Sunday, December 9, 2012

Psy's Rights, My Rights

If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you might want to skip this one.

This is going to be one of those recurring entry themes -- since the subject is the recent revelations about inflammatory remarks made several years ago by the Korean rapper Psy, you might already know what I'm about to say.

If not, here goes:  Psy absolutely has the right to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  He spoke out against the US military presence in Korea at a time when tensions were very high (following the accidental deaths of two Korean schoolgirls from a US military vehicle).  At the time, anti-US feelings were strong around the world due to the invasion of Iraq...and feelings in Korea were particularly intense given the kidnapping of a Korean citizen in Iraq.

His words were rather strong.  He advocated the death of US soldiers and their families (specifically, wives, daughters, and mothers).  Whether he "just" meant the US soldiers responsible for the Abu Ghraib abuses, or US soldiers in general, does not seem entirely clear.  Regardless, I know what I need to know about whether I will ever consciously support Psy (by watching his videos, paying to see him perform, wearing anything associated w/him, etc.)


I will respect Psy's right to speak his feelings through songs.  That is probably one of the oldest forms of human expression, and it should never go away.  There are very few places in the world where that right does not exist [and yes, I will point out that one of them happens to be a place where many US soldiers perished in the early 1950s while fighting Communism].

I hope his supporters can understand that my decision to never listen to Psy's music, to never support him financially, and to never see him in the same light again is just another side of that same coin.

Freedoms of speech, thought, and expression should mean what they sound like.  None of those freedoms are jeopardized when people disagree with the words or thoughts of others...but they ARE when people want to arbitrarily decide where the line gets drawn, and where disagreement stops being okay.  


Renee said...

What if?

What if Psy has some staying power and gets some great radio rotation, and your daughter likes to listen to him?

Do you let it slide would she understand at a young age of 6 or 7 or maybe another entertainer when she is 11 or 12, if you tried to explain it her?

I'm at a constant conflict of what I allow my children to listen to. I do not want to be 'the parent of no' and I don't want to be 'the parent who doesn't say a word and looks the other way, at whatever the music industry markets to our children' in fear of being a prude.

C R Krieger said...

I would hope that at some point he would see the light and then all would be forgiven, but for now, I say give him a pass.  Children?  Well, Grandchildren.  It is a moment for dialogue.

Regards  —  Cliff

The New Englander said...

Thanks for those comments, Renee and Cliff. Obviously, no easy answers here. Renee, thinking about your points, I cringe when I think about some of those difficult conversations to come down the road.

As for Psy, and the particular comments he made, it's too hard for me not to personalize it.

And Cliff, I certainly give him a "pass" in the sense that I respect his right to say those things. I just can't support him though.