Dazed & Confused

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2001


Grammy awards head to the toilet as Eminem musically-challenged

So..I have a question for all those folks, whoever they are, who decide who to nominate for a Grammy Award. What planet are you people from? Who in the world decided that Marshal Mathers, AKA Eminem, should have been nominated for Album of the Year for his classy tribute to homophobia, misogyny, incest, violence, and general mayhem that was marketed under the title “The Marshal Mathers LP”? Did you people actually listen to that album? I had the misfortune to do so a few weeks ago, when I first heard that he had been nominated for some Grammys. I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. I can sum up my reaction in one word. Yeesh. Okay. Let me back up here a bit. I don’t like rap music, never have, never will, and as I’ve written before the very phrase is a contradiction in terms in my book. That ain’t music, folks, at least not as far as I can tell. Of course, everyone’s entitled to an opinion and that’s mine. Somebody must like it though n besides the pinhead who pulls up next to you and your kids at the stoplight, blasting its rhyming profanity at jet engine sound levels n because it sells. And it sells a lot. And it even has its own category at the Grammys now. Go figure. Anyway, I don’t have a problem with that. To each his own. I don’t even have a problem with the fact that Eminem actually won three Grammys because they were all in the rap category. They included Best Rap Single, Best Rap Album, and something he did with somebody else, Dr. Dre I think, whom I’m so far managed to successfully ignore. Winning those awards is a bit like winning a hog calling contest. It has some entertainment value and it gets the hog’s attention but it’s basically meaningless, so go for it. Win em all day. The problem I have is that whoever decides such things decided that The Marshal Mathers LP was good enough to be considered for Album of the Year. And that’s after listening to the questionable content. This guy talks n raps, excuse me n about thumping his wife, about beating on people, about locking people in a trunk, and more fun stuff like that. Regardless of whatever artistic content they thought the album contained, it never should have been nominated for an award of that caliber. And, get this, I would say that if it had been Karen Carpenter singing the same stuff. At some point there has to be a taste issue. Not everybody is happy about Eminem and his new found fame (which hopefully will last all of Warhol’s predicted 15 minutes). I’ve been listening to some people’s reaction in television interviews and reading some letters to the editor about the popularity of the bony little Eminem. Some people think he should be censored because he endorses all the worst aspects of modern behavior, violence, hatred, and bigoted intolerance. I even read one letter to the editor of a newspaper that said he should be jailed. You know, I hate myself when I have to say things like this. I don’t like his stuff, or any other rap music. So, guess what? I don’t buy it and I don’t listen to it. But I don’t think anyone, even nasty little pieces of work like Eminem, should be censored in any way. In our society we often have to curtail what some feel are their rights in order to preserve the rights of others. If your neighbor feels its his right to go into his backyard at three in the morning with his chainsaw to cut down that pine tree that’s been bothering him, you would call the police. They would then explain to him that he can’t do that because he’s bothering other people and if he doesn’t stop it he will have to pay a penalty, to whatever degree. Well, Eminem bothers people, too. Especially me. But the difference is that we have the option to turn him off at our will, or not listen to the garbage he produces in the first place. We can’t just turn that neighbor off, at least, not without spending a long, long time in jail. If you don’t like Eminem’s music, turn him off. But censorship is not the answer, not even for the likes of him. Where do we stop when we start with censorship? One of the biggest problems today is that we have politically correct types telling us what we can say and what we can’t say. Just ask John Rocker. He made politically incorrect statements and was forced to undergo counseling to keep playing baseball. On the other hand, a football player was convicted of obstruction of justice involving a double homicide and I don’t think they made him see anyone for HIS mental health. So keep on rapping, Eminem. It’s your right. Your 15 minutes of fame will be over soon anyway, and you’ll fade into obscurity. I hope.In the meantime, I don’t have to listen to you. LEE DRESSELHAUS writes this column every Wednesday for L’Observateur.