Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More "My Motherland" reaction

While it's reported Chinese bloggers continue their jabs over American humiliation, America's mainstream media has come to the defense of pianist Lang Lang for his performance of a Cold War era Communist anthem at the White House.

The song "My Motherland" was written as the theme for a film depicting a battle in the Korean War where Chinese troops defeated Americans. We blogged about the context previously.

But now the Washington Post apparently defends the selection, saying other "patriotic" songs can be "offensive" as well. The Post includes the Star Spangled  Banner in its short list of three.

And, over at NPR,  in an interview, Lang Lang says he didn't understand the Cold War context of the song:

"You know, I never know about that movie. I just learned it afterward. It's like, 1956. This is when my mother was two years old. I mean, this was 55 years ago. And when I grew up, I only hear this as a beautiful melody."

Really?  How many serious artists fail to understand the history of works they present?

Would we excuse a performance of "Tara's Theme" in a racially-charged setting if the artist claimed he didn't know the context of "Gone with the Wind" and that it included slavery?

Over at Human Events, John Hayward takes it a step further, saying "My Motherland" at the White House would be like "providing music from Rambo II on a state visit to Vietnam."

And, as for the Post's assertion there are other "offensive" songs out there. For sure, patriotic tunes have often had their birth in the heat of battle. But the Post's examples fail to factor the toning nature of time. And the Post fails to note there are living vets of the Korean era, and living relatives of those killed on Shangganling Mountain.

Isn't it odd the voices of U.S. political correctness haven't spoken up on their behalf of those vets and families?

Meanwhile, Lang Lang continues to defend himself with posts and re-posts on Facebook.

And the White House tells ABC News there was no insult.

But, at the very least, the White House showed extremely poor judgment in failing to fully vet entertainment at last week's function. Perhaps for the next state dinner, the White House should pick its entertainment as carefully as it chooses its wines. Despite preview reports promising a "quintessentially American" theme for the evening, the White House failed to deliver. An anthem composed in celebration of Communist aggression on the Korean peninsula really missed the mark.

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