RE: The Stranger, on Eminem & Elton

From: Lisa Dusseault (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 17:35:46 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.

You've clearly portrayed the article as waffling, as sitting on the fence.
I agree. Yet, it seems to be the only rational reaction to this kind of
issue. When issues are this deeply grey, it seems the only thing we can do
is waffle. On the one hand, I wish he wasn't this way. On the other hand,
I know it's wrong to censor. Either Eminem or Clay, as you point out, can
fit this mold.

> + Do they use the same "I'm a performer" defense, yet also believe some
> of what they're posturing?
> + Are they both 'artists'?

How can you make judgements on what you believe the defendant to believe?
We're not thought-police.

If we decide to accord artistic license to artists, then we're forced to
allow artists to declare themselves as such. We can't look into their heads
and decide if they're *really* racist or if they're only pretending to be

Of course, artistic license only covers self-expression that doesn't involve
committing crimes, so if Eminem went out and beat up Matthew Shepard then we
could go throw the bastard in jail. Until he does so, so long as we have
laws of free speech, then we have to allow him to say these things, and not
make special cases of censorship just because he appeals to kids.

Should shit-disturbing (sometimes literally!) performance art and
installation art be allowed just because it's high-brow and of limited adult
appeal, while racist rap isn't because it's mass-media?


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