By delivering a servile apology for singing lyrics that violently denounced the American military in 2004 at the height of its invasion of Iraq, South Korean rapper Psy has shown that, like many who enjoy fame and fortune, he has no backbone when it comes to criticizing American imperialism.
In advance of a charity concert Dec. 21 in Washington when he will perform in front of Barack Obama, 34-year-old Park Jae-sang, whose “Gangnam Style” video started a craze that rivaled the early-’90s furor of the Macarena, expressed his regrets over having used the violent language.
“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,” Jae-sang said in a statement.
The deferential language is identical to that heard any time celebrities seek to recover favor after they have offended a powerful person or group. It amounts to a political statement designed to appear sincere, but which cannot be regarded as credible given the apologist’s past behavior, when he or she was safely outside of the spotlight.
Such expressions are always followed with a bland insistence that the accused has learned his or her lesson. “While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self,” Psy continued, “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.”
Although it is difficult to stomach calls for the killing and torture of the families of U.S. servicemen, as Psy did at a 2004 concert, what he termed his “emotional” reaction must be understood in the context of the ongoing trampling of life and liberty for which the United States is directly responsible, including the deaths of two South Korean schoolgirls who were run over by a U.S. military vehicle near the time of his protest.
With more than 900 million views on YouTube, “Gangnam Style” is now the site’s most watched video. It could earn Psy as much as $8 million this year. Depressingly, when he had a chance to shine a light on injustices, Psy chose to protect his newly minted success instead.
In Dear American, a song written by the South Korean rock band N.EX.T, he sang about “slowly and painfully” killing US soldiers and their families.
The lyrics reportedly included the lines: “Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives; Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture; Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers; Kill them all slowly and painfully.”
... US media reported that an online petition to ban the rapper from the Christmas in Washington concert on 21 December had quickly fizzled out.