After anti-American lyrics from 2004 by South Korean rapper Psy resurfaced in news reports, some questioned President Obama‘s decision to be seen with him at a holiday party in Washington on Sunday.

Joseph Sterberg, editorial page writer for the Wall Street Journal Asia, offers this defense of Psy:

In one sense this story is part of a persistent trend of entertainers opining on world affairs when they’d be better off sticking to something they’re actually good at. Psy isn’t an American himself, even though he went to college in the U.S. But America has been a significant market for his latest hit, and his country has flourished under American military protection for nearly 60 years. Arguably, that makes his eight-years-ago antics no more offensive than, say, the travels of Sean Penn—who theoretically is an American—in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. …

… Americans have also shown they can be tolerant consumers of culture even from foreign artists who express their distaste for America. The trick is that it’s a fine line, and even some American artists stray onto the wrong side. Just ask the Dixie Chicks. As Koreans increasingly try to export cultural products to America—Psy’s Gangnam Style success being a case in point—they’ll need to work on their finesse a bit.