PSY Hated America, But Now He's Sold Out: Why We're Still Rooting For Him Anyway

Categories: Fiesta!

But that's a totally natural reaction, even if you aren't as generally suspicious of rigid idealogues as I am. In 2004 PSY was a bad-boy Korean rapper accused of draft-dodging; in 2012, almost by accident, he is one of the most broadly famous musicians on earth. In response to impossibly different stimuli, responsibilities, and desires, and in a completely different historical moment, PSY has changed his mind. It would be weird if he didn't.

It's important to disentangle defending PSY as someone who's not necessarily a Stalinist or an opportunistic asshole from lauding him for being neither of those things. Nothing he's done--the protest song or this week's apology--was particularly dangerous in context, and his mission--trying to stay on his imaginary horse--is not particularly vital to the survival of South Korea, the United States, humanity, or real horses. It's reasonable to take offense at the initial protest or to doubt his motivations for the subsequent apology, and it's even more reasonable to not care about him at all.

But I like hypocrites; they're worth pulling for, because they're still trying to be something they aren't yet. The PSY that the internet created on accident when "Gangnam Style" escaped Gangnam is trying to entertain everybody and offend nobody. It's impossible--it would be even if he weren't the same PSY who tried to make Seoul's parents nervous ten years ago--and it's not very important, but I don't doubt that it's a real goal.

So get pissed off about that Yankee verse, and roll your eyes at his total, Leno-leavened capitulation, but don't think that what PSY was doing in 2004 was any more sincere than what he'll do when he's performing in front of the American commander in chief a few weeks from now. PSY hasn't turned his back on anything; he's selling out because he means it.

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