Review of Parasite (Movie) – Xixiang Weng (weng.156)

The material I choose for this assignment is a Korean film named Parasite, which is released in 2019. The plot of this movie starts as Kim Ki-woo, who is the son of Kim’s family got a tutor job of Park family by the recommendation of his friend. After that, all the members of Kim’s family use some strategy to successfully get jobs in the Park family. During the time working for Park’s family, the difference of the social class initials the contradiction between two families. At last, in an accidental event, the father of the Park’s family is killed by the father of Kim’s family.

In this movie, “smell” and “line” go through the most of plot and they become the sign of the social status. For instance, in the middle of the movie, while Kim’s family make a party at Park’s house when they think Park’s family is go hiking and won’t return in a short time, Park’s family suddenly go back home since the change of weather. Kim’s family hide under the sofa in a hurry. Father of the Park family don’t see them and start to make a casual talk to his wife which is about he thinks father of Kim’s family smells bad, and usually pass the “line”, such as talk to him like they are friends, which make him very uncomfortable. This conversation is heard by Kim’s family hiding under the sofa in the meantime. When I watch this plot last year, I used to think about where the “smell” on Kim’s family comes from and what is the “line” they talk about. After thinking about it, I think the “smell” of Kim’s family is the moldy smell of the semi-basement without sunlight. However, I think the “smell” represents more than itself. It reveals the different living environments between rich and poor people which can also be extended to the concern of difference of social status. The father of the Park family also really cares about the “line” between himself and the father of Kim’s family. He cannot bear that poor people talk to him in a relative equals atmosphere. In his mind, Kim’s family is treated as “Othering”. This is very similar to the condition Ortiz faced in the material we have read before, “The Story of My Body”. The only difference I think between those two is that Ortiz is treated as “Othering” by her physical looking, but Kim’s family is treated as “Othering” by their socioeconomic status.

In general, I think the creator of this movie wants the audience to think about the cruelty and injustice caused by wealth differentiation. In my opinion, he did a very good job. He skillfully uses the “smell” and “line” to represent the injustice and the difference of identity and power between rich and poor people, but not state them directly. I think in this way the audience could get more impressive and deeper thinking about the injustice and “Othering”.

Shitt”$” Creek Netflix TV Show – A Look at Economic Status

Shitt’s Creek is a comedy featured on Netflix that focuses on a family that gets cheated out of their wealth. The only thing the government let’s them keep is a town they bought as a joke that was deemed as worthless. A long story short, this extremely rich, uppity family moves to an extremely poor and rural area after losing all of their money.

The story brings a lot of interesting contrast between the different economic classes, but even more interesting is the dynamic portrayed even when the family has no money. The family acts as though everything is gross and that they are “above” everyone else, but they eventually adapt to their new surroundings. In the case of this show the family is the other and the townsfolk are the one, but the opposite is also true. I know this sounds confusing and counter intuitive, but in the show there are a lot of dynamic interactions. The townsfolk are already all friends with each other and spend the most amount of time together. Outside of their hospitality they seem to not want to spend much time with the family, and the family doesn’t want to spend much time with them. The towns people see them as outsiders and find their “culture” weird at first. For instance, the way they dress, the way they talk, and the way they act. Likewise the family thinks the same thing about the townsfolk. This interaction originally led to a power struggle in the town because the family was basically dependent on the townspeople for help, and it was difficult for them to accept that.

Overtime the two groups of people begin to accept each other and adapt in certain ways. In the beginning, the family wants to do nothing but leave the town and make it out, but in a short while they all basically want to stay and the mom even runs for town council. Overall, it is an interesting story about how perceived economic class has positives and negatives in certain situations and how two different types of people can get along. I also think that it does a good job portraying how the longer that you are around a certain group of the other the more you begin to assimilate or accept them. This seems to be the case often times in the real world and makes for a funny and dynamic story.

Parasite Text Review assignment

The piece of work that I have chosen is the critically acclaimed 2019 thriller Parasite. In this movie we see a clash between two very different socioeconomic statuses. In the movie, a man from an impoverished family in South Korea fraudulently acquires a tutoring job for a very prestigious family to teach their daughter english. This man moves from one of the most impoverished parts of the city and starts spending a significant amount of time with this very wealthy family.

Throughout the story, the poor family is met with many different aspects of socioeconomic discrimination. Such as the rich family saying they have a horrible stench and treating them like servants. As the poor family starts to become more and more acquainted with this lavish lifestyle, things begin to complicate themselves. The poor family begins to feel comfortable lying to the rich family and start mooching off of the rich family, thus giving the film its name, Parasite.

Once the poor family begins to get a taste of a lavish lifestyle they don’t want to give it back up. This is understandable because coming from a life of poverty, why would they even imagine returning to their previous lifestyle, they now have jobs they wouldn’t have dreamed of having previously. At one point on the movie, the rich family goes on a weekend vacation and the poor family decides that they’ll spend the weekend in their employers home, destroying the place and enjoying a side of life they never would have previously dreamed of.

To avoid any spoilers for the movie (which I highly recommend watching on your own), I will summarize the main aspect of othering that I noticed throughout the film. The main theme of the movie is the disparity between classes in South Korea. The difference between living in poverty and being able to support your family. The lower class in South Korea is largely discriminated against, being thought of as dirty and unable to work, doing odd jobs just to skate by. This othering was extremely obvious in the movie because the upper class rarely considers the plight of the lower class and uses them to serve themselves thinking that the lower class owes it to them.

The Secrets of a Country Club

Evan: Welcome back everyone. On today’s episode of “Yo, is this Racist” we will be hearing from a good friend of mine, Morgan, who will be sharing a scenario with us. Let’s hear more about what she has to say.

Morgan: Hey Evan! Thanks for having me today. The situation I wanted to discuss today has been taking place at my job. For the last few years, I have been working at a country club during my summer breaks. I have gotten to know who the majority of the families are and know who is a part of which friend group and who is not. There is one family that has adopted two African American little girls and they don’t come too often to the club. However, when they do come, many of the other little kids refuse to play with the little girls and oftentimes the parents do not interact with these parents. From what I have witnessed, I believe that these actions are racially motivated. What are your thoughts, Evan?

Evan: That is definitely an interesting situation and it seems as if this could be an example of racism. Before making any assumptions, let’s consult our definition of what racism is. The dictionary defines racism as “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to others”.

Morgan: Would you say that racism could be an example of Othering?

Evan: Would you remind me what it means to be the Other again?

Morgan: Yeah, I learned about the concept of the Other in my class. Basically, the Other is any person or group that is categorized as different from the One. The One is the person or group who distinguishes another individual as the Other based off of differences in power, wealth, race, among a variety of different factors. For example, I may set myself up as the One and categorize you as the Other based on different interests that we may have.

Evan: That’s an interesting claim. Based on your scenario given, I feel that not only are the African American children Othered by the other kids, but the parents are Othering the parents of these children as well.

Morgan: For sure. It is obvious that there are many injustices at play. For example, the country club operates on a prestigious level in recruiting new members. Any potential members must receive an invitation from a current member and then undergo an intense interview process. There is only one African American family that is a member at this club and they come only once a year.

Evan: Wow. That sounds intense and like there seems to be a particular status that the club and its members are looking for. Referring back to our definition of racism, we said that it involves the idea that one’s race is superior and has the right to dominate others of a particular racial group. Do you think that there is more to race that plays a role in who becomes a member at the club?

Morgan: Personally, I have come to believe that wealth and class have been the driving factors in how the country club has come to be. I think that perhaps race has just become another aspect that plays a role in the bias that the members seem to exemplify. Basically, I think many of the members have a perceived view of what an individual of high class and wealth should look and act like.

Evan: So you are saying that the key issues of wealth and class are the reasons for determining who gets invited in and why there seems to be injustices acted upon the family with the adopted African American little girls?

Morgan: Yes. I feel as if these factors are the key reasons for the bias against the other members.

Evan: Interesting take. I can definitely see what you are saying, and I too find it interesting that racism could potentially be fueled by other factors. I think that it is likely that these members associate wealth with a certain racial profile. That certainly does fit the definition of racism when it talks about “the idea that one’s own race has the right to dominate others of a particular racial group”.

Morgan: Mmhm. I think this is a never-ending cycle that will continue to persist at the country club. When the children of the members grow up to either inherit their parents’ membership or become a member of their own, I think that this bias will be engrained into who they believe a member of the club should look and be like.

Evan: Yeah, I could see how that could potentially be transmitted to the future generations at the club. I think your example is interesting in the fact that it could be representative of Hegel’s master-slave dynamic. The country club members may view themselves as the master and heavily relies on the slave, which is any member of a lower class, to validate the master and his status of wealth and class. However, I don’t see any example of having to “fight to the death” for either the master or slave here.

Morgan: Wow I did not think of just how many different ideals that this situation could fit into. Do you think that the wealth factor is the key to what is fueling the power relationships?

Evan: Most definitely. I especially think that when wealth is used in order to achieve a higher status or used to get what is desired, then the potential of power is directly correlated with the funds.

Morgan: So what do you think Evan, do you think that the scenario I described was representative of racial injustice?

Evan: After our discussion, I think that this situation resulted from the factors of social rank, wealth, and a bias of what an individual of these values should look and be like. Therefore, I do think that racial tendencies were present and fits the definition that we discussed earlier. The definition stated that racism was a “belief that inherent differences among various racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement.” In this case, I think that the achievement is the status of belonging to a country club and has the necessary funds to do so. You really do get to see first-hand how wealth can have such a widespread effect on others!

Morgan: Yeah I do! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks so much for having me and providing insight into what defines racism, further dissecting the concept of the Other, and seeing just how often these aspects can take place in our day to day life.