Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2003 / 18 Shevat, 5763
The announcement last week that low-rent rapper Eminem was the "People's Choice" for best male recording star of the year is a huge win for those bullish on the coarsening of America. The award comes as no surprise because the mainstream press has been glorifying Eminem for a couple of years now, ever since he stopped gay-baiting on his recordings. The elite media will tolerate just about any kind of depravity, but denigrating homosexuals is over the line. Women, however, remain fair game for Eminem, as he continues to threaten them with violence in many of his rap songs.
The general acceptance of Eminem by not only the press but also by tens of millions of American consumers may seem trivial on the surface, but it is not. That's because the "entertainment message" that Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) puts out, if emulated, could very well be poverty inducing.
Here's my theory: We are living in a hypercompetitive society where those who become educated and disciplined in their work and personal habits have a major advantage in the workplace. Just providing the basics for a small family requires a fairly high skill level in something. Earning a living also requires an understanding of how society operates and an acceptance of the "rules."
But Eminem and other rappers portray American society as a stacked deck. They reject the struggle to succeed, instead encouraging rebellion in the form of anti-social behavior and mannerisms. Eminem's lyrics justify immediate gratification on all levels. If your girlfriend does you wrong, kick her in the stomach. If your mother gives you a hard time, call her a dirty name. If you want to get high -- go right ahead.
The corporate charlatans who peddle this pernicious rap crap tell us that they are giving a "voice" to the disenfranchised. But what they are really doing is contributing to the cycle of poverty. If they truly wanted to hear from the "disenfranchised," they'd put out how-to-succeed books and tapes by poor people who have made it.
Hundreds of teachers have written to me saying that their young students emulate rappers in speech, dress and attitudes. Thus, we now have 10-year-old boys calling little girls "b-tches." We have 13-year-olds with tattoos and body piercings. We have poor children without parental guidance selling dope and carrying guns.
At one time society and even the entertainment industry frowned on that kind of behavior. Not anymore. There's gold in the beat of rap music. The hills are alive with the sounds of obscenity and violence.
If a working-class or poor child rejects education, does not learn to speak properly, does not respect just authority and does not understand that having babies at age 14 is a ticket to ruin, then that child's life will likely be tragic.
Eminem and his corporate masters care nothing for the legions of confused, aimless youth who are embracing the "gangsta" attitude with a vengeance. Sure, we've always had teenage rebellion in this country. But now the bar has been dropped to the lowest level in our nation's entertainment history. Now it's OK to rap about abusing women, smoking crack and solving problems with a gun.
Eminem may be the "people's choice," but he is as harmful to America as any al Qaeda fanatic. The press is giving him a free pass and lionizing his "artistry." Meantime, bewildered American children continue to drown in their own ignorance and bitterness. In a capitalistic society, the strong and smart prosper, the uneducated and undisciplined collapse. That's the rhyme and the reason that Eminem, his enablers and his brethren, are true villains. They sell mind poison and one-way tickets … to misery.
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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the
Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author
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