In a move akin to rock bands chugging through endless ‘farewell’ tours, Eminem recently let his alter ego, Slim Shady, out of the bag once again after supposedly putting him to bed on his 2005 greatest hits album, ‘Curtain Call’. In doing so, he showed that Slim, his cartoonish whirlwind of id, was still quite potent. This is great news for his wallet, but horrible news for us as a society.
Somehow failing to realize (even after endless dissections of it) that Em’s shtick is hypersensitivity spun into overwhelmingly lyrical misogyny and anarchic, snarky glee, media outlets ran the story as if it were actual news, with many taking his verbal shots at Lana del Rey and Iggy Azalea as actual threats. ‘Eminem Threatens to Punch Lana del Rey in the Face Twice’ was a commonly seen headline, a sentence that is as hysterical to read in print as ‘Daniel Radcliffe Threatens to Cast Spells on People’ would be.
This is a 42 year old man whom even casual fans should know is filled with immense love for his daughters. To think of the Del Rey line as anything other than offensive hyperbole for entertainment’s sake would indicate, no joke, a serious lack of intelligence.
Look, if you want to have the discussion that entertainment shouldn’t talk about such things, we can do that. You’d be wrong, and it’d be pointless, as crime, rape, violence and other atrocities are qualities of our species that existed long before the first explicit rap songs debuted and will exist until the end of our existence, but we could have that cyclical, idiotic debate. But to think Eminem is ACTUALLY THREATENING to rape Iggy Azalea or punch Ms. Del Rey is, again, just plain idiotic.
A species who learned from their cultural history would have long ago grasped the concept of expression, the joyous release of natural urges through fictional events, and the difference between art and reality. Instead, every time a new ‘controversial’ artist comes out, we fire up the machine and go into ‘Uh oh! Is this OK?’ mode.
For the record, there is no such thing as controversial art. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts for our society, and one that leads to a parade of endless, laughable hysteria. A man going out and raping a female is controversial. Eminem saying he wants to rape a female is a human saying words. Nothing happened. And I hate to be the one to pop the illusion for you guys, but all those people you’ve seen get killed in those horrible, child-brain-warping violent movies? They’re actually alive.
A failure to ‘get’ Eminem lyrics might not seem like the biggest problem, but what’s the next step after humans thinking Mr. Mathers actually wants to assault these women he speaks of in songs? Why, humans thinking that people making a movie about killing someone actually want to do it, of course.
North Korea seeing ‘The Interview’ as a cause for alarm is a situation that is completely congruent to the outrage over Eminem lyrics. Except now, instead of just having to listen to religious blowhards talk about the devil music corrupting young ears, we’re actually being threatened as a country and having our entire sense of freedom thrown into upheaval.
There are, of course, other issues here. The immeasurable damage alpha behavior does to our world as humans desperately struggle to appear strong, the very existence of dictators in any shape or form, and cowardice in the face of terror and its potentially hugely harmful effects on our way of life all come to mind. But those are massive issues to tackle, albeit ones that, yes, are still easily solvable in concept. What worries me is wondering how we can ever hope to upgrade to issues like those when humans are still thinking Eminem songs and Seth Rogen movies are cause for concern.
You could perhaps make the argument the outrage is more over a perceived lack of respect rather than them believing this movie is a literal statement on our wishes to kill their beloved leader. I then would refer to the paragraph above and speak on how alpha behavior and a utter refusal to appear weak are the most harmful qualities humans possess. Still, I can’t help but see the link between our fervent crusades against explicit media and North Korea’s fury over a film.
A truly intelligent person hears that, or any, Eminem line and either laughs at it as a piece of horrorshow entertainment, or decides it’s not for them and simply turns it off. They do not attempt to remove the music from our culture as a potential threat. A truly intelligent person hears that our country is making a satire about theirs and either laughs, or takes it as a part of existing in our world and moves on (or maybe, I don’t know, questions what it was about them that got us to think this way in the first place?).
I would be truly destroyed if one of my female friends was raped. It would haunt me endlessly. I would probably be in tears over their pain. But don’t think for a second I won’t turn around and record a vulgar rap song where I act out fantasies of raping many different women. I know that may be a hard concept to handle, but it’s what happens when someone actually uses their fucking brain.
I don’t like feeling more intelligent than the rest of the world, but when I see the next 9/11 threatened over a movie that is probably nothing more than dick jokes with an assassination plot, it’s hard not to.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start working on my next article, a passionate take down of that grade A asshole Heath Ledger. Did you see how many innocent people he killed in ‘The Dark Knight’?!