From “wop” to “whoops.” Believe it or not, here’s a Psy story that has NOTHING to do with “Gangnam Style” or the latest celebrity he’s managed to buddy-buddy up with on his invisible horse dance saddle.
Today, everyone’s favorite harmless Korean rap singer is on the verge of being, well, not everyone’s fav, stateside. Allegedly, Psy put on an anti-American concert in Seoul, South Korea back in 2004 where he sang a darker tune called “Dear America” signed, sealed, delivered with the following lyrics:
“Kill those f*cking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
"Kill those f*cking Yankees who ordered them to torture
"Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
"Kill them all slowly and painfully”
There was even accompanying video with the CNN iReport that first reported the incident, showing Psy in bizarre gold-plated face paint and smashing a toy-sized American tank on stage, but has since been taken down over “copyright” reasons. Hmmm…
But this anti-U.S. military sentiment didn’t just materialize out of thin air. In 2002, the acquittal of two American soldiers that ran over two teenaged Korean girls with a military vehicle is the spark that lit the “protest song” fire of Psy, according to the Washington Post. Regarding the song, this sounds more like anti-occupation, -militarism, and -imperialism, than plain surface level anti-Americanism.
In a statement from Psy, he explains the lyrics in his words:
“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in - eight years ago – was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words.
“I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months – including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them- and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it’s important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."
The U.S. Embassy Seoul’s Twitter account tweeted this week: “Guess who’s performing for the Obamas at this year’s ‘Christmas in Washington’ show? None other than @psy_oppa!”
According to White House officials, President Obama and his family will still attend the charity concert and Psy is still on the list of performers. After all, this is the country where one of our greatest liberties is freedom of speech. And anti-militarism isn’t a view exclusively held by non-citizens, many within our own country are conflicted with the way our U.S. armed forces conducts its business and relations abroad; however, the sensitivity at work here for the families of the troops, might not be worth the attention, especially during this holiday season.
Regardless, probably not the best day for this news to come to light for either side considering it’s the anniversary of Pearl Harbor... What do you think: Should the White House request that Psy be withdrawn from the roster of Christmas party performers?