BTS You Never Walk Alone - Spring Day MV Theory: The Untold Story
by: @sugasuite (edited: 170222 for pt 7)
Whose story is often unheard and untold?
The Discriminated… The Minorities…
When Kim Namjoon said You Never Walk Alone was the Untold Story… He wasn’t kidding. BigHit has done it again! Though this MV also fit the story of the boys’ journey, they still managed to discuss an underlying controversial issue.
1. OMELAS: DISCRIMINATION OF THE WEAK
In case you haven’t read the story… Here is a rundown
First of all, let me say, this story is riveting in both its simplicity and complexity; and you could finish it in less than 15 minutes. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is an award winning short story written by Ursula Le Guin. The story starts with the narrator describing a utopian place called Omelas as the Summer Festival starts. Everything about the city is idealistic and the narrator even invites the reader to imagine his/her own utopian scenario and imagine that to be Omelas because Omelas’ perfection and happiness was hard to simply describe. The narrator claims that the people of Omelas were not stupid, that this was not the reason why they were happy, but he also states that the people of Omelas lived without guilt.
As vague and hard as it was for the narrator to describe Omelas, her description of the small, frail impoverished child was vivid. People of Omelas knew about the child’s existence, locked in a small basement but none of them helped or saved the child. The narrator believes that the child served as reminder for the people of a world opposite to what they have. The absence of the child makes what they have pointless and therefore the child’s existence was poignant for their system.
The more incredible part though, the part that got the narrator amazed, were the people who left Omelas. Those who chose to walk alone away from the surfaced perfection toward the unknown when they have seen the child.
In the MV you can see how their initial excitement of being in Omelas slowly changed. As if taking in what Omelas truly was.
Kookie goes to the desolate Omelas where ironically the No Vacancy sign was still lit. Like how minorities are refused entry when clearly there is still room.
In the end, unlike in the book where the citizens who face the realities of Omelas left alone, they all left Omelas together.
2. Snow Piercer: DISCRIMINATION OF THE CLASSES
Snowpiercer was a movie released in 2013. in the movie, the world was set into an infernal winter after an experiment to solve global warming backfires. The remaining survivors were those on board the Snowpiercer. By 2031, segregation was eminent. Elites inhabit the extravagant front cars and the “scum” inhabit the tail in squalid and brutal conditions. Under watch by guards, they are brought only gelatinous protein bars to eat and kept in their place in the social order by Minister Mason, while sometimes small children are taken away.
Kinda Hunger Games-ish huh?
Rebellion broke out because it seemed like the oppressed have finally had enough. Many died due to the rebellious attacks and the head of the keeper of the peace for the Snowpiercer told the leader of the revolution that it was he who planned the rebellion to reduce the population and maintain the balance of the sealed ecosystem, and subsequently orders the elimination of 74% of the remaining tail passengers. He explains the importance of using fear and chaos to maintain a necessary order and leadership on the train.
The leader of the revolution almost accepted the offer of the head peace keeper to lead what remained of the Snowpiercer but decided to continue the fight when he learned that small children from the tail section are being trapped as replacement parts for “extinct” machinery and that those in the tail section were literally being kept alive for spare parts.
In the end, an explosion happens that causes an avalanche. The train gets derailed and only two survive, one girl and one boy. They alight the train and see a polar. They learn that life was actually possible outside the oppressive train.
In the MV, Kookie and RM is shown riding the train but they keep entering the doors at the back. The train traverses a snowy terrain.
When the line stops, they all go down together and see a dying tree amidst a grassy field. It was the only semblance of life present, but it was enough to hang their shoe on it and mark the place as theirs.
3. Safety Pin Earrings: FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
“#Safetypin I’m an ally… All those exposed to hate and violence, you’re not alone….”
No, it’s not a fashion statement, there is a deeper meaning.
4. Laundromat/ Segregation: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Honestly, where else can the term segregation be used that seems publicly acceptable?
Whites separated from colored.
This reminded me of a racial case I studied in law school, Yick Wo vs Hopkins 118 U.S. 356 (1886) (Who the F? would have thought I’d use that shit here?)
The immigration of Chinese to California began in 1850 at the beginning of the Gold Rush. As the Chinese became more successful, tensions with Americans grew. Californians were wary of the cultural and ethnic differences.
Yick Wo, was a laundry facility owned by Sang Lee. After twenty years of owning the facility as an undocumented immigrant, provisions set out by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors said that he could not continue to run his business due to an ordinance that was evidently racially targeted against all Chinese business owners.
This case was the first case where the United States Supreme Court ruled that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In the MV you can see that the blacks and whites inside were mixed. Whites, Blacks, toss it in! They’re one and the same.
5. Mountain of Clothes: ALL EQUAL!
In 2010, Christian Boltanski created a 40-foot-tall art installation at the Park Avenue Armory.
For Boltanski, clothes are simply a placeholder for 6000 real human beings who lived real lives. He told a journalist, “In my work there have always been a lot of photos of people, heartbeats of people—for me the clothing are people.” The magnitude of the pile illustrates the heaviness of all the hearts now lost.
In this work, Boltanski said that the mountain was an eternal afterlife of sorts, where every individual rests after death. In Boltanski’s view, we are all mixed together in death, no longer the distinct individuals we were in life. We become part of a great pile, individual pieces that have lost their minute details — a single, colossal entity.
This piece of art has been made in various cities all over the world.
BTS made themselves part of this mountain, a symbol of unity in lives lost due to discrimination.
6. Nods to the Sewol Ferry Tragedy: INJUSTICE
So many questions about these shoes. What I know… Jimin picked it up from the shore… and looked pale, kinda like he drowned.
It could honestly have so many meanings…
But given that this is an injustice close to their hearts, they might be giving nods to the Sewol Ferry tragedy.
The Sewol Ferry was a passenger ferry that capsized on 16 April 2014, killing 304 of the 476 people on board. More than 300 passengers were Danwon High School pupils on an organised trip, but only 75 students survived.
Months later, the captain of the ferry escaped the death penalty and has instead been sentenced to 36 years in jail for his role in the tragedy.
Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty and before the trial even started, President Park Geun-hye made a public statement condemning the crew’s action, saying that their decision to abandon ship had been “tantamount to murder”. The sentence means that the captain, aged 69, is likely to spend the rest of life in jail.
In December 2016, it was brought to light that 9000 artists were discriminated and blacklisted for criticizing the government and having a dissenting opinion in the Sewol case. In January, media leaked that Bangtan and Bighit donated money to the families of the Sewol family victims.
In the end of the video, Jimin is again looking sullen and holding the shoes.He was looking at the tree as if deciding what to do with it.
Another symbolism with a lot of interpretations in the video is the “shoes on the wire”. One other possible meaning for this is to give honor to the memory of a life lost.
7. The Yellow Ribbon: Symbol of Hope and Unity
The yellow ribbon has been used as a symbol of hope all over the world for a multitude of causes. From the desire for the return of American hostages held in Tehran between 1979 and 1981 to a fight against a dictatorship from a 21 year long regime in the Philippines in 1986.
The L finger symbol stood for the Filipino word “LABAN” which means FIGHT
For some it became a symbol of home coming and being reunited, hence the famous English song with lines that go, “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree”. It symbolizes the hope of freedom, justice and return. This yellow ribbon has held different meanings to different groups of people but in all those times, it served one purpose, to be a symbol of unity for those part of a cause.
In South Korea, the yellow ribbon started as a symbol of hope for the return of 9 missing children from the Sewol Ferry Tragedy but it slowly grew to be more than that. It served as a reminder that the families that sought justice did not stand alone. The government slowly saw this as a symbol of rebellion and defiance. In truth, it sent a silent but unified message against the people who were the source of the injustice committed.
In the MV, you see Kookie having sole awareness (my obnoxious way of saying he was dead ass staring at the camera) while everyone was a moving blur.
After a while, he seemed to slowly realize that everyone else was moving around him and he joins the crowd.
Two possible meanings. First, the pessimistic view, is that Kookie was the one aware of the issues but no one else was. Everyone else was going about their own business and eventually Kookie joined the crowd…
The second possible meaning? The one I prefer. The more optimistic view, is that due to the movement of everyone around him, Kookie became aware of the need to move and act and joined the movement for the yellow ribbon cause.
Though sometimes you feel like you stand alone in the crowd fighting for something… look around, look closely… there are more people who understand your plight. Never stop moving. Eventually, if your cause is truly powerful, more people will move with you.
Bangtan’s message was clear. For those who suffered injustice or have been discriminated against for being part of a minority, we know your untold stories. Your road may be unknown but YOU NEVER WALK ALONE
From the Book: The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas
Each one goes alone, youth or girl man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains.
“They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”
From The Movie Inception:
Cobb: You’re waiting for a train. A train that’ll take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you. But you can’t know for sure. Yet it doesn’t matter. Now, tell me why?
Mal: Because we’ll be together!
See the difference? :)