11/25/2002

 

No Apologies for Finding Eminem Disgusting

 

First allow me to apologize for the disjointedness of my last column. I often donít know exactly what words are going to come out of my mouth in a Monday paper until I read them, because my column gets edited by the Courier. I used to try to make them very short, but they would still frequently get edited down. Sometimes grammatical errors and such are caught and Iím grateful. But sometimes things get chopped out and it doesnít help. Even if I submit the column five days in advance I may not get to see the edited version. Sometimes I submit the column a week in advance, which can make it difficult to be timely. Then I may see what is supposedly the final edit, but what shows up in the paper may be different anyway.

 

Okay, Iím done complaining and ranting. Well, actually, I have another bone to pick. Itís with Eminem, the rapper infamous for his lyrics about casual violence against women and homosexuals. I wonít offend you by giving his lyrics here. If youíre curious have a look at the web site www.now.org/press/02-01/02-05-01.html. His apologists claim he was just reflecting society. Bunk. He was appealing to foolish youth and sick types who would pay money to hear it. A conscious decision to trade whatís right against whatís profitable. Now this is being rewarded by making him the star of a popular movie, ď8 MileĒ.Donít go see it. A local theatre is carrying it. Reviewers are giving both the movie and Eminem decent reviews. Media are carrying the ads, reviews, and pictures, giving him lots of media space (including this paper) with only passing mention of his being ďcontroversialĒ.No mention that he would never have gotten the part if he wasnít famous and that heís only famous, in part, because he glorified violence.

 

I admit there is a gray line in these matters. Established stars like Robert DeNiro and Anthony Hopkins making their umpteenth gratuitously violent movie I think are over the line too. But I know that Eminem is way over that line.

 

So are we just supposed to casually invite this guy into our living room? If he succeeds as a star and his past doesnít prevent it, he will be in our homes. He will get parts in other movies that we will want to see. Heíll be in videos we rent or own. Heíll be in our papers and on our TVs each time he has something new to sell. Heíll be in the teen magazines our daughters read, with tantalizing articles about what fashions heís wearing for his new movie, or what sensitive passions moved him while creating his latest CD. Yes, heíll be in our living rooms.

 

Why does he get under my skin so? Because with all the troubles in the world, people who will add to those troubles for a few bucks sicken me. Or maybe itís not even that. Thatís a given, that there will always be such people in the world. What gets me is how many of us, the media consuming public, will just go along with it. At least with other types who create troubles for their own profit, the lying CEOs of the Enrons of this world for instance, they try to pull the wool over our eyes, and we have some excuse for having inadvertently played along with them, by buying their stock. But when enough people buy tickets to make someone like this a star, we have no one but ourselves to blame. Foolish youths may not know any better. Reviewers, theatres, and ďhome townĒ media should.

 

We canít have it both ways. We canít complain about violence in the media begetting violence, or about immorality in the media, or about how society in general needs to adhere to basic values, and then give this guy lots of positive media space and go see his movie and just turn a blind eye to how he got there. If we do that, then we have no more room to be making any of those complaints.

 

Do yourself and everyone else a favor. Donít go see this movie.