Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2002 / 13 Kislev, 5763

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
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Consumer Reports

Sanity has left the building | Here's how much we've "evolved" in this country over the past 40 years. In 1962, a young truck driver named Elvis Presley had become a rock superstar singing about hound dogs, tender love and his mama, whom he apparently loved.

In 2002, Marshall Mathers II, aka Eminem, has become the country's hottest recording star rapping about rape, drugs and his mother, whom he apparently hates. She has sued him for $10 million. He called her a "slut" in one of his songs.

In both cases, polite society cringed. The Mississippi-born Elvis was blatantly sexy and a danger to so-called "nice girls." The Michigan-born Eminem's lyrics are so corrosive and coarse that many stores refuse to sell his CDs to minors. Yet, it is young Americans who flock to Eminem, 70 percent of those who paid to see his new movie are under the age of 25.

Elvis, of course, had a profound effect on young Americans. Millions of young boys slicked back their hair and adopted some Elvis moves on the dance floor. I was one of those boys.

Eminem has left his calling card as well. Two New York City grammar school teachers told me that it is not uncommon for 10-year-old boys to call the little girls in their classes "bitches" and "ho's" (whores). Movie theatre chains report that tens of thousands of teens and preteens have been turned away from Eminem's R-rated flick.

The Vivendi Corporation of France is the force behind Mr. Mathers, gleefully counting the money as their boy rolls out songs about sexually transmitted diseases and beating up women and homosexuals. The mouthpieces for Vivendi and its American subsidiary, Universal, say that their "artist" is either producing satire or "giving voice to the disenfranchised," whichever rationalization pops into their minds first.

Elvis was controlled by a fat Dutchman by the name of Colonel Tom Parker. He stole Elvis blind by taking half of his income and selling him out to a cynical Hollywood for cinema classics like "Clambake." Presley allowed it all to happen but was really only guilty of being incredibly dumb. Eminem has a lot more to answer for.

Any way you slice it, Marshall Mathers sells degenerate behavior to kids. The entertainment industry, long devoid of any social conscience whatsoever, provides Mathers with cover and calls him a creative genius and a sensitive soul. Students of history will remember they called Caligula that once as well.

The problem I have is that the regular folks, people with kids, have not risen up and scorned Eminem and his enablers. I mean, Ed Sullivan almost broke a blood vessel when Elvis swiveled his hips on Sullivan's Sunday night TV program. Now, Marshall Mathers can threaten to kill his mother and we Americans just shrug. What has happened to us?

The answer is that we have become shell-shocked. We have seen too much over the past 40 years, and we have run out of outrage. The baby boom generation embraced Elvis but then went progressively off the deep end. Drugs became chic, rebellion against authority a fad, greed became good and self-indulgence ruled. And now we're surprised our lax social attitudes have produced an army of degenerates like Eminem?

This is evolution, people. This is what happens when all standards die and money rules. Why are we surprised when 10-year-old Timmy calls his baby sister Sally a b-tch? Timmy hears that word and worse all the time . He sees his idol Eminem being praised by adults on TV. Timmy knows what the f-word is, he knows what pot is, and he knows that he can say anything he wants if it rhymes. Heck, he might get paid for threatening to beat a pregnant woman like Marshall Mathers does in his music.

If you think this Eminem person is harmless, you are astonishingly wrong. Like Elvis, he will leave his mark on America. But unlike Elvis, the legacy Mathers will leave is one that will injure many children, especially those without much parental guidance.

Elvis just wanted to be our Teddy Bear. Mathers wants your kids to hate you.

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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.


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