Perhaps I don’t know shit about boy bands and boy band fan culture. But the BTS Army just hits different. Stumbling upon incorrect BTS quotes is just the latest trend tied to the K-Pop juggernaut’s fan base that has me squinting my eyes like a grandmother trying to understand Instagram.
I grew up with NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees, and was well into my teens/young adulthood when 1D and 5SOS emerged. I had friends who enjoyed these artists, but I never got into those worlds with them. But even before BTS was it, observing the handful of friends of mine that were K-Pop stans showed me a level of devotion beyond anything I’ve seen for any Western artist.
Over the past year, I’ve gone from dipping a toe in the water to wading in the jacuzzi next to the pool of BTS fandom. Not that close or deep, but I can see what the fuck is going on.
Whether it’s a historic live performance, project announcement, or impressive show of international leadership, the ARMY keeps their boys in the biggest world trends of Twitter every month. This is where I learned of BTS fans’ commitment to highlighting the brilliance of every individual member—From RM’s rapping and bilingual eloquence and Jimin’s sensitivity to Jin’s absurd handsomeness. This is what makes fan-made incorrect BTS quotes so great.
The BTS fandom isn’t the first to come up with incorrect quotes as a way of celebrating a boy band’s individual members. But based on the frequency each member is mentioned in the various Tumblr and Twitter accounts dedicated to incorrect BTS quotes, I don’t get the sense that the least popular members of the group, whoever they may be, are forgotten in the same way Chris Kirkpatrick (NSYNC) is. In fact, BTS fans themselves aren’t sure there is a clear “least popular member.” There’s something thorough about how BTS fans stan.
As a complete outsider, reading through a feed of incorrect BTS quotes was surprisingly entertaining. Based on the jokes and replies to @correctbts on Twitter, I felt like I was in a crash course on the Bangtan Boys and how the ARMY gets down. I like to think I picked up on who was considered the most handsome and innocently vain (Jin), the leader (RM), and the most likely to say some dumb shit (Jungkook).
jungkook: did it hurt?
taehyung, sighing: when i fell from heaven-
jungkook: when you fell from the vending machine
jungkook: ’cause you’re a snack
— incorrect bts quotes (@correctbts) March 22, 2019
I don’t think the Universe needs a 2,000-word thinkpiece from me about how great the BTS ARMY is. There are plenty of more initiated writers/blogs (see Vulture and KimChiSlap) that have written in length about what makes the ARMY special, including the lack of bullying/negative groupthink and all the wonderful things they’ve been inspired to do by their beloved group. All I want to leave you with is the fact that even I, a 20-something Black American hip-hop fan, can see something genuinely great in the buzz surrounding BTS.
Being a good participant/consumer in the culture is underrated, and ARMYs are among the best of them.