Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2002 / 30 Kislev, 5763
Mathers of importance
Went to see that movie starring Eminem
'Cause the Lords of Culture said it's quite a gem
They said Em's a real actor, he's the new James Dean
Said we all gotta like him or we're not too keen
Well well. Well well well.
Now he lives in the 'hood with his slutty drunken mom
And he hangs with the homeys, talkin' black with aplomb
He goes to a contest and he raps with the best
He's a champ like Rocky only not as well dressed
Yo, dawg. B-tch ho ho.
All right, all right. How long do you expect Media Person to keep this up, anyway? Let us beat about the bush no longer. Media Person is here to start the Official Eminem Media Backlash.
That's right, backlash. MP says you do not have to be tyrannized by Frank Rich and Andrew Sarris. You do not have to blast the 8 Mile soundtrack through your headphones as you exercycle at the gym. You do not have to blabber about "interior rhyme" and the gritty realism of the Detroit inner-city milieu. You are (most likely) a middle-class, middle-aged white person who has no hope of ever pulling off a seven-stage ghetto handshake without looking utterly ridiculous.
And you are strong enough to hear the truth: The guy Marshall Mathers is spewing doggerel, and his only subject is himself. Beneath its hard-core affectations, the movie's a sentimental cliche, and it needs subtitles. OK, granted, he's not a bad actor, but there are about 68,640 others just as good. And most of them don't insist on a contract allowing them to keep their hats on during sex scenes.
In short, the Eminem has no clothes.
So dare to be uncool. Come on, all you boomers and slackers and wimps, let's revolt. Let's work up the courage to tell the younger generation that Eminem is all theirs. Tell them they can quit worrying that their parents will understand him, thus ruining everything. Now, go do something really radical. Play Cole Porter. Which is quite enough about Eminem. Media Person is changing the subject. Stand by for an important question.
Would Christians riot if they read a newspaper article that said Muhammad would marry a Miss World contestant that Jesus had his eye on?
This question has been vexing Media Person since he read about that newspaper that started the trouble in Nigeria. First of all, he was jealous. For many years, Media Person has strived to be controversial and offensive but has never managed to start even a fistfight. About the most outrage he's ever worked up was a letter from the National Enquirer's lawyer, threatening legal action because MP had suggested that the supermarket rag was sometimes less than strictly accurate. Which is really pathetic.
Secondly, MP was mystified. If you can believe the press reports, thousands of angry Muslims wre
aked lethal havoc because of some article in a Nigerian newspaper saying Muhammad would have married a beauty-contest babe. Now, Media Person knows nothing about the Prophet's marital proclivities, so he went on the Web and Googled Muhammad in order to be able to write some learned theological commentary on this matter.
There MP learned that Muhammad may have had as many as nine wives. And not one at a time, either. Though it's doubtful any of them were beauty-pageant contestants, this fact would at least seem to indicate that the Prophet might not have been averse to certain worldly pleasures during his time on earth. Of course, some of his more extreme followers are ferociously opposed to the sight of young women wobbling down runways in swimsuits and high heels, so they assume their Prophet would have shared their view. But does this necessarily mean he wouldn't marry one?
Let's not be too quick to set innocent bystanders on fire before we judiciously consider the question, is all Media Person is asking. For all MP knows, Muhammad might very well have said, "OK, look, Miss Djibouti is not behaving in a manner as modest and circumspect as Allah has decreed, but perhaps if I take her into my household and patiently instruct her and cover every inch of her delightful young body in shapeless robes, she will see the light and become devout. She appears to have spiritual potential, and I'm not saying that just because she's one hot babe."
It's possible. After all, Media Person just read that a group of evangelical Christians is launching a series of TV commercials that ask the question "What would Jesus drive?" (Although Media Person would rather know, "What would Jesus put on his dashboard?")
And a Jewish group put on a mock trial of their first prophet, Abraham, for agreeing to sacrifice his son. (He was acquitted, of course -- he had a Jewish lawyer.)
So the Western religions are struggling to make their founders relevant, and the Muslim religion is struggling to keep Western culture irrelevant. And what is the responsibility of the media in all of this? Why, to stir up as much trouble as possible, of course.
JWR contributor Media Person -- a.k.a Lewis Grossberger -- is a columnist for Media Week. Comment by clicking here.
© 2002, Lewis Grossberger