It’s Killing Me

11 Dec

Our Lord and Savior, and the Korean Anti-ChristIt occurs to me, according to what my people say, I’m white and a hypocrite. And, I’m not a team player.

“I got a new movie coming out, Django, check it out…Django Unchained, I play a slave. How black is that? In the movie, I have to wear chains. How whack is that? But don’t be worried about it, because I get out of the chains, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that?”

Especially in recent weeks, it has become apparent that Jamie Foxx gets away with saying whatever he wants on television, whenever he wants. Just recently he decided to make a blasphemous statement replacing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the name of Barack Obama. He deeply offended Christians, and now to top it all off, he has deemed white people as inferior. While he expects to be respected by people of all colors, he fails to give them the same respect in return, and presents a double standard. He apparently doesn’t live by the idea that all men are created equal, as every time he speaks on television he makes a point of focusing on color.

I have no problem with Foxx’s SNL cold opener. I would prefer not to antagonize any person or organization with offensive language, but Foxx doesn’t advocate violence against big noses white people.

The critics seem to have a more serious bone to pick this time around. There seems to be a substantive difference between believing that Mumia is wrongly imprisoned (a belief that a small but vocal contingent of Americans hold, and one that is obviously protected as free speech for citizens), smoking a little reefer (which is even, according to state law, legal in some places, and which Psy has also enjoyed), or even singing about murdering someone with a silver hammer on one hand; and calling for the murder of American soldiers overseas on the other.

Now, PSY, there’s a scumbag.

The suggestion that America either is or should be uncritically beloved abroad as a beacon of freedom is a common refrain among politicians, and it has a real and negative impact on the way many Americans approach our foreign policy choices. That was never more true than during the Iraq war, when polls showed many voters believed the world supported American actions, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

There are mega amounts of pixels have been wasted on “understanding” Korea and American imperialism, and I’m sure there are comments addressing the world Django Unchained depicts. It misses the point – both Jamie Foxx and PSY live off of our boredom and stupidity. Sometimes, they let us slaughter each other in tribal debates that rarely rise to the level of a cogent argument. Giles Hewitt’s ironic argument, that PSY does Korea a service for challenging it reveals how shallow even some hacks are believing PSY and Samsung are exemplars of insular Korean corporate culture and “pax” americana. To Glenn Greenwald’s list, we can add slavery and the dispossession through debt and slaughter of Native Americans.

Obviously, artistic license or not, what is advocated by the lyrics sung by PSY (attacking and torturing the family members of US soldiers) cannot be justified, just as the targeting of innocent civilians on 9/11 cannot be. Still, singing about killing innocent people is not in the same universe as doing it, yet many Americans infuriated about the former express little if any condemnation of the latter when done by their own government. More to the point, to react to expressions of extreme anti-American sentiments – including the desire to harm US soldiers – as though they’re the slightest bit surprising or irrational is itself warped and irrational.

Extreme animosity toward the US continues to be the rule, not the exception, in the Arab and Muslim world, and, especially at the time these lyrics were sung by PSY, was pervasive in South Korea as well. There are actual reasons for this, many of which are quite rational.

We like to tell ourselves that anti-American animosity is produced by propaganda from foreign factions hostile to the US. Actually, that belief is the one that is the by-product of propaganda. The acts of the US government that generate this hostility are rarely discussed in US political discourse, though they are widely discussed in most of the rest of the world. Americans would benefit from spending much less time and energy expressing outrage and offense at anti-American sentiment, and far more time and energy trying to understand why it’s so widespread and intense.

Not only are Americans blind, deaf, and dumb to the violence committed in their name and sanctioned by their votes, but Americans let people spend money for it. It’s like a bizarre form of a Calvinist swindle: it’s all holy if the buyer is a sinner. Americans can’t tell the difference between an immoral and an artistic statement. What my people need now is some bullying. Or, skepticism.

Oh, did I offend anyone important?

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