Re: The Stranger, on Eminem & Elton

From: Matt Jensen (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 16:37:32 PST

A possible summary:

+ Eminem's album is full of hatred.
+ Yet it's 'cartoonish', and he seems to ahte everyone.
+ Yet it can 'terrify you with its implications'.
+ Yet he took the step of asking Elton.
etc. etc. etc.

This is sooooo reminiscent of Andrew 'Dice' Clay. Maybe he's serious,
maybe he's just performing as a character. Maybe some of his fans take it
seriously and say "yes! yes! he understands what's really true!" Maybe
other fans defend him with "lighten up, it's just a joke."

So, let's imagine it's the late 80s, and the Diceman has released a
(hypothetical) album of songs. They're very clever songs, much cleverer
than his usual jokes, but full of his usual anti-woman, anti-gay messages,
and maybe to compare better with Eminem we should assume they also have
violent 'fantasies'. The album goes triple platinum instantly.

Should he be nominated for a Grammy? No really, I'm asking. Do you think
he should be nominated? And separately, *would* he be?

I think it's an interesting comparison in several ways:
+ Have the demographics and standards of the Grammys changed in
  the last decade?
+ Have the broadcast network standards changed?
+ There appears to be some overlap in Eminem's and Clay's audiences.
+ Do they use the same "I'm a performer" defense, yet also believe some
  of what they're posturing?
+ Are they both 'artists'?

-Matt Jensen

On Thu, 22 Feb 2001, Lisa Dusseault wrote:

> [quoting David Schmader]
> But all agreed that Elton's acceptance of Eminem's offer was a serious
> insult--if not a tangible injury--to the gay community.

> Suffice it to say that Eminem's work does what good art should: transport
> you with its vision, impress you with its skill, and terrify you with its
> implications. And frankly, the wit of the wordplay would make Oscar Wilde
> spooge his pantaloons.

> As for the gay stuff: How seriously can I take verbal attacks from a man who
> literally threatens to kill every one of his listeners during the first 10
> seconds of his record? Detractors gripe that such cartoonish threats are
> obviously fantasy, while violence against gays remains harsh reality.

> Thirteen years ago, at the height of both the AIDS and the
> Axl-Rose-is-a-bigot eras, Guns N' Roses signed on to play at an AIDS benefit
> in New York City. The uproar from gay activists pushed the band, at the time
> the most popular in the world, off the bill. The activists' rationale was
> simple: Guns N' Roses are bigots, and we don't want no bigots at our
> benefit. Unfortunately lost in this reasoning was the "bigoted" band's offer
> to raise a bunch of money and give it to the fight against AIDS.

> Elton John knows this. "If I thought he was a hateful bastard, I wouldn't do
> it," Elton told the Los Angeles Times, obviously recognizing Eminem for what
> I believe he is--an artist who's made a complex career for himself by doing
> exactly what he wants to do, whether it's pretending to rape his mother on
> record or singing with a homosexual on the Grammys. And if you don't like
> it, you can suck his fucking cock.
> Like all progress, the pairing of Eminem and Elton is messy, complicated,
> and deeply divisive. But, for better or worse, it's groundbreaking. Viewers
> of this year's Grammy ceremony will witness the unprecedented scenario of a
> homosexual and a homophobe coming together to sing a song in which a young
> pregnant woman is locked in the trunk of a car and driven off a bridge.
> This is progress.

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