• State Department Makes Gangnam Parody on Your Dime

    November 15, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State

    So there you were this morning, wondering what the State Department was doing with your tax money. They were making a “Gangnam Style” parody video!

    Have a look at this clip from a continuing series of “social media” produced by the American Embassy in Seoul:

    Now, in the words of Psy, let’s “break it down”:

    — State’s weird attempt at humanizing America abroad comes off instead as a lame attempt at creating a cult of personality around its ambassador. Truly, do Korean people care about his clothing (as featured in the video, hung in a messy closet)? Was the last “question” praising the embassy’s wonderful social media really a question that needed featuring here? And honestly, did US government employees on US government time really need to be forced to dance Gangnam style while the ambassador stood by watching like some playground pedophile?

    — What is the point? I get “social media” as a concept but I am unsure what the national policy goal here is, and there damn well better be one since taxpayer money is paying for this garbage. Are Koreans supposed to see the cartoon caricature of the Ambassador and “like” America? Are they supposed to see the Gangnam dancers and feel America is “with it”? Are we “groovy” yet?

    — Is this simply a silly shot at linking Psy’s 15 minutes of fame to the U.S.’ hope for another 15 minutes of fame?

    — Is the U.S. the only hip and cool country representing in South Korea? Because I checked the web sites of countries like the UK, Japan and China for Korea, and none of them feature silly poo stuff like this. I also checked the South Korean government’s web site in the U.S., and there are no YouTube videos of the South Korean ambassador lip syncing to Beyonce. Is America just that far ahead of the public diplomacy curve?

    — Why is State trapped in this loop of idolatry? The ambassador is the lead guy in these videos because he is the ambassador, and thus his entire staff is devoted to sucking up to him. If real communication was the goal, perhaps they could have found almost anyone else in the embassy with a teeny dollop more of charisma? Maybe someone who didn’t look deeply embarrassed alternating with deeply bored throughout the entire project?

    Anyway, hopefully State will show videos like this to Congress at the next budget hearings to help justify their requests for more money. I am sure Congress will be impressed.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      My wincing reflex has finally been overtaxed. Still, I know it is better to “render unto Caesar…..” than to rend my clothing (my taxes to pay government employees to engender PR skits) Thanks PVB! Is there a little sadism in these releases? Yes, I know you have the Hillary sex tapes release as the big threat to induce a lifelong hard off for any unfortunate viewers but this video is pretty grim.

      11/15/12 2:18 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      OMG! Shades of Corpus Juris Stupidcum. And here I thought I understood Cippola’s 5 Basic Laws of Stupidity. After viewing that video.. I’m convinced McDonald’s Class 11 Stupidity has been confirmed. ie..
      “Class II stupidity is an act of personal stupidity whose impact is felt no further than five kilometers distant, and quite often no further than fifty meters, from where the incident occurs. This type of stupidity is dangerous in that, if the act itself does not prove fatal, it induces a form of amnesia that removes all memory of the act itself and the ensuing consequences, leading to repetition of the act of stupidity for an indefinite and unpredictable number of times.” unquote

      Yahhhooooee..I’mma gonna submit this one to the Nobel Stupidity committee.

      In the meantime..
      Peter said..quote:
      “Anyway, hopefully State will show videos like this to Congress at the next budget hearings to help justify their requests for more money. I am sure Congress will be impressed.” unquote

      Me too. In fact..knowing Congress operates within the Classical Laws of Stupidity, I’d submit they’ll succumb to Law 11…quote:

      “II. Any stupidity emanating from, and acting on, another object will cause that object to exert an equally stupid force on the original object.”

      Of course, knowing they are constrained by the the Laws of Thermodynamic Stupidity..they might just double down. Especially in light of #3. quote:

      The Third Law of Thermodynamic Stupidity

      Entropy, the spontaneous disorganization of matter, is universal and always proceeds from organization to disorganization. Stupidity will invariably progress from a disorganized state to larger and larger disorganized units that will eventually consume the entire universe.”

      yessereebob..isn’t science amazing.

      11/15/12 5:15 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps. quote:”My wincing reflex has finally been overtaxed.” unquote

      Overtaxed. Bwahahahahahahahahaha!..great pun John.

      note to self..file under..

      “..insights of the overly civil.”


      11/15/12 5:27 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..just picked up on this..


      “The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Department of State, the Department of Defense or any other entity of the US Government. The Department of State does not approve, endorse or authorize this blog or book.”

      note to self..file under

      “..gee..whudda thunk.” 🙂

      umm..btw..how does State Department define their ahem..”views”? Is there some kinda written VIEW “bible” or something? If so…this video must represent that “view”, right? Well..if not.. ladies and gentleman..behold the living proof that stupidity exists in its natural state. However..if so..then behold Stupidity of Biblical Proportions

      11/15/12 6:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...


      PVB, the Embassy in Seoul is not the only offender in this regard.

      Your old bureau, CA, has made a rollickingly stupid video depicting how hard Overseas Citizens Services has it on a work day. It includes such compelling lines as “only 500 e-mails this morning, I practically have a morning off.”

      A terrible waste of the g-ments time.

      It’s only on B-net now, but hopefully it will show up somewhere on the intertubes.

      I have no idea how Janice Jacobs manages to hang on to that job (shakes head ruefully).

      11/16/12 10:57 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      500 emails. Huh, likely alot are repeat emails from people whose cases are pending for whatever reason and trying to get word on statuses – because someone at the consulate doesnt think it necessary to their job to actually read the emails or have a system for how to respond with something appropriate for certain categories of questions. The best ones are the refugee cases that languish for years,but that is really DHS’s fault.

      Sometimes a conscientious FSO at posts with DHS offices is a great asset, but here there is so much they can do if the DHS agent is lazy

      11/16/12 3:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      It’s a wonder how the system protects those employees who are lazy or know enough to not ask questions. Love when the supervisors quote that FLRA rule – or misquote it – that they have a right to withhold hold from staff for any reason, including as a retaliation measure. That FLRA rule is great for raising performance standards in the government. Sheesh

      11/16/12 3:41 PM | Comment Link

    • liberti said...


      Breathtakingly AWFUL. There are no words to describe its banality, wrenching amateurism, fakery, superficiality, stupidity.

      Ghastly. Garbage.

      Wonder how much this dreadful tripe cost the U.S. taxpayer? Am afraid to ask.

      Where’s the message? What are we trying to convey? Is this what the State Dept and the BBG mean by using social media to its optimum? No wonder we’re so disliked in the world if this is all we have to show or offer.

      If I were a drinker, would be guzzling to blot out the images.

      02/14/13 10:17 PM | Comment Link

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