Last Saturday night in Gangnam was interesting. (Rest assured that every expat living in Seoul has a story that begins with those words.) In addition to saying farewell to a few old friends and hanging out with some new ones for the very first time, I made a bizarre discovery that’s worth documenting here on ye olde blog.
Behold, the sign outside one of Gangnam’s many bars:
Okay, so you’ve got Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Batman, some anime characters — long story short, it seems like a pretty typical Pop Art mural, right? Right. But take a close look at the blonde-haired girl on the lower lefthand side. Here, I’ll blow her up so you can have a closer look.
If you don’t recognize this girl right away, you’ll probably assume she’s either: (a) the Swiss Miss girl; (b) the mascot for some European product that’s found a niche market in the States (think Nutella or Riesen Chocolate); (c) a long-forgotten character from some 1930s radio program; or (d) a weird Korean marketing ploy designed to make Westerners buy soju (a very popular, very intoxicating Korean liquor). All of those assumptions would be wrong, though. Wanna know who she really is?
That’s right. There is a bona fide Nazi poster girl drinking soju with Mickey Mouse and Batman outside a bar in Gangnam. This isn’t the first time a Disney mural has flirted with the Third Reich, of course, but it still caught me by surprise.
If you were with me that night and didn’t understand my amazed reaction and/or why I was taking a picture of the sign, I hope it all makes a little more sense now. The world’s a strange place, kids.