When Prejudices Collide

December 13, 2012


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 “€œGangnam Style“€ video, which at the time of this writing has 932,421,123 YouTube views”€”an all-time record.

I liked “€œGangnam 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 “€œKorea 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 “€œdouble 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 “€œChristmas in Washington,”€ an annual charity bash always attended by the POTUS and his family.

“€œIf 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 “€œGangnam Style”€”€”learned that in 2004 our hero had performed a song with outrageously anti-American lyrics to Korean audiences. “€œKill 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 “€œGangnam Style.”€ And really, “€œKill 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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