The importance is the feeling. The importance is the love."
- Jim, the James Foley Story
In remembrance of the brave frontline journalist who died on 14 August, consider watching Jim, the James Foley Story, the documentary about "the video execution of American journalist James Foley by ISIS exposed the world to the new face of terror. Directed by Foley's childhood friend Brian Oakes, this powerful, gut-wrenching documentary tells Foley's tragic story through interviews with his family, friends and colleagues, while his fellow hostages reveal the chilling details of their captivity." Written by Jwelch5742 on imdb.com
Girls' Generation's 12th Anniversary
But if you're not a SONE (prounounced "Sew-One,"), a member of the Girls' fandom, why should you care? Many good reasons:
1) Girls' Generation is and was the girl group with the reputation, credibility, public support, and image to have changed the landscape for South Korean women AND k-pop.
2) You know how most Western celebrities are arrogant, pampered, entitled jackholes? Yea, well, that doesn't fly in South Korea. While many "k-netz" (Korean netizens), as they're called, overreact in the opposite way, they also are refreshingly intolerant to the narcissism that plagues most Western celebs, who are often given a free ride because they're "popular rich and/or talented artistes." In SK, humility and gratitude are a must, and those found to have attitude problems are quickly shown the career exit door. They have standards, in other words. So you can love many k-pop groups openly and feel the ones you support are (mostly) decent people. That's a wonderful feeling.
3) The k-pop system is a mechanism unlike anything in the West. Trainees move out of their homes anywhere from eight years to late teens and live in groups dorms owned by their music agencies with their friends/fellow trainees. They train for years--generally, at least four--in singing and dancing (generally 8-15 hours a day), foreign languages, music composition, music theory, personal styling,
skin care, hair & make-up, media skills, variety show entertainment and have regular psychological evaluations to make sure they can endure the stressful spotlight, long-term. They undergo video and performance evaluations, anywhere from weekly to monthly, depending on the agency. They have weekly group weigh-ins; diets are mandatory and trainees are cut who cannot achieve and maintain
an ideal body standard, as they are trying to be "idol" performers and meant to be the highest standard in terms of talent, visuals, etc. If a trainee doesn't show regular improvement in terms of skill or breaks company rules (having a cell phone, dating within their early years, etc), they're almost always kicked out.
Depending on the musical tastes and ever-changing climate, it's common for an agency to have "cast" members in a group, even record songs, then postpone or outright cancel the group. Members
can also be replaced by new trainees at any time up until the group's debut (if there's ever a debut).
If this happens, trainees either leave the company and hope and pray to find a new one, or wait another 2-4 years and hope the company debuts another group that will fits their image and talents.
As an example, in the top photo, Hyoyeon, the one with long pink hair, third from the right, trained the longest at her agency, for seven years. Sunny, the other one with pink hair, second from the left,
trained the shortest, for five years (including another agency before her current one). In having spent their childhood living, training, and growing together, they bonded deeply. This is evident in the clip below, when Tiffany, on a segment about mothers, revealed for the first time to anyone outside
of her agency and group members that her mother died (she revealed last year, the cause was suicide):
hosted numerous TV programs, award shows and radio shows, etc. have become actresses, DJs, soloists, U.N. ambassadors.
6) Their songs have been soundtracks for trying times in South Korea, like when their terribly corrupt President Park Geun-hye was impeached on the 9th of March 2017, protestors of all ages: elders, adults and youth celebrated the historic day by dancing to their debut, "Into the New World." Students also used it to protest for educational equality in 2016.
Yea, he's a Girls' Generation fan too (from smuggled in music, no doubt, as North Koreans can't legally listen to anything other than North Korean artists their "Great Leader," Kim Jung Un endorses [whose songs are all about him and North Korean greatness, unsurprisingly]).
7) They have Gee, the song South Koreans voted the top kpop song of the last decade.
in 2012, on the most popular late-night show Letterman, right after the Super Bowl (the biggest sports competition for American football, one of the USA's biggest sports, with high TV viewership, for foreign readers who may not know), singing in ENGLISH, which only two of them spoke.
"What should I say? My era of youth? These are the people I was together with since I was young. It's
the most beautiful time to spend together. It's the time when I was happiest." -YoonA
"Girls’ Generation is a miracle for me. Our message was, 'If you have strength, everything will turn out okay.' I saw my members say that message, and it comforted me, and I was able to get to this point." -Tiffany
"Girls’ Generation is like a country for me. I originate from Girls’ Generation, I came from Girls’ Generation, and people end up going back to their homes and countries. I hope we remain with that feeling toward each other." -Taeyeon
"Ten years is not a short period of time, so there were times we had to hold strong and withstand, but because we enjoyed it, we came through to this point now." -Sunny
"There was an era when I thought, 'I am doing well alone.' But when I thought these are people in
the same situations as me, feeling the same emotions as me, walking the same path as me, there
are seven other people with the same identity as me, it became really bearable." -Sooyoung
"Because of emotions, our motto 'Right now, it's Girls’ Generation; going forward, it's Girls’ Generation; forever, it's Girls’ Generation,' was created. It's very meaningful that we spent a generation together,
and the meaning of spending a generation together going forward and forever, that sentiment remains in my memories and will always be there in the future." -Yuri
"I remember when we first rehearsed very well. We practiced so much, we wondered, 'Is it okay
to really practice this much?' So overall, the members were confident. The day we finally showed everyone, we wondered, 'What reactions will they have?' When we performed, we overflowed with strength, at least double compared to the practice and performed confidently. We overdid it a bit!" -Hyoyeon
"In some ways, ten years feels long, but now that I'm thinking about it, it doesn't seem that long. But we've changed a lot from ten years ago, in every aspect. During the last ten years, we gave and received a lot of influence to one another, both knowingly and subconsciously. In many ways, we came to resemble one another. We grew a lot. In ten years, we went through a lot and had a lot of experiences, very precious experiences. I'm glad I was born to be part of Girls’ Generation--I always have thoughts like that (laughs)." -Seohyun
"Right now, it's Girls’ Generation
Going forward, it's Girls’ Generation
Forever, it's Girls’ Generation
Girls' Generation, we love you!"