Since my knowledge of White House operations is culled specifically from Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing, I imagine this is what’s happening in the White House right now: The real-life Josh Lyman just burst through the door of the real-life C.J. Cregg to reveal the news just posted by New York Magazine. “C.J. Cregg” then bursts through the door of the real-life Leo McGarry, who then interrupts President Obama’s meeting with the joint chiefs to say, “We have a problem.”
If you haven’t yet clicked that link to NY Mag, here’s the deal: 2012 Internet sensation Psy — the South Korean musician behind the year’s fourth best video, “Gangham Style” — is supposed to perform this Sunday at the National Building Museum’s Christmas in Washington concert. President Obama is scheduled to be in attendance. The problem? Busan Harps magazine just googled up some old song lyrics by Psy, and found this contained within his 2004 collaboration with N.E.X.T. entitled, “Dear American”:
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
A bit of context: The song was released after an Iraqi terrorist group captured and beheaded a South Korean translator in revenge for the country’s support of the U.S. war in Iraq. Either way, I don’t think Psy and Obama will do the dance horse together come Sunday.
Update: Psy has issued a statement in response to today’s news.
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. The song in question – 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.