Eminem – A Champion for Family Values ?!?
Published on December 27th, 2012 | by Frankie and Masoud
The answer to that is pretty obvious right? A loud resounding ‘NO’ just about does it. Love him or hate him (and for the record, we love him) we can all agree that were Frankie to reproduce the murderous rage, spite, bitterness, criminal intent and the general venom that rapper, songwriter, producer and actor Marshall Mathers III is capable of penning and spitting, the state would have him forcibly neutered and kept in solitary confinement. There is no way Eminem will be winning any Family Values awards anytime soon that’s for sure.
And yet, we are increasingly coming to believe that the answer to the question above is – a sort of ‘maybe.’ Eminem – and others like him… yeah they sort of do have family on the mind. An article by Mary Eberstadt called ‘Eminem is Right’ completely turned us around. It’s quite a lengthy read but if you have the time and the interest it is well worth it. Check it out at: http://www.hoover.org/publications/policy-review/article/7650
Especially here in Kuwait, we have often had to put up with criticisms against the music we listen to or produce. The whole ‘What the hell sort of garbage are these kids listening to’ is not just a Middle Eastern phenomenon. Sure we have more powerful entities fighting a music culture here, but everywhere around the world, the previous generation of parents are horrified at the sort of messages that the music of our generation are reveling in. And maybe they should. It’s violent, vulgar, misogynistic, glorifying of everything from drug abuse, murder and rape to self-harm and suicide. Seriously – explicit language is the LEAST of our problems. But instead of asking ‘what the hell are they listening to’, the previous generation have rarely asked the most important of all questions ‘Why are they listening to it?’
In the 60s and the 70s, the public image of music was far different from what it is now. It was a great time in some ways, revolutionary in terms of world culture. People staged musical events defying the Vietnam War. They were throwing off the shackles of a Christian religious system that had gotten too used to telling them how to live. It was the time of the sexual revolution – lots of supposed ‘free love’ and a decline in the value of monogamy. Baby boomers and their music were all about rebellion against parents and authority figures because they were over-involved and overly present in the lives of their children. People stood up for things and fought for freedoms against everything they felt held them back.
But eventually the narcissistic, carefree teenagers of the 60s and 70s grew up into parents of today. Allow us to include some quotes from the article itself.
‘If yesterday’s rock was the music of abandon, today’s is that of abandonment. The odd truth about contemporary teenage music … is its compulsive insistence on the damage wrought by broken homes, family dysfunction, checked-out parents, and (especially) absent fathers. Papa Roach, Everclear, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Eminem — these and other singers and bands, all of them award-winning top-40 performers who either are or were among the most popular icons in America, have their own generational answer to what ails the modern teenager: dysfunctional childhood. ’We have enshrined a new generation of music idols whose shared generational signature in song after song is to rage about what NOT having had a nuclear family has done to them.’
Yesterday’s teenagers rebelled against parents who were too involved. ‘ Today’s teenagers and their music rebel against parents because they are not parents — not nurturing, not attentive, and often not even there…’
It really is interesting that today, many people want to blame this music solely on the artists who create them … but the artists point a finger back. ‘This is the sound of one generation reproaching another’ — the abandoned, angry and tired children screaming back at parents who didn’t give a rat’s ass about family values.
Read the article to learn more about these artists OWN views on what not having a proper family has done to them…
as a side note:
For KM, culturally we are stuck between figures that DO want to be over-involved and also those that couldn’t care less about us. It’s no wonder we are confused – depending on who you are, you could be going through either. So we have bluesmen who haven’t really suffered anything, Rappers who wouldn’t know a ghetto if it crawled up their asses and started a family – and metalheads who rage against the fact that they have to repay their massive bankloans (ok a tiny exaggeration there).
Since we are constantly fighting our own battles in trying to create a music culture, it just helps to face up to the fact that no – not all the music we listen to is completely harmless, completely devoid of vulgarity, completely unpolitical and something we can sugarcoat so that the powers that be accept us. It is what it is.
Also what are we doing with our generation’s music that is totally going to screw up the next one? It bears thinking about.
Alright, read the article. There will be a pop quiz!