The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Elton & Eminem - An Odd Couple

In "Kill You," he sings, "Bitch, I'm-a kill you! You don't wanna fuck with me, girls leave, you ain't nothin' but a slut to me, bitch, I'm-a kill you!"

On parts of the record, Eminem talks about raping his own mother. In "Kim," he raps about murdering the mother of his daughter. You can hear a woman choking towards the end of the song as Eminem screams, "Now bleed, bitch, bleed."

Next Wednesday, these very lyrics could win Eminem a Grammy or two - including one in the prestigious Album of the Year category.

Now, I'm not so sure Eminem deserves a Grammy for glamorizing homophobia, misogyny and extreme violence in general. But rather than complain about his extremely negative messages, let's look at Eminem in a more positive light.

Let's examine his function as a necessary evil in society.

Eminem's hate-filled lyrics have made him one of the most controversial pop stars around. And where there's controversy, there's hot debate. At best, Eminem's in-your-face lyrics are stimulating discussion on topics that every American needs to be thinking about.

Is it OK to gay-bash or make tasteless jokes about domestic violence in rap songs? Or should Eminem be censored?

Well, I get a little scared at the thought of censoring artistic expression. I don't like the idea of anyone deciding what's too offensive for me to handle. That's a very individual choice.

And even though I'd fight for Eminem's right to freely express himself, that doesn't mean I think he's conveying a positive message for society. And it's my right to express utter distaste for his hateful songs.

But the fact of the matter remains: We live in an extremely homophobic, misogynous society. Eminem's music puts these issues on the table. He gives us something very tangible to react against.

Many logical individuals would agree, at least in theory, that the rapper's lyrical antics are unhealthy for society. But his latest album has sold an excess of 8 million copies. Sadly, a lot of young boys listen to the record and imitate their bleached blonde idol. They think it's hip to make fun of gay people or assert their masculinity by degrading women. After all, their new pop hero's doing it on his records.

Hate, in any form, should never be tolerated. But censoring artists like Eminem won't solve the problem. To work toward eradicating hate, we must first honestly address the issue. Then we must work to change our collective attitude about hate.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) will be present at the Grammys to protest Eminem's appearance. GLAAD members are appalled that an album so full of anti-gay lyrics could win the music industry's highest honor. They should be applauded for taking such a bold stand against hate.

The group also has expressed concern that Elton John, who is openly bisexual, will duet with Eminem on stage. This strange musical pairing is likely Eminem's attempt to convince critics that he's not just some white trashy gay-basher.

But more importantly, the duet could send a positive message to the fans that emulate Eminem. By seeing their hero perform with an openly bisexual artist, perhaps these young fans will think twice about Eminem's anti-gay lyrics.

They'll be forced to wonder why the rapper decided to duet with John, who has always been a champion for gay rights. Hopefully, they'll see the performance as Eminem's public way of announcing that he's actually a lot more tolerant of homosexuality than one would believe after listening to his music.

But that's the crux of the situation. The man behind Eminem's public personae may not hate women or gays. His albums, however, are full of lyrics that degrade both groups.

Eminem's sudden attempt to come off as gay-friendly doesn't erase the evil messages behind his songs. A lot of fans out there are still going to play an Eminem album and think that trashing gays is the cool thing to do.

But those same fans should realize that gay-bashing does nothing for their macho images. A manly man doesn't have to assert his masculinity by bashing gays or degrading women.

Think about Eminem's song "Criminal," for example. In it, he raps about how gay guys are staring at his crotch ... but will never get a hold of his private parts. Hmm. Sounds like obsessive insecurity to me. Maybe Eminem should consider putting this verse into one of his songs:

"My name is / My name is - Slim Shady / I have so many issues with my sexuality / It's kinda crazy / So I grab my balls like a macho man / Screamin' and shoutin' - I just don't give a damn / So if you're unsure / Insecure / Be just like me / Walk talk and don't know which way to swing / Just like me / Oops, did I just say / Damn, I didn't / But I did / Yep, I can't be straight / But what other way / Can I deal / When it's ma-ma-manly men / I wanna feel?"

Cameron Mitchell is a junior journalism and mass communication major from Burnsville who loves "The Vagina Monologues" -- but not in that way. Reach him at

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