By Elizabeth C.
THE NEWS IS REVENGE FOR THIRTYSOMETHINGS EVERYWHERE WITH A PAUNCH: Psy’s Gangnam Style has bested pop prince Justin Bieber by having the most-watched video ever on YouTube. Since being released July 15, the fantastical phantasmagoria has netted 816,175,123 million views as of 10:40 am Central time on Nov. 25.
Biebs’ Baby now officially sits in the number two spot, with 804,669,690 hits. That video was first posted back in February 2010.
But Bieber shouldn’t cry in his milk: both numbers are stratospheric and illustrate how the Internet is transforming and shrinking our world. Can you remember the last time that an 18-year-old Canadian boy and a 34-year-old South Korean starred at the same party?
What’s most fascinating to me is that both Bieber and Park Jae-sang traveled to the top of the heap through unconventional paths. Biebs, raised by a single mother in London, Ontario, was signed to Usher’s record label after he began posting self-produced music videos on YouTube when he was 13.
“This kid is really like once in a lifetime glimpse at a prodigy or something incredible,” Usher said back in 2009. That was before Bieber became a worldwide household name and won an amazing 86 music awards.
Psy was the privileged son of a South Korean semiconductors executive who was being groomed to take over his father’s business. He enrolled at Boston University where was bored with his studies. He spent his leftover tuition money on music equipment, then transferred to Boston’s Berklee School of Music. He returned to South Korean in 2002 without earning a degree to launch a music career. By all accounts he was successful, even if he was frequently targeted by South Korean government censors for having “inappropriate content” and “obscene lyrics.” Earlier this year when he performed for the first time on a foreign broadcasting network in Japan, Psy held up a sign reading, “I’m a famous singer well-known for driving the audience wild in Korea, but here, today, I’m just a little chubby newcomer.”
Now following the international acclaim of Gangnam Style, Psy’s been recruited as an “honorary” U.N. ambassador and has been awarded with a plaque in his native neighborhood of Gangnam.
“You are so cool; I hope that you can end the global warming,”UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon told Psy last month.
Just Friday, Bieber was also seen rubbing shoulders with the political set recently: he was photographed in overalls receiving a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His “Breaking Amish” outfit inspired ridicule and outrage, but who can quibble with the claim that Bieber has made “significant contributions and achievements” as a Canadian.
All in all, both phenoms make convincing cases for following the road less traveled.