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The Real Slim Shady vs. Real Shady

The ConWeb finds plenty to criticize about Eminem. The rapper's gay-bashing lyrics, however, aren't on the list.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/2/2001

Rap star Eminem, the Leni Riefenstahl of the musical world, knows how to draw a crowd -- the millions who buy his albums and the scores of commentators who attack all he is presumed to be. When one launches into profanity-laced lyrics about killing your wife, criticism ought to be expected from both left and right.

The ConWeb, of course, is crawling with detractors. Overall, they consider rap music in general and the former Marshall Mathers in particular as prime exhibits in the decline of civilization as they know it.

One subject of Eminem's music that doesn't come up much among the ConWeb crowd, though, is the rapper's gay-bashing lyrics.

An example is (surprise!) L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. He makes sure in his Nov. 9 column to call rap music "an oxymoron: bronchitis-stricken frogs sound better," Eminem himself "vile," a "monster" and a "violence-spewing creep," and his lyrics "sickening" and "depraved brutality."

But Bozell cites only generally violent Eminem lyrics and quotes someone who says that he promotes violence against women. Not a word about the gay-bashing content.

Joining Bozell in his assessment is, interestingly, Thomas Jipping of the Free Congress Foundation, who is normally more concerned about keeping anyone who doesn't agree with his views from becoming judges. In a Sept. 6 commentary that makes Bozell look like a reasoned debater by comparison, he starts with the schoolyard debate tactic of making fun of the rapper's name ("No, not enema, Eminem") moves on to more making fun of the rapper's name ("Marshall, or Eminem, or Slim Shady, or whatever stupid nickname he's currently using") and eventually moves on to a description, of sorts, of the music (" ... he sings (if you can call it that) about raping and killing women, threatens to beat up anyone and everyone he hates (and it appears he hates anyone and everyone), glorifies rampant drug use, and tells anyone who does not like it what they can do"). He sums up with a diagnosis: "The only place he should occupy on the radio is as a caller to Dr. Laura." Again, not a word about homosexuality.

(And for those wondering where the Clinton connection is -- for all things that conservatives consider bad must have some Clinton connection so they can engage in their favorite sport, gratuitous Clinton-bashing -- Debbie Schlussel has the answer in a March 2 WorldNetDaily commentary: It's all Hillary's fault that Eminem was born to an irresponsible single mom. "He's the epitome of what happens when Hillary's village (as in "It Takes a Village") -- and not a nuclear family, which includes a father -- raises a child," she writes.)

But not all ConWeb commentators ignore the anti-gay side of Eminem completely -- at least, not if they can find a way to turn it around and engage in their own liberal- and gay-bashing.

Larry Elder, in a July 13 column, was apparently under the delusion that no gay support group had ever taken Eminem to task when he wrote the following" "Eminem finds the term 'faggot' synonymous with, say, 'wimp,' and, therefore, homosexuals should take no offense. Case closed. Funny, that didn't work for Dr. Laura, who says she harbors no ill will towards gays."

Jipping weighs in again on the subject in a Feb. 22 commentary, following the Grammy Awards broadcast in which Elton John performed with Eminem: "It makes no sense for homosexual-rights advocates to criticize Elton John for performing with Eminem, since for years Sir Elton has denied that lyrics affect anyone at all. After the Columbine massacre in 1999, for example, he dismissed as 'absolute rubbish' the idea that popular music affects anyone at all. On the one hand, this position is obviously ridiculous. ... The inconsistency comes from other liberals who for years denied the impact of consuming popular music and now, when homosexuals are in Eminem's sights, say the opposite."

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah joins in the fun: "Elton John and Eminem are two of a kind -- users, exploiters, degenerates. And frankly, anyone who tuned in to watch this freak show last night deserves them and the kind of world they would create if given the chance. This was a circus act designed to demean everyone who watches it, to lower your resistance to the world's cultural non-standards."

Farah even rips into Lynne Cheney for committing the conservative sin of saying something nice about a homosexual (in this case, expressing concern over John's performance with Eminem): "Does she not have a clue? Or has she been so blinded by her own family's experience with homosexuality that she can no longer see the forest for the trees?" Apparently, in Farah's eyes, no parent is ever supposed to provide the slightest support for a homosexual child, just condemn them and wash their hands of them.

On the other hand, WorldNetDaily's Jon Dougherty on Feb. 23 actually expresses a denunciation of Eminem's full oevure -- "anybody who 'sings' about raping his mother, treating women like dung and advocating hate against gays and lesbians is a loser, period" -- but then caps his diatribe with a tactic borrowed from the rapper himself: a death threat.

"Note to Eminem: Don't show up at my place," Dougherty writes. "That camouflaged and well-armed man in the weeds near the front door is me."

Hiding behind their bluster and sidestepping the issue of criticism they don't exactly disagree with -- the "real shady" ConWeb is more than happy to "please stand up."

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