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Rhetorical Moves in “gemstone Baek Chung Kang(BCK)”

Abstract

The “gemstone Baek Chung Kang(BCK)” is an online fan community for BCK, winner of the audition-based program called the Great Birth Season 1. This program airs on MBC TV in Korea. This fan site for Baek Chung Kang was created in March, 2011 right after the auditions on Great Birth Season 1 started. The rhetorical purpose of this online community is to share information about BCK and to encourage others to participate in the online voting to help Baek Chung Kang win the audition on Great Birth Season 1. After the audition ended and Baek Chung Kang won, fans felt more connected to the singer and showed it by sharing their love for him on this fan site. After the audition, fans on the site were more determined to help Baek Chung Kang accomplish his dream of becoming a professional singer in Korea.

Background

Baek Chung Kang, a 22-year old male, has a rather unique background. He is Korean Chinese, and came to Korea for the first time in order to participate in the audition. Korean Chinese are one of the ethnic minorities in China. This is a very sensitive issue in this online community, which provokes tension among members and between fans and anti-fans. Many Korean Chinese people are very poor and come to Korea to make money. In Korea, people call them the Cho-sen tribe, a phrase that implies disdain and assumptions of poverty, boorishness and involvement in crimes like voice-fishing in Korea. Considering this, BCK’s win in the audition is regarded as rather dramatic and unexpected.

Complication

His nationality is the main reason why he has so many anti-fans. Whenever the news articles about him are on internet portal sites, many people leave vicious replies without any reasonable validity. They just don’t want to see a Korean Chinese person succeed in Korea. His fans realize this, and worry that his career as a singer in Korea might have a thorny path. For this reason, his fans are concerned about how to shield and protect him from this prejudice.

Main theme

Nowadays the Korean Pop market is flooded with glamorous singers with nice figures. Those singers are the ones people go crazy over. BCK is very short with a mediocre appearance, despite his enticing voice and moving songs. Members of cafe.naver.com/gemstone01 truly believe that BCK’s potential as a great singer is underestimated because of his mediocre appearance and nationality. That’s why the main theme of this community is "mothering" in order to protect and shield him from prejudices, as well as support him.

Motherly Love

Although the community doesn’t target a specific age group or gender, more than 90% of registered members are female and approximately 70% of them are in their thirties or older. These women are in the prime "mothering" age and feel a need to protect and shelter BCK from harsh criticism. The dominant theme of this community is the motherly love for BCK. Although no one set the goal of this community, the theme developed naturally and gradually. Many members call him “my kid,” or “my dear puppy.” Managing staff members often collect donations from members to buy items for BCK. Members also donate money and foodstuffs to some social facilities in the name of BCK to improve the image of BCK and his fandom.
Because digital writing has an open audience, this site can be exposed to anyone including anti-fans. If anyone posts any unfavorable articles about BCK, members try to exhort or dissuade them with pathos and ethos. And if they fail, they notify staff to delete their postings, and sometimes expel them.
Motherly love is also noticable in fan galleries where they make comic cartoons that use rhetorical strategies such as humor, satire and parody. In the audio and video section in the community, members upload BCK’s live performances so that many people can have a chance to appreciate him. The community also has a link to news articles on him to introduce him to many audiences.

Communicative Styles

Overall the communicative style is full of acknowledgement, encouragement, expressions of intimacy, and support. This style strongly reflects the fact that the majority of members are female. They write, “I’ll fight if anyone draws tears in my kid,” “I’ll support my little prince as far as I can.” “I really worry whether he has enough time to sleep among his incredible schedules” “Let’s offer sandwich and beverage for the crew members of this concert to let them pay more attention to BCK.” “I prayed for him…”
Because there are no perceived incompatible goals in this community, when there arise conflicts among members, they try to resolve them in collaborative ways. This also comes from the members’ "mothering" attitudes. They to keep the community in as peaceful of a state as possible.

Conclusion

Members feel more familiar with BCK because they believe that he won the audition because of their Internet voting. People tend to think they have a privilege to supervise him and make sure that he succeeds in Korea as the first Korean Chinese entertainer. This community has a belief that members’ support and endless love can make BCK accomplish his dream. Just like mothers, members really want to exert all efforts to support him and to keep this community flourishing until BCK realizes his dream.

References

< Gemstone BCK >