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When Prejudices Collide

December 13, 2012

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When Prejudices Collide

Did you ever have two different news stories collide in your head, leaving both with dangling fenders, shattered headlights, and leaking radiator fluid? I did, just this week.

Exhibit A is the Korean pop singer who calls himself Psy. This is the chap who made that “Gangnam Style” video, which at the time of this writing has 932,421,123 YouTube views—an all-time record.

I liked “Gangnam Style.” It was fun and bouncy and full of pretty girls. My pleasure in looking at the girls was only slightly diminished when I read in the October 8 issue of The New Yorker that their good looks are in many if not most cases the result of heroic plastic surgery, for which “Korea is by far the world leader in procedures per capita….” Those pixie faces are quite atypical for the ethny. Ri Sol-Ju, First Lady of North Korea, displays a more traditionally Korean style of pretty, her face round and well-fleshed. The path from round to pixie is arduous indeed, if The New Yorker can be believed:

Women…have their cheekbones shaved down and undergo “double jaw surgery,” in which the upper and lower jawbones are cracked apart and repositioned, to give the whole skull a more tapered look.


Back to Psy. Having attained worldwide fame, he was naturally booked to perform at a lot of venues, including last weekend’s “Christmas in Washington,” an annual charity bash always attended by the POTUS and his family.

“If I can approve of Génération Identitaire wanting their country back, why am I mad at Psy for wanting his country back?”

Three days before the show, we—the 900 million or so non-Koreans who had been happily jigging along to “Gangnam Style”—learned that in 2004 our hero had performed a song with outrageously anti-American lyrics to Korean audiences. “Kill the f***ing Yankees!” Psy had crooned. Then, for good measure:

Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers!
Kill them all slowly and painfully!

Two years before that he had performed in a different anti-American protest show, smashing a model US tank onstage.

This kind of thing is catnip to opinion journalists. Should Psy’s invitation to the charity bash be pulled? (It wasn’t.) Should these revelations about anti-Americanism sour us on him? (They soured me.) Benny Avni in the New York Post took a mild approach, putting Psy’s transgressions at ages 22 and 24 down to youthful folly:

It’s a well-worn trajectory. To paraphrase an old cliché: If you don’t question America in your 20s, you’re heartless; if you still hate it in your 30s, you’re brainless.

Mmm, yes and no. Sure, a lot of us do dumb, reprehensible things in our youth. And sure, Psy expressed abject contrition. But he only did so after the news of those anti-American follies came out, three months into the worldwide fame of “Gangnam Style.” And really, “Kill the f***ing Yankees!”? Would that be the Yankees who took nearly 37,000 combat deaths to spare South Korea from the horrors of communism?

Exhibit B is Génération Identitaire, an organization of young nationalists in France. These are the people who occupied a mosque in Poitiers back in October. Poitiers is close to the battlefield where Charles Martel stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe in 732 AD.


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