Feature

South Korea: No excuses for bad language

Korea’s most famous rap star is stretching the boundaries of what is acceptable on the radio.

Heo Seung-ho Dong-a Ilbo

Korea’s most famous rap star is stretching the boundaries of what is acceptable on the radio, said Heo Seung-ho. The rapper Psy is known for his “rough and frank” lyrics; many of his songs have been banned from the airwaves before 10 p.m., and can’t be sold or even heard on the Internet by anyone under the age of 19 without parental permission. But now that Psy has risen to “global stardom” with his international megahit “Gangnam Style,” the Family Ministry is reconsidering its strictness. It has retracted its decision to ban the Psy song “Right Now” and several others that were blacklisted only because they included references to alcohol or cigarettes or contained slang. It’s true that “Right Now” is pretty mild, and ruling it “adults-only” just makes the youths scoff. But that doesn’t mean we should toss out our standards entirely. Too many Korean youths use foul language—even “young and pretty middle- and high-school girls.” No one can deny the need “to purify language” among youths. Instead of pandering to Psy, the Family Ministry should come up with “objective standards” for what our children may hear.

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