veracity of the information provided, one must take everything into consideration.
Scale of reliability- 2
I like to call them my ‘spark notes’ to good gossip. They can provide a different spin, give a condensed guide on things, or additional information that you may or may not be aware of.
Scale of reliability- 6
Why, it’s you, me, bloggers, lurkers, and the posters. We are the citizens of the internet spreading information.
- the almighty power of the Korean netizens- the resourcefulness of these netizens are pretty darn scary and amazing. Internet culture is especially important in Korea where competition is so fierce in general. From reading lips, to hearing the most impossible of audio in a video, providing the best spoilers to a show, digging up the skeletons in your closet, hacking into private social network accounts (i.e. cyworld), or just spreading malice in general; do not underestimate the ability of the Korean netizen.
Appropriately enough, even the print media has stories based on the reactions of the netizens. So yuppers, we are an influential bunch!
Scale of reliability- 8
5. Confessional series on TV shows vs. information gleamed from variety shows:
Family Outing, X-Man, Star King
‘Openness’ equates to overexposure, which equals to less money. Unless you are the host of a show, you will most likely see the up and comers trying to prove and make a name for themselves, tons of k-pop group members, has-beens, or a fading celebrity trying to revitalize a career. However, some of these shows have provided a platform to promote a movie/drama/album. More often than not, you will not be getting any useful information from watching the aforementioned variety shows above. The stars who are/were fortunate to bust out of this forum will most likely NEVER appear in one again.
‘Elusive/mysterious’ equate to anticipation, suspense, and buildup for whatever project they are trying to sell you, which equals to more money (i.e. the crème de la crème of movie/TV stars such as Jang Dong Gun, Won Bin, Yoon Eun Hye)
Scale of reliability- 1
Straight from the horse’s mouth as they say. It has become an opportunity for some starsto “set the record straight” but be forewarned that you may not be getting the total package in terms of the hidden skeletons in their closet. Generally- funny anecdotes are abound, tidbits shared, and heartfelt stories are conveyed that bring everyone to tears. Some shows where you will see this are listed below:
-Come to Play
[To a lesser extent, I would also add Win Win to the list. -Blue]
Scale of reliability- 6
6. In-depth interviews in print media or shows hosted by big time stars (or at least ones with some serious connections in the business) -
As mentioned in #5, exlusivity gives an air of mysteriousness and builds up anticipation if you had a huge, huge hit (drama or movie). If you are not heard from after the promotional blitz of whatever you are trying to sell, the better. If you are fortunate enough, you can also use this opportunity (through the 10 billion CF offers you will get) to transform your image and start the cycle all over again.
These interviews are generally long, serious, and non-personal or very little of it is mentioned. It’s strictly your body of work or project that is being promoted and that’s that.
Talk Shows hosted by big time stars-
The last one I could recall is Park Joong Hoon, who probably has the best connections within the industry and could get the cream of the crop or recluse stars to even give an interview that is more personal in nature. Similar to the confessional shows mentioned in number 5, you now have the opportunity to hear the top movie stars spill some dirt. And like #5, you won’t get the ‘negative’ of things, unless it was in the distant past.
Scale of reliability- 5
7. Native fans vs. International fans (could also be broken down to the serious gossipmonger vs. casual passerby):
Native fans (Korean fans living in Korea)- I generally make it a rule and that is -when in doubt, if you haven’t heard any chatter from the Korean side, whatever you heard on the ‘international’ side may not be reliable. After all, there is the language barrier and the subsequent misinterpretation and mistranslations of information.
There is no difference between the casual or serious gossip fiend in terms of the type of reliable information you are after. Obviously the serious ‘international’ fan will be more inclined to put the time and effort in to look for reliable information. Hence you are a bit more informed than the native Korean reading the gossip section as a leisurely pastime.
Scale of reliability- 0
As Blue so aptly noted- Koreans have adopted many words from different languages (most notably English, Chinese, and Japanese) into our own. However, once adopted, the use in Korean sometimes takes a slightly different meaning from that of the original language, and the word “scandal” is one of them. As commonly used in Korean, the word “scandal” does not have a negative connotation as the original English definition does. Instead, the word “scandal” is used interchangeably with how the English words “rumor” or “gossip” is used. In other words, scandal merely means news that has not been confirmed or proven yet.
2. Sponsor- sugar daddy/ sugar mama
Basically this is someone of affluence, who in exchange for sexual relations, will open doors for you in terms of career advancement opportunities, money (through CFs), or just cold cash.
This can be arranged by the management company in question or can be sought out through various other channels.
It is somewhat equivalent or synonymous to the ‘casting couch,’ although the term ‘sponsor’ cannot be used interchangeably. The difference is that money is NOT involved and only sexual favors.
This is nothing new in the entertainment industry (regardless of country) but it has only been in recent years (i.e. 10 yrs) where the word “sponsor” is specifically referenced in the media via dramas, tv shows, and in print.
3. “열애설” (yuhlr eh suhl)- literal translation is “passionate/ardent love opinion” which may or may not be true but generally it is to describe a potential or current romance rumor.
Per Blue- this is similar to the use of the phrase “pink scandal.” Here, the pink is used to describe romance or love, so the phrase “pink scandal” means a romance rumor. For example, when a media reports that celebrity A and celebrity B have been swept by a pink scandal lately, it merely means that they’re rumored/speculated to be dating each other, at the brink of dating each other, or just seem “interested” in one another.
4. Rumored X-files: circa 2006-to present
For the serious gossip hounds, this is what you would call a compilation or gossip sheet of the chatter surrounding a star- the sordid and not so kosher documentation of the rumors that follow a particular star.
Originating from the 2004/2005 private report assessing the viability of a k-star for marketing purposes, it could be described as somewhat of a very clinical/dry review of the popular/top stars/up and comers of the day and their potential/stance within the industry in the present and for the future.
The “rumors” section (one of many sections within the report) is basically how the term “x-files” was coined as it contained exclusive information generally not known to the general public.
One netizen described it as the “Holy Bible” of gossip since in retrospect, many of what was noted in the 2004/2005 report turned out to be true (not just the rumors but the potential star quality and how big each star will be) as it was found to be/proven later on during the years- but that is entirely one’s perspective.
So there you have it folks-
Since I am quite fond of analogies and still suffering the consequences of a terrible bout of food poisoning from a buffet, I think it’s appropriate enough to liken gossip to a buffet. It’s your prerogative to take what was mentioned into consideration as well as to filter out the nonsense. Nevertheless happy hunting and please share your tips, gossip, and methods for information! (Did I also mention it’s part of the honor code for gossip aficionados?)
If you do have any particular questions, please ask away…