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PSY’s anti-American past?

Over at Busan Haps, Bobby McGill writes about a story I’m quite surprised hasn’t developed more interest in the month or so since it first broke, namely, some very, ahem, blunt lyrics (which I think are worse than the translation provided) reportedly sang by PSY during the anti-American protest season of 2002.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • Q

    The lyric would remind most Koreans of Kim Sun-Il who was beheaded “slowly and painfully” in 2002.

  • R. Elgin

    z z z Z z z z

  • http://www.expathell.com thankswww

    The second comment in the original article pretty much sums up the situation.

  • raintree_leaf

    It’s all fun and games and horsing around until someone’s feelings get hurt.

  • Wedge

    “Following the months of protests, the American military eventually amended SOFA, allowing Korean courts to try US servicemen. This year, a Korean judge sentenced Pvt. Joseph J. Finley to three years in prison for raping a South Korean woman after following her home.”

    Uh, no. Korean courts have always been allowed to try U.S. servicemen who commit crimes OFF DUTY (at least since the early 90s and probably long before). What changed was the ability to take servicemen under Korean custody prior to the trial. Nice disinformation by Busan Haps.

  • http://www.busanhaps.com Bobby McGill

    Thanks Wedge, will update that.

  • Wedge

    OK, good on ya for changing. I’d take back the “disinformation” comment if I had editorial powers.

  • gbnhj

    Bobby, that’s a nice piece.

    I really like the Ice-T context. To me, PSY said at that time seems passionate but lacking in understanding or analysis. Take, for example, the lyrics about slowly and painfully killing the entire families of any American soldiers connected with torture in Iraq. Unless he’s a terrorist or enjoys mass murder, that line must be something of an embarrassment to him now. Perhaps, like Ice-T, he will now say that it was simply an artistic expression of some persons’ feelings, rather than anything he himself personally believed or advocated.

    At least, that’s how I guess he’ll try to tell it, if this doesn’t go away.

  • hamel

    @Wedge:

    Nice disinformation by Busan Haps.

    Never assume something to be malicious intent when it could just as easily be explained by ignorance.

  • Ex-Ex-Pat

    Think Drudge would be interested in this link?

  • Ex-Ex-Pat

    I remember this as well. There is a difference between protests and nasty hateful demagoguery.

    By the way, has PSY (or any other Korean performer for that matter) ever had anything to say about the suffering of North Koreans? No.

    Take every atrocity committed against Korea by Japan. Every crime by U.S. Serviceman. They do not equal one afternoon in the Democratic Republic of North Korea. Koreans are abused by Koreans, not foreigners.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    it may be that psy is just a (massive) one hit wonder so this can’t hurt him too much in the end. my understanding he’s already banked about 15 mil from his song. i think psy will be just fine and people in their 20s now will remember him fondly when they get to middle age and beyond. this guy may just represent the future of world entertainment in which everybody is watching and listening to videos and songs that may come from somewhere else not so traditional. with that in mind, pawi must introduce to you a music video that made pawi go ‘WTF????’. seems a blond haired white dude actually put out a PROFESSIONAL kpop album IN NEAR ACCENTLESS KOREAN! the guys is good and i’m not sure why he didn’t seem to gain any traction because i have never heard of him. i’ll just bet they didn’t know how to promote this guy or the k dudes weren’t ready to see a good looking white guy sing about love in korean. have yourself a look; it may be the wave of the future.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keM2LTowxTg

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    There is a difference between protests and nasty hateful demagoguery.

    Sure — the former is for your side, and the latter is for theirs.

  • slim

    No Korean individual or institution covered themselves in glory during the great Han-apalooza paroxysm of 2002. I’m inclined to cut a rapper (or wannabe rapper) some slack.

  • Charles Tilly

    …blunt lyrics (which I think are worse than the translation provided) reportedly sang by PSY during the anti-American protest season of 2002.

    Ahhhhh yes….The Great Every Cracker in Korea Wetting Their Pants Event of 2002. Seems to never get old around here.

    In any case, New York Magazine breaks down the various profits accrued from “Gangnam Style.”

  • keyinjpop

    Here’s my impression of a fangirl when she hears about her favorite idol getting into a scandal, “Oppa didn’t mean it!!!”

  • slim

    It was Koreans who had the meltdown in 2002. “Crackers” supplied what little adult behavior was in evidence on the peninsula 10 years ago.

    This share prince rise info from New York magazine is fascinating:
    Hite Jinro, a Korean distiller, since Psy drank a bottle of its sojuat a concert on October 4: 20.5%

    DI, a South Korean semiconductor manufacturer for which Psy’s dad is chairman and his uncle is vice-chairman of the board, but that has no relation to Psy’s music: 154%

  • Charles Tilly

    It was Koreans who had the meltdown in 2002. “Crackers” supplied what little adult behavior was in evidence on the peninsula 10 years ago.

    I know. How dare they…….

  • Ex-Ex-Pat

    I guess Tilly has fond memories because for that brief summer you got to bond with the locals.

  • berto

    i hear miley cyrus is working on a song about the korean led massacres of phong nhi and phong nhat.

  • http://www.wm3.org/Updates iheartblueballs

    Way to go Bobby McGill. You just single-handedly brought down Psy and his international horsey dance train of conquering foreigners. The golden boy’s future prospects in America are currently turning into liquid shit.

    Story is everywhere in the media today. Washington Post, HuffPo, Mediaite, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter.

    And worse yet….the right wing media is all over this, and you can look forward to them beating this into the ground for all of eternity. Odds on Psy’s Christmas in Washington concert invitation disappearing faster than you can say MalkinCoulterLimbaughHannityOReillyCarr are currently even money.

    International fame brings the scrutiny along with it…if he wasn’t prepared for this he should have been. Will be interesting to see how he deals with it. Does he pander to his base of rabid Korean fans and their mindless nationalism, or to his new worldwide audience responsible for lining his pockets and allowing him to snap pics with Bieber and Kanye and dance with Ellen?

    Let’s just say the odds of him defiantly standing behind his past performances and lyrics are roughly the same as Sarah Palin ever being president. (Note to Brendon: I realize that means even money to you, but you may want to consult someone non-retarded for a second opinion)

  • Jieun K

    Some Americans will probably react to Psy’s “anti-American past” the way some Koreans reacted to the U.S. tank incident in 2002.

    However the U.S. media scrutiny and public backlash end, Psy will keep
    his chin up. I suspect his Korean pride will be bigger than his American
    dream of fame and fortune.

  • Wormwood

    Psy becomes relevant by really introducing Americans to South Korean culture: “Gangnam Nationalism: Why Psy’s anti-American rap shouldn’t surprise you,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/07/gangnam-nationalism-why-psys-anti-american-rap-shouldnt-surprise-you/

  • Wormwood

    Well, you were right about the “Korean pride” part at least:

    “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. … I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone 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.”

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/psy-apologizes-for-anti-american-performances-20121207#ixzz2EPfNWJvV

  • Sonagi

    You mean noisy demonstrators throwing rocks and trying to break into Korean government buildings, kidnapping a Korean official and beating him into making a coerced confession, and posting a sign reading “Koreans not welcome here”? Or were you imagining something along the lines of candlelit vigils?

  • Sonagi

    I wouldn’t be bothered at all if Psy had kept his anti-Anerican message political, but verbalizing a wish for th families of US soldiers to be killed slowly and painfully? What a sick f*ck. I guess he still harbors a wish to torture Americans since he’s marketing his song in the US.

  • Sonagi
  • Jieun K

    As for “some Americans’ reaction,” I’m talking about the kind what Psy is talking about: “a deeply emotional reaction.” Anyway, don’t overreact to my comment.

    I’m not condoning the disturbing lyrics he wrote in the past.

  • http://www.wm3.org/Updates iheartblueballs

    Let the groveling and apologizing to the Yankee pigs begin. That apology reads like it was straight out of Scooter Braun’s PR firm as they saw the appearances, endorsements, and profits melting away

    My favorite part was this: “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.”

    Yes, yes, it’s all OUR fault for our silly interpretations. I’m personally looking forward to hearing all the nuanced interpretations possible for “Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers. Kill them all slowly and painfully.”

    While 99% of the childish, insecure cries of Yankee Go Home and other infantile Korean rage generally fall on deaf ears outside the well, I’m actually enjoying this particular bit of publicity. If only because it demonstrates that when you have global ambitions and seek to culturally invade other lands (after spending several decades whining about being invaded), there are consequences to your self-indulgent tantrums…even if it takes a decade and a horsey dancer to force them up to the surface.

  • Pingback: PSY Apologizes / Way to go, Bobby! | The Marmot's Hole

  • Jieun K

    While you’re reading comments by our resident Americans, also check out the following comment posted on the original article at Busan Haps.

    Alice Zindagi Reilly writes:

    Oh, no, people forgetting the anti-social and violent behavior of their countrymen in order to attack that of a foreigner? SHOCKER! … not. I cannot blame PSY for reacting in such a vitriolic manner to the American military presence in the ROK. I come from a military family. my family was stationed in 평택시, and even *I* agree that the US military has way too much power in the ROK. PSY wasn’t spewing his abuse without just cause simply because we’re Americans; he was reacting to the negligent manslaughter of two LITTLE GIRLS in a way any of us would have also done if this happened in the US.

    This isn’t the first time that Americans have taken a tragic situation and turned it into an excuse to bash foreigners. Remember the Japanese tsunami? I bet you do. Remember the hundreds of people on Twitter calling it justice for Pearl Harbor? Try refreshing your memory if you don’t recall that:

    http://www.asianmanwhitewoman….

    Most good musicians come with a fair share of controversy, but to bash PSY for standing up for his country is ludicrous and immature.

  • ig5959292ee

    zhduku

  • bumfromkorea

    Jesus. I guess Psy’s success was very bothersome to some people here. The vitriol here is extra thick tonight, even by recent standard.

    but please. Do continue. It was my mistake to read the comment section in the first place.

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    “negligent manslaughter”? Why does Ms. Alice Zindagi Reilly call it that?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Sonagi

    But were any of those twitterers prominent Americans who escaped public criticism for such offensive remarks? I’m genuinely disppointed that you think Psy was standing up for his country by singing that song.

  • Sonagi

    I think tonight is the first time I have posted any criticism of Psy. You REALLY don’t get why some of us Americans are upset about Psy singing those lyrics? I might understand why a Pakistani widower who lost his family to a drone strike could feel such hatred, but Psy’s no war-scarred victim.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHnYntZzaiQ iheartblueballs

    And how many of those hundreds of ignorant people on Twitter making Pearl Harbor comments showed up on Ellen or Jay Leno selling albums?
    Anyone comparing public figures to random crackpots on social media doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  • wangkon936

    On one side I’m glad this came to light. People should be accountable for stupid things they said, even if it was awhile ago.

    People should also think twice before they say such inflammatory things. Well, at least without an internet pseudonym to protect them (which is often the case in the comments section)!

    However, I do agree with McGill at the end of the day:

    “Many Americans, familiar with the US protest culture and generously blessed with acute short-term memory, will likely give PSY a pass.”

    I just don’t have a ton of confidence that most Americans, and other people in the world will have that much strong feelings on the matter, unless they know Korea well like some people in this blog.

  • Hey-yoooo

    Note that PSY was singing a song not written by him. He was citing a song by a Korean METAL group. Metal music, lyrically, tends to be rather brutal. “Sick fuck” is non-sequitir.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    I don’t think non sequitur means what you think it does. If PSY verbalizes his wish that the families of US soldiers be killed slowly and painfully, then PSY is a sick f*ck. That’s pretty sequitur.

    Your “don’t blame him; he’s just the piano player” argument, however, is non sequitir. No one told him to play that piano or that sheet music.

  • hey-yooo

    Sonagi’s raw sentiment (“sick fuck”) proceeds from the presumption that PSY wrote those lyrics himself, that those lyrics are somehow the deeply personal manifestations of the man himself. Situation changes quite a bit when you bring in the fact that PSY was covering not just someone else’s song but a metal song. So, no, it doesn’t follow. You just need to think more about it – there, in the corner.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    mmmmmm….K. I see that I’m going to wrap this one up with you quickly.** Sonagi wrote “verbalizing” not “during deep cathartic LSD induced psychoanalysis.” The fact of the matter remains: PSY sang them, he sang them voluntarily, he sang them knowingly, and he sang them as an adult.

    This is the Korean soccer player waving a “Dokdo Is Our Land” but he didn’t write the banner and didn’t know what it was defense. ….Except PSY, regardless of whether he wrote the lyrics, knew what they were and sang them publicly.

    **(Yeah, I’ll be waiting here in the corner for ya, newcomer. go cut your BS and trolling teeth elsewhere before you try to bite the big boys.)

  • que337

    Let’s sing along!

    Don’t Bite The Hand That’s Feeding You

    Performed by Gene Autry
    Recorded July 30, 1941
    Words by Thomas Hoier, Music by Jimmie Morgan

    [chorus]
    “If you don’t like your Uncle Sammy,
    Then go back to your home o’er the sea,
    To the land from where you came,
    Whatever be its name;
    but don’t be ungrateful to me!
    If you don’t like the stars in Old Glory,
    If you don’t like the Red, White and Blue,
    Then don’t act like the cur in the story,
    Don’t bite the hand that’s feeding you.”

    Last night, as I lay a sleeping,
    A wonderful dream came to me,
    I saw Uncle Sammy weeping
    For his children from over the sea;
    They had come to him, friendless and starving,
    He took them into the fold
    So, when in trouble, he needs you,
    You have to remember your oath:

    [repeat chorus]

    [lyrics transcribed from the 1915 sheet music and rearranged for this recording]

    Recording: http://www.authentichistory.com/1939-1945/3-music/01-Nationalism/19410730_Dont_Bite_The_Hand_Thats_Feeding_You-Gene_Autry.html

  • hey-yooo

    Hey, Joe. Doesn’t take deep reading skills to get the context here, even for a “bIg boy” such as yourself. The possesive “his message” not to mention “still harbors a wish” in the comment I replied to makes it clear that “Sonagi” presumes the lyrics verbalized (or whatever you want to call it) by PSY are PSY’s.

    Does this matter? Yes: If you think PSY is a sick fuck for coming up with such lyrics. Now one might gather that PSY is wrong for supporting such lyrics or singing them on stage anywhere. But that’s not something I’ve argued for or against.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Duder, PSY sang the song. On stage. With a microphone. In front of a large audience. In Public.

    There is nothing in Sonagi’s statement that hints at let alone relies upon the presumption that PSY wrote the lyrics himself. Regardless, PSY “verbalized” the lyrics. He put his public face on them.

    Team PSY should be happy that you are not in charge of damage control. PSY apologized. Whether Americans forgive PSY remains to be seen. I think this all might blow over with skillful handling.

    Americans** are more open and willing to debate than Koreans**. Imagine if a no-name, nobody American soldier rapper substituted Korean for American in that rap song,and it got iPhone recorded and uploaded to YouTube. If you look at CNN’s page on PSY about this, comments go both ways and most want to forgive because PSY apologized.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    **Easy TK et.al., yes generally speaking because we all know there are some or at least a few, which is to say at least one American who is less open and willing to debate than a good proportion, which is to say more than half, I mean most, and perhaps even nearly all Koreans.

  • Sonagi

    No, it does not. When he sang lyrics others had written in a language he understands, he verbalized a wish.