“It’s not something to like,” said my politically impeccable husband of the latest song I am wont to play while erupting into dorky-fifty-year-old-mom-dancing in the dining room, to my tween children’s mocking delight. By which he means: it’s a product of a real-life version of George Orwell’s prole machine, the device that auto-generated hits to distract the populace in 1984. The real version is the South Korean government apparatus that produces K-Pop (Wiki tells me–proving my dork credentials, I am late to the genre and just learning this now), by training and grooming and promoting their stars in a rigidly controlled and calculated system. The result is music widely criticized for its appropriation of elements from other cultures (notably African-American), its bizarre melange of Korean and random English phrases, its routinized, mechanical dance routines, and its utter lack of individual-artist-authenticity. I briefly thought of waxing Barthean (that is to say, literary-cultural-critical) and opining about what this state-sponsored art form shows us about the global marketplace for music and cross-cultural exchange. I considered invoking Walter Benjamin, who (I think) would say: “Authentic, auschmentic! do you really think Western pop is that today?” It even crossed my mind to try, from a state of near-total-ignorance, to explore how the division of the two Koreans might have created the conditions for exactly this form of commercial art. (All I know about Korea I learned from one of the best books I’ve read in my adult life, Barbara Demick’s Nothing To Envy, based on interviews with former North Koreans.) But then I thought, why bother? The point is that I love it. And nothing I could say could justify my joy in its energy, its wacky nonsensical lyrics, its sexual cliches, its driving, lifting rhythms. I have to face the fact that in my peer group, my love of K-Pop makes me a sinner of taste, a lover of trash. For today, maybe, it’s enough to just confess.