Friday, December 7, 2012

PSY's anti-American rap comes back to haunt

Weekend Christmas concert for president is still on
By Mark C. Brown

My, this is awkward.

PSY, this year’s instant celebrity with “Gangnam Style,” has been all over the internet, television and iPods.

What no one has been listening to up till now is “Dear American,” a 2004 protest song in which PSY joins others in protesting American policies in Korea and Iraq. According to sources including the Washington Post and New York Magazine, the rap translates to:

Kill those (expletive) Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives

Kill those (expletive) Yankees who ordered them to torture

Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers

Kill them all slowly and painfully
Now my skills in Korean rap are non-existent, but running the original Korean text through several online translators do consistently bring up Yankees (spelled Yang Ke) and the “killing slowly and painfully” part comes through pretty clear.
This news comes at a very inconvenient time, given PSY is due to perform for President Obama and others at a Christmas concert in Washington D.C. on Sunday. According to the Post a petition has already been started to remove him from the bill. Some websites have tried to explain the changing nature of Korean attitudes toward the United States, but given the political atmosphere of the past few months subtleties and varying translations aren't going to win the day.

If anyone out there is fluent in Korean, here’s the song. Let us know what you hear.
UPDATE: PSY owns up to his words and issues an apology. He is quoted in Rolling Stone saying:

"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," said Psy in a statement. "The song – 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. 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. 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."

Via the Associated Press, the president indicated he will attend Sunday's concert, which is customary for the office.

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