Does Anybody Really Care About Psy's Anti-American Rap?
When we all first saw "Gangnam Style" on YouTube and fell in love with South Korean sensation Psy, none of us could have imagined that a few months later we'd find out that he rapped in 2004 about killing Americans.
The exact lyric of the rap that has Psy in trouble now is "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."
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And while that's a crazy specific threat against "fucking Yankees," does anybody really care? Really?
We as Americans have demonstrated an immense ability to forgive our celebrities for things they've said and frankly, this is probably no different. After all, it didn't stop Psy from performing for President Obama's Christmas celebration days later.
Psy, to his credit, has already apologized for "any pain [he has] caused anyone by those words." Of course, that probably won't be enough for some of the crazily patriotic people like Bill O'Reilly, who are probably having strokes that this guy was allowed anywhere near the President (although perhaps not, considering their feelings on this particular President).
Let's be honest here, though, Psy probably didn't even need to bother apologizing. Aside from the trumpet-sounding, flag-waving patriots like Sean Hannity or Toby Keith, nobody is really all that concerned about this sort of thing anymore. The simple fact is that my generation, the 20- and 30-year-olds of 2012, don't exactly disagree with Psy about their country.
According to Gallup polling, the percentage of people who believe America is the greatest country in the world decreases sharply with age. Only 48 percent of Gen X-ers would say "U.S.A.!," and that number goes down to 32 percent for the "millennial" generation.
People still claim they are very patriotic, but even that is decreasing as the years go by. Not only are "millennials" less likely to identify as "very patriotic" than previous generations, but that drops a few points as each year goes by.
Furthermore, Americans as a whole are still attracted to a gimme word like "patriotic," but when asked if they were satisfied with their country, 77 percent reported they were not. I imagine, given the results of the other polls, that number would be much higher if we were only polling the younger generations.
Joseph McCarthy would have had a field day with Psy.
More importantly, I don't think we take this sort of thing seriously anymore. Seventy years ago, people might have taken Psy seriously. He could have been jailed, even executed, for trumped-up charges brought up by the House Un-American Activities Committee. It happened to plenty of others at the time, who expressed sentiments less harsh than his.
But now we know that Psy is not really going to kill anyone and his sentiment, which boils down to "fuck America for all its done," is one shared by most young people in America, i.e. Psy's audience.
Photo by Marco Torres
It's really no different than Ice-T, who rapped about killing cops. Sure, he attracted controversy, but nobody took it really seriously in the end, and now he plays a cop on TV. Or how about when Common played the White House? O'Reilly had a fit about that one, but we all know Common's lyrics aren't reality and if Obama likes Common's music, then let him play at the White House. Who cares?
And who really cares about Psy's comments? We're just going to forget about them shortly. If Psy's career takes a turn for the worse, it will only be because people got sick of his schtick, not because he said some bad things about America in 2004. Hell, we all said some bad things about America in 2004.
No, Psy's comments don't really mean anything to anyone. It's just another manufactured media controversy so right-wing commentators can squawk about a new threat to America's dignity and safety for a week.
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