Monday, June 03, 2002

Deconstructing Eminem--Comments Brought Up a Level

Ladies, I found the comments under the last Eminem post really interesting, so I'm putting them up into the flow here. They are as follows:

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From Eve:

Actually, much of Eminem's lyrics are just about exactly the same as Dr. Dre's, Snoop Dogg's, NWA's, etc., etc. If you look at it in a certain light, Eminem gets lots of flack because he's white. It's almost as if folks "expect" black rappers to be violent and misogynistic, but when a white rapper does it- god forbid. It could just be another form of racism.

The other part of Eminem is to understand the difference between reality and music. Sometimes it's a matter of art imitating life. But usually it's a way to vent. Or be controvertial. Some of what Eminem talks about is actually right on the money, and that pisses people off to no end.

"When a dude's getting bullied and shoots up his school and they blame it on Marilyn and the heroin... where were the parents at? And look where it's at- middle america now it's a tragedy, now it's so sad to see an upper class city having this happen..." (from "The Way I Am" off of The Marshall Mathers LP)

Most of the problems with all music is that folks miss the point completely and attack the things that make them uncomfortable.

I'm not fond of Eminem's personal life in any way, and I believe that his misogynism, if we are calling it that, is a reflection of a larger cultural misogynism and a general acceptance of violence against women.

I say this because we have too lenient policies on wife beaters and rapists. Women still make less money per hour than men, and are often put in a double bind when the choose to be mothers, not to be mothers, stay home with their children, or work full-time. Women are constantly having to keep guard of their constitutional equality with men- it is perpetually being jepardized by pro-life interests and fundamentalist Christians who wish to keep women subordinated to men at all costs.

Much of rap is a cultural commentary. A rather in-your-face cultural commentary at that. Eminem just happens to be the attack-point du jour.

And one more thing- Lynn Cheney is speaking on behalf of women? Isn't her clan involved in the cultural movement to keep women subordinated to men? So how does that make her better than Eminem?

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From Andrea

He may have extreme lyrics, but I think he's definitely not simply a dumb jerk who has hate-filled lyrics. There's a sly cleverness and a creepiness to '97 Bonnie and Clyde that goes beyond simple misogynist. For that alone I'll give him some credit.

Not fond of his music (if I'm gonna listen to rap/hip-hop, it'll probably be more upbeat stuff, the Fugees or Erykah Badu), but I think there's more behind his lyrics than the sensationlism and the mindless violent fans allow.

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