We can all agree that Mean Girls is a great movie, right? Bitchy, pitch-perfect and perceptive, it cuts right to the blackened heart of the high-school experience. More importantly, it reveals a universal truth that even the most attractive and self-assured kids tend to mask their insecurities with a superficial, outgoing sense of confidence. And there, in a nutshell, is a neat little metaphor for America itself.
Land of the free, home of the brave, and the parking lot of capitalism, the good ol’ US of A has a lot going for it. But the moment anyone speaks ill of its amber waves of grain, spacious skies, or bloodthirsty military procedures, the façade of self-assurance can drop in an instant. Americans are taught from an early age to unquestioningly accept their country’s supremacy, celebrating it every day with the Pledge of Allegiance. So it’s no wonder they get distressed when they hear that someone has spoken disparagingly about them.
This week, the ‘greatest country on Earth’ erupted in a flurry of confused introspection, as it emerged that its favourite new YouTube star hasn’t always been their biggest fan. They were shocked to discover that this self-described little chubby newcomer, had said such "inflammatory and inappropriate" things about their beloved land.
Admittedly, it must have come as quite a shock to hear a man most famous for riding an invisible hobby-horse, screaming the lyric “Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture. Kill [the Yankees'] daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers. Kill them all slowly and painfully.” Call me a cynic, but I can’t see this one inspiring too many copycat videos, unless Al-Qaida are really running out of ideas.
Sensing that his fame could be over before he’d even had a chance to print new business cards, PSY issued a grovelling apology. To his credit, he didn’t offer up the standard celebrity mea culpa, which is to pass responsibility onto the person taking offence. Instead, he explained the state of affairs that led him to feel such anger towards the US. Specifically, he had been protesting the deaths of two teenage South Korean girls who’d been run over and killed by a U.S. tank, and the fact that the soldiers responsible had gone unpunished.
This leaves America with something of a conundrum. If they accept the apology, then they have to acknowledge that their ‘war on terror’ wasn’t quite the rip-roaring success that their news media would have them believe. More worryingly, they’d have to admit that they’re learning about their own foreign policy from the Korean equivalent of LMFAO.