What Psy Has to do With American Lit

WARNING: This video is a major spoiler of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Psy has much in common with the infamous American icon of Jay Gatsby, as argued by Professor in this article. It does a fantastic job of pinning down the internal tension within the song. Korean’s, and most other folks in the world, desire to move up in class against the simultaneous and contradictory disdain for class differences.

Psy is all about the hollowness and pointlessness of the Gangnam dream, and Nick Carraway vicariously taught us the same lesson about the American Dream. Although Psy gave us something cheery and subtly cynical (his character seems just fine), Fitzgerald gives us a haunting image of a man who had everything anyone has dreamed of and then died with only a distant friend or two to stand at his grave.

Many people have caught onto the addicting dance in Gangnam Style, but some others have played off of  Psy’s fantastic Jay Gatsby like character and embraced it in their parodies. Hongdae Style (another district in Seoul known for its nightclubs), Singaporean Style (which has a number of backhanded and outright criticisms), and London Style breaking out of Asia, and one of many places still complicated by the issues of nobility and birthright while claiming the social ladder.


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