Bobby McGill’s piece at Busan Haps is seriously blowing up.
Washington Post, Gawker, Drudge… it’s all over.
It’s even got political, with calls for the cancellation of a planned performance by PSY for US President Obama.
PSY will be performing for the president anyway, but he did make an apology:
“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 — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time,” the statement read. “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 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,” the statement concluded. “While it’s important 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 though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”
– I’m guessing PSY had the apology on standby, since this story has been out there since October. It’s amazing it took so long to catch fire.
– If anything, the translation of the lyrics went easy on PSY. As MTV pointed out, “a Korean employee for MTV News, for instance, pointed out that Psy actually rapped ‘bitches’ instead of ‘Yankees.'” Which is about right, although perhaps a better translation would be “Western bitches.” The term that really got me, though, is kojaengi, or “big noser,” a term of racial abuse directed at white people. Back in October, when word of this first surfaced, Myongji University professor Kang Gyu-hyeong (writing into a conservative news outlet, admittedly) was horrified, calling the line “딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여” not only anti-American, but anti-human.
– Time heals, and five years of late President Roh Moo-hyun providing you great blogging material day in and day out heals a lot, so I’m a lot less angry about 2002 than I used to be. Anyway, a lot of stupid shit got said in 2002, much of it by people who should have known a lot better than PSY. Sure, given what was said and his current prominence, an explanation was in order. And he gave one. In fact, the apology he gave went way beyond anything I was expecting, even mentioning the “sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.” Not to sound like a raving lefty loon, but given that the US did back a series of (admittedly, quite competent) military dictators in South Korea between 1961 and 1987, he didn’t have to put it that way.
– As for President Obama attending the PSY performance, I can understand why some might ask questions. Frankly, though, given how the president sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years, I don’t really think a couple of stupid things PSY sang in the heat of the moment in 2002 should be a deal breaker. Anyway, compared to Wright and Bill Ayers, PSY is virtually Captain America.
– See also Iheartblueballs and Sonagi’s comments in the discussion here.