Friday, January 14, 2005

I Swear This Link Has A Taiwan Angle

"Felipe Rose, the Indian dude from the singing group the Village People, presented the National Museum of the American Indian with a framed, gold 45-rpm single of the disco group's 1978 megahit 'Y.M.C.A.' on Wednesday afternoon. "

It's not easy to be genuinely funny within the conventions of a standard news article, but Hank Stuever pulls it off with this one in The Post. In my first months here, hanging out with my friend Jonathan, we were overjoyed to discover a teahouse improbably equipped with a real, old-stye juke box. Even stranger was to find that it played the "YMCA" song, which neither of us had heard in over a decade. YMCA is now firmly entrenched in the canon of "English Songs That Taiwanese Seem To Like A Lot I Don't Know Why". The Post article marks the retro resurrection of the song from about '92, just when I got here, but I swear I hadn't heard the thing before I got to Taiwan, and then - well, it's been pretty much unavoidable since. I can only surmise that it's like those Felix the Cat shirts you see around - by a kind of double-negative, some Taiwanese are so dorky they sometimes stumble blindly onto the cutting edge of campy retro trends.