BTS Fans Are Angry After An Interviewer Criticised RM's English
7 October 2018, 17:08 | Updated: 9 October 2018, 15:43
“His occasionally baffling syntax gives the impression he is channelling Joey rather than Chandler”
Now that BTS have finally landed on UK soil, even more British publications are interviewing and writing about the band. Over the weekend, British newspaper The Times published an article which left members of ARMY with more than a few editing suggestions.
The article took a slightly jaded view of the band, who conducted an interview for the piece in English. English is the native tongue of the interviewer and third language of the BTS leader RM, who taught himself by watching the TV series ‘Friends’.
In the article, RM’s grasp of the English language was characterised by “his occasionally baffling syntax gives the impression he is channelling Joey rather than Chandler”. The piece also repeatedly referred to the band’s sexuality or their perceived lack thereof: “When the boys dance in their T-shirts, there is never a glimpse of abs; there are leather trousers but no crotch-grabbing or pelvis-grinding.”
While there were some epiphanies of admiration throughout; Suga gets a notable mention for his authentic representation of mental health issues and their skills as performers are acknowledged, ARMY – the name given to BTS’ fans - took to Twitter to discuss some of the more problematic parts of the piece.
it’s so bad don’t buy it... it made me cringe so much the way they speak abt yoongi as the only one interesting because of his past and metal health is gross... not to mention the mockery of namjoons English, there’s a condescending tone all through out the interview— mr president joonie (@aetegy) October 6, 2018
Honestly after having read the article, it is NOT worth it... no research whatsoever, all they do is downgrade BTS and the kpop scene in general while being blunt about it. Also it’s cringy af— israt || LOVEYOURSELF in London (@israat_chan) October 6, 2018
I just read it. It reduces them to a compete novelty act, mocks the fact English isn’t Namjoon’s first language and also implies that because Yoongi is the only one whose upfront about his depression and anxiety that he is the only relevant member. I feel very sad...— Food Baby™ 🍜 (@foodbaby0) October 6, 2018
Why so much focus on their relationships!? It's not important at all. And comparing RM's English ability to looking like Joey is just mean, especially when it's likely the editor can't speak a second language fluently either.— FioooOOOoooOOOooona 👻🎃 (@CrystalNeko) October 6, 2018
I read it as him presenting them as the "sexless Asian man" trope. Also, any journalist should know that just because someone says they're not dating, doesn't mean it's true. It's nobody's business. I just want to be invited to their weddings. (I'M JOKING...sort of.)— Jae-Ha Kim 김재하 (@GoAwayWithJae) October 6, 2018
The jab at RM’s IQ and way of speech was stunningly awful. I’m not sure how I’ll ever get over that part— Rafranz Davis (@RafranzDavis) October 6, 2018
Same. So many questions: why keep sending European middle-aged men (as he described himself) filled w tons of preconceptions to cover a zeitgeist propelled by a generation he doesn’t understand? Why bring up (lack of) girlfriends when we don’t know orientations of members? +— Colleen Nika (@colleennika) October 6, 2018
This article is obviously written by someone who is an outsider to BTS and ARMY. He refers to Jimin by his surname of Park despite calling all other members by their stage names.
Fans are echoing the same sentiment, that articles like this feel like they have been written by someone who is eye rolling at something they don’t approve of or don’t understand. Members of ARMY are finally seeing their idols represented on magazine covers like western artists, only to find that when they read the accompanying articles, they are littered with cultural insensitivity and/or clichés about the band and K-Pop artists.
If you are given unprecedented access to stars who have more engagement than "Justin Bieber and Donald Trump combined", as the article states, why not try and dig for the deepest profile you can provide? Truly try and understand the magic? It seems like a wasted opportunity to me.