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Bohemian + Bourgeois = bobos
Nam Hye-in reporter  |  blackspacemonkee@hotmail.com
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승인 2007.06.20  02:14:10
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

   

After the Orange Class’ scandalous behavior and wastefulness that was poured out like dirt here and there in our society, there is something new hanging around in Korea. They are called the BOBOS class. Who or what is the BOBOS class?
Originally, the word BOBOS is a compounded word from Bourgeois and Bohemian, which indicates the new upper class in America, who enjoy the physical utilities of the Bourgeois, and the mental richness of the Bohemian at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. They are strongly informed.
2. They have their own unique shopping sense.
3. They think freely.
4. They do not care about the latest fashions.
5. They are extraordinary and novel.
6. They enjoy their work.
7. They have spare time.
8. They are positive.
9. They do not waste though they have lots of money.

BOBOSs are a ‘civilized elite’ in the information-oriented age. An American journalist, David Brooks, defined the BOBOS class as “a new culture and business authority with the free spirit of the Bohemian, and have the cultural treasonous intention and mundane ambition of Bourgeois enterprisers”. Economical abundance and living in comfort is similar to the Bourgeois lifestyle, but a Bohemian’s blood is flowing in an aspect of their sensibility. Therefore, they have creativity and resistance at the same time. It is the BOBOS class that steps into both the Bourgeois world and Bohemian world. They enjoy their abundant living, but take precautions against falling into drastic materialism. The American BOBOS class shows an objection to vested rights, though they unconsciously grew up in a vested rights class, but because the BOBOS class has risen to the surface of adulthood, it is not too much to say that a boundary line between the Bohemian and Bourgeois has been meaningless. They combined the Bohemian’s value system with the Bourgeois’ culture superbly, besides they are rising as the strong, who rule America in the digital information-oriented age.
However, the Korean BOBOS is a little bit different. Korean BOBOS, who are in their late twenties to mid-thirties and have physical abundance, yet they are more frugal than the Orange class, for example, they just slip on old pants and shirts, and do not care about the price or brand name. When they buy expensive brand clothes, it is at a time that is correct with their tastes and values. If the Orange class were to fall to Bourgeois, the BOBOS class will be rich Bohemians. The Orange class falls into corruption and pleasure necessarily, but the BOBOS class loves culture and art instinctively. Most of the Orange class members have no jobs or they were students studying abroad, who had to come back to Korea. On the other hand, the BOBOS class members usually work as professionals and have pride in their jobs.
The BOBOS class members have jobs, which they regarded as having inventiveness. They also drink just one glass of gin or whiskey at the jazz bar after they leave the office. Sometimes, they enjoy the jazz music or roll up their sleeves to join the musicians and play the piano at the club. They have their own styles, tastes, and individuality. Also, they can use moderation, but indulge in luxury only when they feel the need to. On the other hand, the Orange class is fond of a uniform fashion. They do not have their own style; the level of appreciation is low. Although, the Orange class likes to dress up with jewels and celebrated brand fashions, their outward look is sometimes seen as shallow.
BOBOS hate extravagance and waste, except when they have to spend money on quality. They do not care about celebrated brand names, or what others’ see as fashionable. These people merely attach importance to their taste and sensibilities. Accordingly, happiness and satisfaction are the most important things for them.
The BOBOS class prefers comfort and naturalness to high grade brands. For example, they easily wear wrinkled shirts, basic sweaters, and vests, which are woven with wool, such as natural quality clothes. In addition to this, they love country things, so they do not spare any expense when eating fruits and vegetables, which are made organically. Also, they are concerned about the environment.
However, the BOBOS class pursues high-grade quality in everything. They are not luxurious, yet they spend a lot of money on what they like and basic things. As you know, money is important to them. The reason is that they hate to be restricted in their freedom and hate it, when they cannot do what they want to do with their money.

   
▲ American TV series, SEX AND THE CITY


This third culture, BOBO Culture, alternates between the mutual competitive standards of Bohemian and Bourgeois as forming successive new rules with spending canons. These new rules and canons alternate spending patterns for the educated classes now. They have to show people that they are concerned human beings, not vulgar snobs.
The core of the BOBOS class, who seem to like to chase only freedom, is located somewhere else, unexpectedly. That is in their altruism. These people think that others’ freedom is as important as theirs. This means BOBOS have cognizance of other people, who is different from themselves, though they do not care about another person’s taste in reference to themselves.
Sometimes BOBOS cause social problems, such as creating fantasies in those outside their class. The BOBOS class’ life is luxurious as you know, so many people generally think that the BOBOS class is special and they have something different. The BOBOS class appears a lot on television serial dramas, which have characters from this financial clique, such as a millionaire’s son or an ordinary woman. People watch their life through the Braun tubes, feeling jealous with envy. The TV is not the only way of seeing inside the BOBOS life. You can see it in university culture. Ten years ago, many college students placed a great deal of weight in the opinions of their peer groups or clubs, more so than in their personal activities. In the past, students hung around together, whether he or she likes the others or not, and they worried about common problems together. However, nowadays students give a great deal of weight to their personal interests and problems, such as their hobbies, traveling, part-time jobs and activities of entering professions. These examples are related to the BOBOS class phenomenon.
A good example of Korean BOBOS life style is the Brunch Cafe in Korea. There are so many people, who are waiting for their tables at the Brunch Cafe in Chungdam-dong. Originally, brunch is a compounded word of breakfast and lunch in America, which means a late breakfast. A Korea the Brunch Cafe’s brunch time is generally from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch Cafes are almost exclusively located in Chungdam-dong. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., it is a jam-packed time for the Brunch Cafe on the weekend. Generally, you can see people, who enjoy brunch, wearing sunglasses, reading newspapers and eating sandwiches, or omlettes at the Cafe from a terrace that could be reminiscent of Europe or America. One manager of the Brunch Cafe said, “People love the terrace and enjoy brunch under the sun like in foreign countries even though the sunshine is too strong to open their eyes.” It means people like their spare time and comfort, which are good points of the BOBOS lifestyle.
   
▲ A brunch cafe in kangnam
However, the Brunch Cafe is not an example of the western BOBOS lifestyle. Do you know the American TV series, Sex and the City? Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda are good examples of the BOBOS class and the Sassy class. Sassy means affluent, successful, stylish and young, especially, for those between the ages from 25 to 35 years old. Today’s talented women are rising as the representatives of the Sassy class. Consequently, the Sassy class is under the influence of the BOBOS class.
The BOBOS class does not want someone to be sacrificed for their freedom, because they think they cannot suppress another person’s freedom and tastes to have real freedom. Besides, they have some sensibilities of art and metal depth as an aspect that they pursue abundance of spirit, not emphasizing outward appearances. They are glowing with pride. People, who have a free temperament, can quit their jobs, and climb up the Himalayan Mountain at any time. They have thoughts that they can leave whenever they want, so they do not regard jobs as lifetime jobs. It means they do not have secular excessive fondness, but you cannot be a man of the BOBOS class by just living freely. A special feature of the BOBOS is that they have self-restraint and altruism. If BOBOSs always have self-restraint and altruism, their trouble free marches will continue. Moreover, the real BOBOSs will appear and not go astray as the Orange class did.

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