CROWD CONTROL: THE POLARIZED SHOPPING CULTURE IN BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA

IF YOU WANT TO BUY AN APPLE in Busan, you have basically two options. You can go to a department store—Lotte Mart, Hyundai, Shinsegae—which are 12-floor goliaths offering everything from Gucci products to a park on the roof. Your other option is a street vendor, a wizened old Korean who will offer often-bruised produce surrounded by flies.

What’s amazing is that, in Busan, the lower classes have banded together to create their own Centum Cities—booming, popular marketplaces that are both mirror images and polar opposites of the luxury department stores.

My latest piece for The Mass Ornament, and my first photo essay. It took me a few weeks to compile all the pictures—there’s about six locations in Busan that I jaunted through to see what they were like. Almost every shot was taken as incognito as possible, just walking and holding the camera by my side (which is why so many shots are profile-oriented instead of landscape/horizontal).

I’ll also put up a link to my Flickr here, for those interested in the shots that didn’t make the cut/anything else I’ve shot over the years.

TITS OVER WITS: THE POSTER OF ‘NO STRINGS ATTACHED’ ON TRIAL FOR THE MANSLAUGHTER OF IRONY

I FIRST SAW the poster for No Strings Attached sometime last December while passing by a fairly large SilverCity theatre in Toronto. Though it was seven months ago, I distinctly recall standing there, looking at this poster, and trying to figure out what the movie was about. Are these characters cheating on someone? Are they comically insecure? Are they in danger? Does one of them kill the other? Do they simply fall in love after having sex? If the latter is true—and plot synopses confirm that it is—then why doesn’t the poster just say that, or at least indicate some kind of tension or conflict?

More importantly: Who thought this poster was a good idea?

No Strings Attached; no thoughts included

Why did this film make money? The production designer—aptly named Ida Random, who was nominated for an Oscar for her art direction on Rain Man before working on Spanglish as well as the third and fourth Fast/Furious movies—would probably tell us that people are very willing to pay $12 to see Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman have sex.

The first time in a long time that I’ve written something casually, for free, for fun. But the site’s worth looking at, and I think my opinions are valid. Probably.