Far be it from me (I don’t believe I’m actually doing this) to agree with twister, but even though I think Eminem is on the crap side of average (let’s face it, he rode to stardom on Dido’s back), he’s not really as bad (PC-wise) as the tabloid media like to sensationalise him into appearing.
While the old free-speech argument comes into play, there is, more relevantly, a strongly ironic aspect to his work that goes way over the head of the overtly politically correct (who have even less of a sense of humour than twister). The tabloids are also incapable of comprehending irony, not because they are PC, but because sensationalism sells papers. Couple that with back-bench politicians who see self-promotion mileage in expressing outrage at something that Mr and Mrs Joe Public will feel outraged about and you have disinformation flying in every possible direction.
What Eminem is doing is expressing the way that real people (OK, American working class white trash – close) think. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the opinions that he expresses (I’m sure IceT doesn’t really want to kill police officers either), nor is he recounting actual incidents (oedipal activities, wife murder, etc). His use of the word “nigger” has to be seen in context. His “possee” (I forget what they’re called) are mostly African-American. Do you think those guys would work with him if they though he was a racist? His music is rap. That is an urban African-American art form. Do you think he’d sell records, at the volumes that he is doing, to an audience of redneck Garth Brooks lovers? He’s come along twenty years after Johnny Rotten told Bill Grundy to fuck off on live TV. Do you think he doesn’t realise the value of shock tactics?
Most of his audience have the intellectual capacity to appreciate both his irony and his (I admit) ability to express, lyrically, concepts and scenarios which are not generally present in popular music. Most of his audience are not fooled by reactionary nonsense, fortunately. Why do you think Elton John (who’s as camp as a row of tents) did Stan’s Song (or whatever it’s called) at the Grammys with him last year? Because Elton is smart enough to know (from personal, bitter, experience) that what some journo twat prints in tomorrows chip paper isn’t worth shit.
As surely as our love is bright
Let's not think about the passing time