By Michael Baker
Apology, Gangnam style. K-Pop rapper Psy has issued a quite contrite apology for his ultra-anti US 2004 rap in which he wished death upon not only American troops, but also upon their parents, daughters, and – as if most of them had them – daughters-in-law. As one political commentator put it (and I’m paraphrasing), if you were trying to think up offensive anti-American lyrics, it would be hard to do better than this.
A recent Washington Post piece posits that this particular rap “shouldn’t surprise you,” but I think it’s safe to say that for most Americans the politically charged past of any internet sensation comes as at least a bit of a surprise. This controversy reaches the level of political scandal because Psy is scheduled to perform at the White House’s Christmas in Washington concert in less than two weeks, and that concert is to be attended by the Commander-in-Chief himself, Big O. Oppa Gangnam scandal.
So Psy said some grossly offensive stuff about US troops about a decade ago, and Psy psaid psorry. End of pstory from his end as far as I’m concerned. It’s hard to imagine that he still harbors any strong anti-American sentiment after our nation has given his nonsensically catchy tune, “Gangnam Style,” such international acclaim.
The real story now concerns what’s to be done about his upcoming performance for the Prez. The White House is taking the most middle-of-the-road approach imaginable – they’ve issued a statement to say that Obama will attend the concert, but has no control over the event’s lineup. In other words, the most powerful man in the free world, the dude who put a cap in Bin Laden’s ass, expects us to believe that he doesn’t have the swing to keep a YouTube phenom off the bill of some hokey pop music spectacle at which he is the guest of honor. Oppa Gangnam bile.
I don’t buy it for a second. The White House is essentially punting on this one. Obama obviously doesn’t want to show anything close to support for Psy and his lyrics, but at the same time doesn’t want to be perceived as any kind of censor. Plus, who wants to go up against the dude with the most YouTube hits of all time?
Still, while I understand the Administration’s position, I really don’t think anyone could blame Obama for pulling rank to have Psy removed from the lineup of this otherwise unremarkable concert. Can’t they just replace him with Tay Zonday or something?