Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2003 / 18 Shevat, 5763

Bill O'Reilly

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Consumer Reports

Poverty-inducing entertainment | 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 of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


01/13/03: To protect and serve
12/30/02: Global double Crossing
12/30/02: The villains of 2002
12/23/02: Finding offense where none is intended is a form of selfishness
12/16/02: The Houston lesson
12/09/02: Somewhere Santa is weeping
12/02/02: A taxing situation
11/26/02: Talk is expensive when it comes to Bill Moyers
11/18/02: Sanity has left the building
11/11/02: The right stuff
11/04/02: The Attorney General blues
10/28/02: This ain't no game
10/21/02: It's only rock and roll, but it's brutal
10/14/02: The root of all evil
10/07/02: When children murder
09/23/02: The death of outrage
09/17/02: Singing a different tune
09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case
09/03/02: Let's misbehave
08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round
08/19/02: Long live the King
08/12/02: A friendly reminder
08/05/02: Heaven only knows
07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate