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Tuesday, July 29, 2003
I was thinking last night about the present-day equivalent of Madonna's mainstream controversiality (there's a word for you), and I realized that the person espousing a moderate response to speech codes, as I've wondered about before, would be...
I'm kind of interested in running down Eminem's policy positions, as it were, to see how he manages to be controversial while still being widely supported and not regarded as whiny. (I'd also be interested in seeing what vaguely controversial positions non-right-wing talk show hosts espouse--the usual "look at these people being stupid" kind of thing you hear on morning zoo shows.) Madonna, for instance, embraced pro-sex women's lib (pro-choice, pro-personal expression, pro-orgasm) in a way that allowed her to fully enrage one segment of the population (xtians, conservatives) while getting embraced by another segment (women, libby men). Eminem pisses off the right by talking about sex and violence a lot, and just by being a rapper; he gets the left by being working-class (well, used to be) and anti-racist but taking enough contrary stances that they can still respect him in the morning. Of course, Em's stuff seems way more personal and way less political than Madonna, although admittedly she was working in a pesonal-is-political kinda field. But maybe I'm selling him short. So lessee...
- Anti-gay but pro-gay marriage ("There's no reason that a man and another man can't elope (eww)") - kind of enlightened Santorumism
- Anti-corporate ("There's a million of us just like me, we could be working at Burger King, spitting on your onion rings, doing circles in the parking lot, screaming 'Just don't give a fuck' with the windows down and the system up" - if I got that one right)
- Anti-mainstream culture ("Trying to decide which Spice Girl to impregnate") while being happily mainstream himself
- Anti-media-focusing-on-unimportant-issues (i.e., his personal life)
- A, um, complicated relationship with women's issues (a punk-rock one, if Travis Morrison is to be believed--Well, she said, it was really awesome, a couple of guys from our crew noticed that he was hitting on me and went over and got in his face and they got in a fight and they totally creamed the guy. I was speechless. This was awesome? This is the “punk” scene that rejected false suburban values? It sounds like the damn 1950’s to me.). He, you know, likes women, but he kind of distrusts them. Maybe this is appealing because it implies an express powerlessness?
That's all I got. Of course, the standard line on Eminem is that he's just expressing things white males think but shouldn't say in public, and from this rundown I'm not sure how true that is, politics-wise, but it's important (and oft-overlooked) that he says it in a real funny way. And from there...