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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

It’s snowing, and “It’s Raining” by Matt McGann '00

K-Pop and Prof. Henry Jenkins.

It’s snowing here tonight, so when I got home I decided to curl up on the papasan and catch up on some reading. This weekend, I got so caught up in applications that I didn’t read Sunday’s New York Times, usually my favorite read of the week.

The front page article in the Arts section was about the Korean pop star Rain:

At 23, Rain, who has been labeled the Korean Justin Timberlake and the Korean Usher, is a serious and driven performer (with washboard abs, winsome looks and a Gene Kelly-like ability to leap through puddles while performing his hit song, “It’s Raining“). He wants nothing less than to break down barriers, build cultural bridges and become the first Asian pop star to succeed in America.

A few paragraphs later, the author turns to none other than MIT Comparative Media Studies professor Henry Jenkins for reasons why the popularity of Rain has grown in the US:

Inevitably, non-Asian-Americans are discovering such easily accessible foreign culture, too. Because of the “multidirectional flow of cultural goods around the world,” there is a “new pop cosmopolitanism,” according to Henry Jenkins, professor of comparative media studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In an essay in “Globalization” (University of California Press, 2004), Professor Jenkins writes that “younger Americans are distinguishing themselves from their parents’ culture through their consumption of Japanese anime and manga, Bollywood films and bhangra, and Hong Kong action movies.”

Previous Henry Jenkins appearances in this blog:

19 responses to “It’s snowing, and “It’s Raining””

  1. Arka says:

    Thats so so great!

    I second prashant…..I too am thrilled to find that you like bollywood. Swadesh is one of my favourites and so is Lagaan. I feel really very great. And as you go Matt, Indian movies lay on music. Their is hardly “one in a hundred” without some kind of music. They add color to our lives.


  2. Hello Matt!

    Nice to hear in Cambridge it’s still snowing. After about -15 deg. F (yes, below 0!) in Suceava /north of Romania /eastern Europe, i can certainly sense the difference that the melting of snow brings.

    I’m really interested into Comparative Media Studies, and I have chosen it as my major. Thanks for posting the link of professor Henry Jenkins’s website!

    I know you’re very busy reading apps right now, but I would appreicate if you can answer a few questions. I have sent you an email on January 24 with some questions about my app. I need a quick reply if I know if I should mail anything else for my app.



  3. shikhar says:

    you guys coming to know now…Matt’s really seen lots of bolly movies actually lagaan is his favourite.. I watched Rang De Basanti (aamir khan’s) today. Good movie.must for all the young indians.

    SO matt u get my application or not.


  4. Hey Matt!

    Man, I’m so thrilled to hear you like Bollywood. Being an Indian, I’ve been brought up on movies like Swades and Lagaan, and although American movies are world renowned, I think it’s safe to say that our Bollywood still has its charm. By the way, have you seen this old Indian movie called Deewar, from the 70s? It stars Amitabh Bachchan. Keep in mind while viewing that ALL bollywood cliches have originated from that movie!

    Best of Luck with the reading!


  5. YeSeul says:

    i think i see a resemblence between u and Rain (u say “bee” in korean), Matt!! hehe

  6. Siddharth says:

    oh look, im an indian too!!! :D

    anybody catch the reference to bhangra? im pretty sure they were talking about….Panjabi-MC!!!!! that guys sooo funny!! and i love jay-z’s bit on “Mundian To Bach Ke” (aka Beware of the Boys) -> “We rebellious, we back home, screamin’ leave Iraq alone / But all my soldiers in the field, I will wish you safe return / But only love kills war when will they learn”. yaaayyy!!

    btw, i have honestly and unbiasedly found that indian actresses tend to be quite hot, perhaps even hotter than american actresses. kareena/karisma kapoor, anyone? but seriously, jessica alba’s not bad-looking either…. im secretly obsessed with her :/

    and yeah, lots of cliches in bollywood movies… and ever notice how their clothes change like fifteen times during the song?? i like it :D

  7. Hey Matt. There’s an MIT engineering for women presentation at my high school (Montclair High School, Montclair, NJ) this friday – who usually does these presentations? I’m assuming it’s not you admissions guys, you seem, er, busy, to say the least. Just curious!

  8. uren says:

    …ahem… siddharth: You are talking to an Admissions officer here;)

    u’re lucky its snowing in cambridge coz in the middle east, temperatures have already started rising to around 35C max at noon:(

  9. Harish says:

    How unusual, Matt’s an MIT-educated Asst. Director and he likes Hindi films(widely, but inaccurately, viewed as not very intellectually stimulating) and I’m a half-wit Indian who loves Western Classical music(Beethoven 4ever!!!) Shows how globalisation can result in weird paradoxes.

    P.S.: Punjabi Pop is by far, the most mindless bit of cacophony I have ever had the misfortune of hearing. No offence meant, I just don’t like it.

  10. Harish says:

    Shikhar is a really important guy here in India…there even is a bollywood movie that was named after him that released a few weeks back!!

  11. Harish says:

    Shikhar is a really important guy here in India…there even is a bollywood movie that was named after him that released a few weeks back!!

  12. Harish says:

    NOOOOO!!! I’ve fallen prey to the embarrassing double-post trap!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well, at least nobody knows you double-posted because you didn’t type in a name. Ooops, never mind, you did.

  14. Victoria says:

    MIT… It’s everywhere…

  15. U3 says:

    Hey, Shikhar, if I were you, I’d be insulted that the movie stars Shahid Kapur.

  16. nabeel says:

    Hi Matt!

    Hope you are having a great time reading applications. I was just wondering whether you have started reading international applications. Could you tell how many on average apply to MIT from Pakistan?

    Good luck with selecting the best possible class for 2010!

  17. shikhar says:

    Ironically I didnt like that movie a bit…total crap.

    I am looking forward to Underworld Evolution but for today The OC.

  18. Phil says:

    hey Matt!

    wow i didn’t know “Rain” (In korean he’s called “Bee” – korean word for rain) had dreams of coming over. I wish BoA did. (she’s more famous) =P

    I just thought I should courteously tell you that I mentioned you in my letter to MIT admissions, stating that you did kind of look like Ferris Bueller-era Matthew Broderick. :]

    Hope you enjoy reading those apps. It’ll be a great mit class of 2010, and I hope that I also get to enjoy it! smile

  19. Emi says:

    HI Matt!

    I was there on Jan 31, the snow began to fall while I was doing a tour of the dorms! (I was there on the Overnight Program Jan 31-Feb 1). I understand wanting to find warmth.

    The articles you mentioned were very interesting, especially the second one. Thanks for mentioning them!

    Good luck with the applications!