Jewish World Review Nov. 25, 2002/ 20 Kislev, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports


Eminem culture


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Eminem, a white rapper and high school dropout from Detroit, has a way with vulgarity. Log onto www.eminem.com and feast your eyes on Eminem's, aka Marshall Mathers III. From his song, "White America": "F____ you Ms. Cheney! F___ you Tipper Gore!" Only bipartisan insults will do.

In "Just the Two of Us," he describes slitting his ex-wife's throat and taking his daughter along to help him throw her body off the pier. As for "Low Down Dirty," the title describes the lyrics. "Kill You," is self-explanatory, and you don't want to know what he says in "What You Say," a harmonious duet with Dr. Dre.

Eminem will not allow his daughter to listen to his music. Good call. A bonus Eminem website thought for our children, "Don't do drugs, don't have unprotected sex, don't be violent. Leave that to me." Disclaimer: Eminem's music plays the whole time you visit his Website. Fisher Price buzz saw toys are less annoying.

Time magazine describes young Marshall's songs as including "scabrous lyrics and occasional murderous violence." But, Time loves Eminem because its movie critic loves his new flick, "8 Mile." The New York Times' Frank Rich calls the film "Oscar worthy." Even the Wall Street Journal describes it as "above every other Hollywood movie that we've seen this year."

Gentlemen, gentlemen! The lad's lyrics wax poetic about urinating on the White House lawn. Keats' and Shelley's legacies are safe. Garth Brooks' "Mama's in the graveyard and Daddy's in the pen" is more romantic. This is one angry artist, " a lot of people can relate to my s ***. Everybody gets to the point of 'I don't give a f***.'"?

How odd to hail a film biography of a 30-year-old who barely finished his probation from his last crime? A twit who sings, and I use that verb loosely, of raping and killing his mother is not exactly Churchill material.

Perhaps the presence of Kim Basinger as Eminem's mother sidetracked critics. Or perhaps Eminem's crackerjack thespian training, a grueling six weeks of acting lessons insisted upon by the film's director, put the critics over the big top. The only artistic granules in this young man's being rest in the ink formations of multiple tattoos.

The entertainment world worships MM III because his nutty albums have sold upwards of 25 million copies. Madonna says she finds George W. Bush's utterances more offensive than Eminem's lyrics. One of the Spice Girls (Oregano?) defends Eminem's work as artistic freedom and expresses interest in working with the lad.

Ah, America, land of extremes and home of malcontents exercising freedom and then deriding it. Extremism springs from a lack of perspective. No longer linked by history, art and music sink further into decadence. Imagination languishes as America tolerates rubbish pawned off as art by guilt-ridden critics who believe we ignored the Eminems and their trials.

These critics demand that we accept trash as art because the artist had a rough childhood. That which is offensive does not become less so because the "composer" has issues. Do these critics and Eminem believe that he is the first child to grow up in poverty with a troubled mother who moved him around from trailer park to trailer park?

Guess what, Marshall and all you sycophantic critics? Hardscrabble childhoods abounded before and after the Depression. Children were farmed out by parents who couldn't afford them. Many grew up hungry, there being no Detroit food stamps. They survived and went on to live decent, productive lives, not compelled to write songs of unspeakable language, hate and violence.

Life has its ups and downs and it isn't always fair. Emily Dickinson was one lonely broad, but from that sadness came insight - "parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell," Inspiration, not shock. Life's harsh reality sans harsh language.

If the condemnation of Eminem's forlorn depravity ceases, imagination and creativity suffer. The crooners, Martin, Sinatra, Bennett, Clooney, Crosby, were raised in circumstances as bad or worse than Detroit's 8-mile area. Yet they sang of hope, romance, and happiness. They even sang in the rain. When their hearts were broken, they did not sing of slitting the throats of their loves, they sang to see the rest of us through the same. Gershwin and Sinatra on lost love, "The way your smile just beams, the way you sing off key, the way you haunt my dreams, no, they can't take that away from me." Mercer, Bloom and Rosemary on love's challenges, "Fools rush in where wise men never go, but wise men never fall in love, so how are they to know?"

Marshall Mathers is a brat with a delayed adolescence that has reached into his third decade. I don't object to a perpetual smart-mouth confined to Detroit. Why must he inflict it on us? And why do these daft critics encourage and support this whiner whose lyrics advance neither beauty nor romance? Worse, they don't even rhyme.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Up

11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
10/17/02: The window on the liberal mind and war
10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
09/20/02: Girly gridiron
09/13/02: Erudite buffoons
09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
09/06/02: Public schools: An unqualified success
08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
08/15/02: Cheapskates
08/08/02: Ode to a coal miner
08/02/02: Sarah Brady's gun gift
07/26/02: Don't do it, Tiger
07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
08/02/01: FRAN, MARY JO, MONICA & CHANDRA
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings