Counterculture: I Ain’t No Burger!

In what appears to be a cultural phenomenon that preaches exactly opposite what the Gangnam Style revolution brought (lavish lifestyle of new money in the South Korean city of Seoul), a COUNTERCULTURE effort is being rapped by young adults in the country of Pakistan. In Pakistan, a DEVELOPING COUNTRY that is finding its footing in a COMMERCIALIZED world, the Mr. Burger fast food chain provides halal burgers to the masses.  A typical WESTERN style food chain, Mr. Burger offers meals to those who can afford it, thus the new title that is given to young urban professionals, “Burgers.”

Though the Mr. Burger food chain succeeds in ACCULTURATING the masses into Western tastes, there are some that look to turn their back on the would-be-Burgers by giving “Burgers” a negative connotation. Rapper Talha Anjum from the Young Stunners says,

“A Burger is someone who wants to be someone they aren’t, someone who wears skinny jeans and Nikes, uses a smartphone, and holds a US Green Card. If you listen to Burger-e-Karachi, we’re not making fun of people,” Anjum said. “It’s just a message that you should be real to yourself and real to the people around you. You shouldn’t judge someone if they don’t have a branded T-shirt.”

In this case, the Young Stunners are using POPULAR CULTURE in the form of rap to seemingly NEOLOCALIZE more traditional FOLK CULTURAL ways of life in Pakistan, one that does not emphasize MATERIAL CULTURE. One example of this neolocalization is in the Pakistani version of burger patties that are made from lentils versus more expansive meat products. The countercultural lentil burgers are called “Bun kebabs.” In this case, young adults who might shun and ostracize the YUPPIE CULTURE are trying to let everyone know in their song, The Burgers of Karachi, that being a “bun kebab” is a point of pride for any Pakistani.  Ironically, the Young Stunners are using popular culture as  BARRIER OF DIFFUSION to help get their message out.

In the meantime, Oppan Gangnam Style!

Watch the Burger-e-Karachi rap video by Young Stunners below.

PRI: The World Podcast: In Pakistan, No one Admits to Being a ‘Burger’