Bozell Column: Merry Christmas, America-Haters?
When TNT was preparing its annual special “Christmas in Washington” with the President of the United States, you’d think the last star musician they would consider to join the official caroling would be Psy, the South Korean rapper. What on Earth is Christmasy about this man’s invisible-horse-riding dance to his dorky disco-rap hit “Gangnam Style”? It’s not exactly the natural flip-side to “O Holy Night.” But TNT couldn’t resist this year’s YouTube sensation.
This inane publicity stunt backfired when the website Mediaite reported on December 7 that Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) had participated in a 2002 protest in which he crushed a model of an American tank with a microphone stand. But that’s nothing compared to the footage of a 2004 performance after a Korean missionary was slaughtered by Islamists in Iraq. These lyrics cannot be misunderstood.
“Kill those f---ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives...Kill those f---ing Yankees who ordered them to torture...Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers....Kill them all slowly and painfully.”
This isn’t just anti-American. It’s anti-human.
Guess where this story first surfaced in the American media? CNN, from the same corporate family tree as TNT. It was posted back on October 6 on CNN’s iReport, an open-source online news feature that allows users to submit stories for CNN consideration.
The Korean one-hit wonder put out the usual abject careerist apology, but he weirdly said “I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted.” Those darn lyrics and those darn people who misinterpret lyrics about killing Yankees’ mothers. It is like Barack Obama expressing regret for the awful things said about Susan Rice, ignoring the awful things said by Susan Rice.
Psy is now a millionaire. As Jim Treacher wrote at the Daily Caller: “So far he’s made over $8 million from the song, about $3 million of it from the people he once wanted to kill.” Brad Schaeffer at Big Hollywood noted his own father fought for South Korea’s independence in the Korean War: “Had it not been for ‘f-----g Yankees’ like my Dad, this now-wealthy South Korean wouldn’t be ‘Oppan Gangnam Style’ so much as ‘Starving Pyongyang Style.’” (Gangnam is a posh district in the South Korean capital of Seoul.)
Despite the controversy, neither the Obama White House nor the TNT brass felt it was necessary to send Psy packing before the December 9 taping. On Saturday, ABC reporter Muhammad Lila merely repeated, “the White House says the concert will go on and that President Obama will attend, saying that they have no control over who performs at that concert.”
What moral cowardice. On Monday morning, another pliant publicist, NBC correspondent Peter Alexander, calmly relayed that the White House did take control on the Psy front – on its own “We The People” website, where the people may post petitions to the president for their fellow citizens to sign. A petition asking Obama to dump Psy from the Christmas concert was itself dumped. Alexander explained: “But that petition was removed because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions. And, of course, the President had no say over who the private charity chose to invite.”
This is double baloney. The White House hasn’t removed silly “federal action” petitions like the one asking to “Nationalize the Twinkie Industry,” or one to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” They removed one that they didn’t want people to sign.
As for Obama having “no say over” who appeared on the TNT show, the president could easily declare he wasn’t going to share a stage with this America-hater. Or he could have obviously placed one phone call to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes (an Obama donor), and expressed the dismay of the President of the United States.
Instead, the Obamas came and honored Psy. Yes, the president honored a man who despised America enough to want its citizens slaughtered.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable magazine observed, “At the end of the taping, when the First Family customarily shakes hands and talks briefly with the performers, the First Lady gave Psy a hug, followed by a handshake from the President, who engaged Psy in a short, animated discussion–at one point Psy appeared to rock back with laughter – and patted the singer on the shoulder.”
I never thought I’d ever view a Christmas special featuring a hideous hater of America celebrated by the President of the United States.