I can't quite bring myself to care all that much about this story, but it's instructive nonetheless. Just to get you caught up: "Psy" is a South Korean musical artist whose quirky hit, "Gangnam Style" went mega-viral over the summer. Catchy beat, instantly recognizable horse dance, pudgy foreign star, etc. When Psy was invited to gallop around on stage at this weekend's "Christmas in Washington" concert, some critics dug up lyrics from one of his previous diddies. Far from singing about "sexy ladies," Psy used his "art" to call for the murder of US troops, whose presence at a base on his native penninsula angered him:
Kill those f*****g Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f*****g Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
Let me amend my description of those lyrics: Psy called for the murder of US troops and their families. How edgy. Here's an image of the rapper smashing a model American tank on stage during a 2002 anti-war protest, via the UK Daily Mail:
This sort of behavior was totally cool back then -- because Bush, and all that -- but Americans generally don't take too kindly to people who advocate the "slow and painful" death of the men and women who defend us. After these lyrics came to light, concert organizers were pressured to disinvite Psy from the festivities. The Korean rapper issued a half-assed, quasi-contrite apology, expressing regret over how some people might have "interpreted" his hateful stylings. His invitation remained intact, and the White House confirmed that the First Family would attend the event as planned. They did, and a bedazzled Psy even garnered a presidential handshake:
I guess Obama could have pointedly snubbed him, but that's not how The One rolls. Remember when he sat through a vicious anti-American diatribe from a Central American tin-pot dicatator in 2009? His reaction at the time:
Ortega denounced the U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro's new Communist government in Cuba in 1961, a history of US racism and what he called suffocating U.S. economic policies in the region...I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old. Too often, an opportunity to build a fresh partnership of the Americas has been undermined by stale debates. We've all heard these arguments before.
Ooh, burn. I'm sure Daniel Ortega will think twice before he mindlessly denounces the United States again. In any case, I'm sure Obama was just trying to be gracious and not fuel the controversy at an event celebrating Christmas. But the Red Eye crew asks an interesting question: Would all have been so easily forgiven if Psy had penned vile and violent lyrics against gay marriage (or, I'd add, Islam)?
It's a rhetorical question -- and I think we all know the answer.