A Note on Sulli’s Passing, and Today’s Reviews

Given the tragic news of Sulli’s passing earlier today, I debated whether to post normal reviews or wait until a later date. Unfortunately, we’ve been down this road before, but that doesn’t make it any less gut-wrenching or maddening. This industry, and online culture in general, has its problems and we all need to do better.

Ultimately, this site was founded to celebrate and discuss my favorite part of the K-pop industry: the music. I’m going to continue doing that today, with my deepest respects to Sulli, her friends and her family. With that said, I think it’s important that we don’t become numb to news items like this.

K-pop music and performance — like all art — is open to interpretation and criticism. But, we all need to remember that words matter. Moments like this remind me that my words matter, whether they be in the form of a review, a tweet, a comment or a post. You never know who’s reading.

While I’m not going to pretend to know what was going on inside Sulli’s mind leading up to today’s tragedy, at the very least let’s take this as a reminder to think before we post. I actually teach this to my students: “If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t say it online.” That philosophy isn’t going to cure all the world’s ills by itself, but it might make somebody’s day a little easier.

4 thoughts on “A Note on Sulli’s Passing, and Today’s Reviews

  1. Rest in peace, Sulli.

    Something about Sulli’s public persona brought out all the keyboard warriors making all sorts of ad hominem nasty comments, and it was really mean and unfair. They even descend upon this site too from time to time for Sulli and on occasion other artists as well.

    My personal super pet peeve is all the crappy forum posts “who is prettier a or b?”. Sweet baby jesus, they are all pretty.

    I have always thought of this site as a refuge from the fan wars. We spend equal if not more time critiquing the producers, songwriters and agencies than the idols themselves, which given the multiplayer nature of kpop is about right. (Unless of course your name is Zico and can tick all those boxes all at the same time. Sorry Zico, the whole review is yours.)


  2. Sulli’s ‘Dorothy’ quietly became one of my favourite songs of the year, just for sounding like nothing else I’ve really heard. I’m grateful I was able to connect with it before her passing. What a heartbreaking day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The biggest question that follows a tragedy like this is “Why?” People need to understand things in order to come to terms with them. However, no one will be able to fully understand Sulli’s “Why”. It’s not possible. So in the absence of understanding why she did this, we need to shift our focus to certain truths.

    1. Vulnerable people are lambs for slaughter. If your personal happiness is dependent on other people then you are empowering everyone else to ensure your own survival. As the size of that crowd increases, so increases the danger. As the crowd grows further, you now have to meet the increasingly difficult demand of universal acceptance. This means casting off concepts of individuality. No quirks. No “I do what I want.” thinking. You are a puppet to the whims of your followers. Gain ground with some, lose ground with others. The ground you lose will be populated with unkind words.

    2. Words are weapons. They cut and stab yet leave no visible bruising or bleeding. They leave scars that never fully heal. They cause pain that never fully fades. If any individual is bombarded on a daily basis with the amount of vitriol that Sulli endured, they will break. This isn’t a maybe, it’s an eventuality.

    3. You can’t stop people from using words as weapons. Anti-bullying campaigns won’t completely stop them. Retaliation won’t silence them. Reason won’t cure them. Just as people receiving weaponized sentiments are damaged, so are the people using them on others. They, too, are broken. They fail to possess key certain desirable elements of humanity, whether by cause or consequence.

    4. People will hurt people. When any individual feels that they are separated from society, then the rules of that society will no longer apply to them. Concepts such as consideration, courtesy, compassion, empathy, etc. no longer apply. The loss of these qualities was not a choice, it was an unconscious consequence. These individuals don’t know how to be thoughtful of others because those circuits were burned out long ago.

    5. People are social animals. We can’t completely separate from one another. Absolute solitude will result in insanity. Even if you are an individual that feels cutoff from society, you will be inextricably draw to it. This is a recipe for disaster for everyone involved because it will unite the damaged (abusers and victims alike). This will happen. It won’t stop. It is concrete.

    The problem is a paradox. If you can’t stop people from using words with malice, and you can’t stop people from being hurt by those words, and you can’t stop these two trains from colliding, then.. ..what? There isn’t an itemized checklist for a cure, because it doesn’t exist. The problem is that all people will not realize which camp they’ll be in until it’s too late. Once you’re the bully or the victim (or both), change seems impossible in that moment.

    I’m not going to delve into the intricacies of human psychology (even though it’s equally a marvel and a nightmare). Analyzing the trifecta of id/ego/superego is maddening in and of itself. Approaching the bully phenomenon from logic, reason, common sense, or science isn’t the answer. So what then?

    Here’s where I’m suppose to drop some super enlightened epiphany that makes you feel good after having read through all of this. I’m sorry, but I can’t offer you that. Maybe we all just need to understand that the truths I listed above are real. That is part of life. That is what we all need to accept and if each one of us does, then it might lessen some of the harshness of existing in a world where those truths also exist.

    In an attempt to reduce the burdensome seriousness of everything I just wrote, I’ll leave you with the best possible philosophy to move forward with…

    “Be Excellent to Each Other” ~ Abraham Lincoln – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

    Liked by 2 people

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