[Op-ed] A Cosmetic(s) Discourse, Part V: Closing Remarks on the Pathologically Disturbed

A Cosmetic(s) Discourse, Part V:

Closing Remarks on the Pathologically Disturbed

In the preceding parts of this series, we deconstructed and analysed the argumentative structure of the cosmetics discourse, as well as the origin of those arguments in the grander scheme of historical, intellectual, psychological and moral human development or evolution. In most, if not all, of these areas, we found the ideas and arguments posed by this discourse lacking. In this final part of the series, we will synthesise, as succinctly as possible, all that came before and address any remaining issues from the discourse that have yet to be addressed.

WTF, Mate…?

In spite of all the criticisms leveled at the cosmetic discourse by this series thus far, through which the author admits to experiencing a certain amount of irreverent glee, there were moments in the discourse that showed true promise of saving itself from its own half-bakedness and underdevelopment. More than a couple of times, the discourse came close to asking interesting questions when addressing the JYJ v. SM Entertainment lawsuit…only to deflate into ridiculousness again in its classic circular and predictable manner.

Inasmuch as the cosmetic discourse is severely ignorant of the law and the functions of legal systems, to its credit, it makes relatively accurate assessments when it comes to the subjects it is truly obsessed with: money and brand value. It is entirely plausible that the departure of the three from SM caused the public’s perception of Dong Bang Shin Ki’s brand value to take the proverbial nosedive and consequently led to SM losing substantial sums of money and the members themselves facing a huge public backlash. Perhaps this is why the discourse itself seems to have a difficult time comprehending why the three members of DBSK would throw in the glove at the peak of their brand value. Why, at the height of their fame, would these three risk public backlash as well as damage to their brand and marketability by walking out of SM in such a dramatic and irreversible manner? Why, oh why? And for what? At this point, the drumroll is gathering louder and louder in the background and the anticipation is climbing for a truly stupendous answer that will make tabloid reporters and paparazzi weep grateful tears of joy.

And what we get is…a cosmetics business. The stupendous answer we’ve all been waiting for, announces the cosmetic discourse, is a cosmetics business that even the discourse’s supporters acknowledge to be ‘not very big’ or remarkable.

Seriously?! The three members of JYJ walked out of SM into certain hostility and career death…to sell women’s face cream?

Furthermore, at this point the discourse has already attributed the cause of the lawsuit to be the cosmetics business, but it now wants us to believe that the cosmetics business was the objective of the lawsuit also. One thing—the cosmetics business—as both cause and objective? One thing as both the point of departure and the point of arrival? This discourse spins itself in more circles than a merry-go-round in a sad Korean soap opera.

Not only does the discourse deflate itself after actually displaying promise but it comes frustratingly close to asking the question that naturally follows from the above, the question that is really at the crux of it all, only to drop the ball(s) in the end. Why did the three feel the need to pursue unguaranteed monetary gains in the first place if they were already at a point where it’s in their interests (as much as it is in SM’s) to protect their image and “brand”?

Forgive me if I find the answer of ‘SM’s unfair, Korean-Civil-Code-Article-103-breaking-13-year exclusive contract’ to be a more consistent and logically less dizzying answer than ‘the cosmetics business’. Continue reading

Seoul District Court Decision on SM’s Objection to Judgment on Injunctive Relief

In the summer of 2009, JYJ petitioned the court for an injunction that would suspend the effects of the JYJ-SM contract. On 10.27.2009, the court held for JYJ and granted their injunction.

At this defeat, SM promptly filed an objection to the injunction. This objection was summarily and fully dismissed a few days ago– 2.15.2011. The contract is unfair and is invalid. SM is commanded to cease interfering with JYJ’s independent entertainment activities.

The below is the full and complete translation of the court’s decision to dismiss all of SM’s claims. It is worth reading in its entirely. SM’s attorneys apparently had great difficulties in coming up with arguments (the quality is actually quite appalling) and it shows– the court summarily dismisses every single one of them as “without merit.” An analysis that breaks down the complexity of this document will soon follow.

The term “Creditors” refers to JYJ. The terms “Debtor” and “Debtor company” refer to SM.

Source: DNBN

Intro and translation by Inklette of DNBN

[Op-ed] A Cosmetic(s) Discourse, Part IV: The Pile of Chimney Refuse Calling the Kettle Black

A Cosmetic(s) Discourse, Part IV:

The Pile of Chimney Refuse Calling the Kettle Black

A big chunk of the cosmetic discourse is dedicated to sullying the reputation of Crebeau, the cosmetics business that the three members of Dong Bang Shin Ki invested in. The discourse paints Crebeau as an illegitimate, corrupt and dodgy enterprise with a strong possibility of involvement in criminal activity. As stated before, it is not the purpose of this series to either confirm or dispel these accusations; in any case, the majority of these rumours have already been systematically disproved by Korean fans. Rather, the penultimate instalment of this series is proud to present to you the most amusing case of the pot calling the kettle black ever encountered in K pop history.

Playing Mafia

Judging from the way Crebeau is described in every statement issued or approved by SM Entertainment, one would think that Crebeau was not so much a cosmetics business as it was a crime syndicate. Not only has SM accused it of being “unethical” and using “questionable business practices” but has heavily implied that the company is engaged in criminal activity. For a while, the Hotel Girls attacked the cosmetics company for being a “multi-level company” or operating along the lines of a “pyramid scheme”. Then there were the rumours that Crebeau intended to get on the Kosdaq—the Korean stock exchange—through “backdoor listing”. Last, but most definitely not least in appalling impact, came the accusation that Crebeau was using illegal sheep placenta in its products.

In reality, the Hotel Girls themselves confessed upon investigation by the Korean police that they had deliberately fabricated the majority of those accusations[i]. They confessed that Crebeau is not a multi-level company, that there is no evidence aside from SM’s insistence that Crebeau was looking to engage in backdoor listing, and acknowledged that sheep placenta is not an illegal ingredient but a common additive in cosmetics products worldwide. Subsequent visits by Korean fans to the Crebeau headquarters in Korea where they were shown the company’s documentation further conformed that Crebeau is not a multi-level company but an average small-to-medium enterprise. And it was expanding via means that did not require backdoor listing, at least not yet.

However, if these rumours had been true, and Crebeau was utilising a multi-level structure or intending to get registered on the Korean stock exchange through backdoor listing, would the company deserve to be labelled a criminal enterprise on the level of the mafia?

Upon a cursory investigation, one realises that a multi-level company is not so much a company structure per se as it is a marketing strategy, similar in many ways to a pyramid scheme but not the same thing[ii]. While it is inefficient, risky and highly unadvisable, it is certainly not illegal (though the same could not be said of pyramid schemes). And backdoor listing is apparently what SM chooses to call an M&A—Merger and Acquisition—whereby a small, unlisted company merges into a large listed company and becomes part of that listed company. Large companies commonly absorb their smaller and more nimble rivals in this way to acquire new technology and market share[iii]. Backdoor listing is neither risky nor unadvisable. According to a colleague who specialises in business law, it’s actually something that every large company ought to do if it wants to maximise competitiveness without devoting its entire budget to R&D (Research and Development). Backdoor listing thus certainly doesn’t amount to anything as exciting as criminal activity. If anything, it seems to be so unremarkable that it doesn’t even have its own entry on Wikipedia.

Once again, the claims made by the cosmetic discourse turn out to be much ado about business banalities. Continue reading