Eminem the Patriot
October 29, 2004

Today I was going to write about the recent release of "Grand Theft Auto San Andreas", the video game laced with the stereotypes and propaganda that encourages the type of negative and self-destructive behavior we eventually pay for with our tax dollars. Then I realized we have our own version of "Grand Theft Auto" taking place in politics as is. I am referring to the media hubbub surrounding Eminem's (Marshall Mathers's) recent anti-Bush video.

I just got finished watching the music video, which is called "Mosh"(as in pit), and I'm completely uninspired. Released strategically this week, the video is essentially an angry hate message regarding the current state of America and a final "let's oust Bush plea" not void of the typical "everything's bad, bring the troops home, Bush lied" predictable stuff that's been common to this campaign. Eminem even managed to slip in one last comment of "Disarm this weapon of mass destruction we call the president" and end the video with the words "Vote November 2nd" on the screen. He forgot of course to mention, "I myself can't vote because I have a felony conviction." Still, Eminem asserts:

"They tell us ‘no’, we say ‘yeah,’ they tell us ‘stop’, we say ‘go’ / Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell, we gonna let him know / Stomp, push, shove, mush, f*** Bush / Until they bring our troops home / Come on"
Gotta love that Black Panther spirit in him right?

I watched the video with an open mind, really I did. I even watched it twice. I tried to extract whatever "deepness" and "profundity" everyone else seems to be getting out of it. I mean, after all, the reviews I've seen of the video read as such:

"... the most powerful broadside against the administration since "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"Makes Fahrenheit 9/11 look like a GOP campaign spot..."

"Wow...this is the best thing that I've seen all year."

"The video they don't want you to see"

With all that hype, you'd think you were about to view something so wrapped up in profound insight that it'd make you want to go start a revolution. Well, that is of course Eminem's goal, but instead, it just made me want to take a sleeping pill, go to bed, and wake up on November 3rd. The "deepness"? It wasn't there. Mr. Mathers's somewhat feeble attempts to get across a supposedly potent message were just the typical rantings of our resident angry and bitter badboy and all the other Bush haters. The UK Guardian reports:
"The video was first aired on MTV on Wednesday and immediately went to the top of the channel's "hot video" charts.

In it, the rapper leads a crowd of hooded people, including a mother with an eviction notice and a soldier given orders to return to Iraq, in a march to storm a government building. Once inside, the mob remove their hoods and stand in an orderly queue to vote.

Eminem, now wearing a smart suit and red tie, declaims in a style reminiscent of Martin Luther King:

"In these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president, for the present."

Sound familiar? It does to me. The goal is a simple one: empower the masses to vote to oust Bush.
Even my favorite sold-out Democrat blogger Oliver Willis prefaced his comments on the video with
"It seems to be going in one direction, then pivots in the right way towards the end."
Yeah that "one direction" it was going was the typical unproductive whining that is common to Eminem. The "pivoting the right way" simply means that he's telling people to vote. How incredibly unpredictable with less than a week until the election. Deep? I think not. Calculated? You better believe it.

As you can imagine, the hip-hop community is going crazy over this one. The video is being pumped up on MTV's TRL and online. Eminem has long been viewed as the "outspoken rapper" who'll say "what needs to be said" (and some). Oh he says a lot all right. If there's one thing Eminem's not short on, it's words. Four letter ones too. Hateful ones too. Vapid ones too. With his past attacks on gays, women, his wife, his mother (come to think of it, who hasn't Eminem had issues with?) we should take everything he says with a grain of salt. The boy is a walking ball of anger who likely has more issues from his childhood than he does with the Bush administration.

The video lacks substance and just plays into the emotions and other pre-fabricated drivel my generation has been told about this election. Unfortunately, coherency of thought, and a decent argument are not pre-requisites for whether or not people will take heed to his words. And interesting words they are. Eminem is just a yapper with a lot of influence. If you were to corner him in a room, chances are, he couldn't defend his own arguments with any knowledge beyond emotion.

Thankfully, even some of Eminem's fans are reailizing this. Alternet reports:

Nineteen-year-old Kelley from Apple Valley, MN has a different take: "I am completely appalled by Eminem's 'Mosh' video. He may have his own opinions about our president, but there should be no reason that he has to come out with this Bush-bashing video a week before the election. I am a huge Eminem fan, but this is extremely upsetting. I am also afraid that people will watch this video and be corrupted by what he is portraying, and that is a false image of President Bush."
But what do I think? I think the Right didn't play the hip-hop vote correctly. They should've accounted for this. People are going to drink the sand on this. Eminem's the only one doing the talking and the lemmings will blindly follow. I have heard but a peep and seen minimal effort on the part of Conservatives to reach out to the hip-hop community. I find it hard to believe that Conservatives couldn't find even one inroad. Well I say it's going to cost them. Will it cost Bush the election? No. Not this time. I do believe failure to be more effective in their approach to gaining support from this generation is going to be evident in the polls. Make no mistake about it, the hip-hop generation isn't voting for Bush.

People want leadership and understanding. If Eminem qualifies, then clearly we have low standards. And regardless of how low our standards may be, or what the pseudo hip-hop leaders may be saying, people will be listening, and they'll be voting too. Yep. "Grand theft" for sure.

Update (10/29):
- Michele at "A Small Victory" lays some Eminem Smackdown
- Then again, as Cobb eloquently notes, Bush just may have the hip-hop vote. Heh.

Posted by Ambra at October 29, 2004 12:49 AM in Culture
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I'm not certain what state M&Ms is registered in, but Minnesota allows felons to vote if they are reinstated after they come off paper.

Yeah I know a convicted felon (crime was maybe three years ago?) who just got his absentee vote on the other day. This was for Illinois.

I blogged about this other day too. I think going as far as to say the video 'lacks substance' is a stretch. It's got a lot of anger, at least. I dig it for it's artistic value and well, he does get his message across. If it lacked substance altogether then I don't think you'd be able to understand his message. It comes across loud and clear. The video is way better than the actual song, which I didn't like until I watched the video a few times (I'm that way sometimes). You're right about conservatives missing out on the HIp Hop vote. I'm not sure if they expected it to be useful? Maybe they don't care?

The video is well done. The message is vapid: "Look at me, I had a hard life, plus I'm yelling really loud, so you can tell how angry I am, and I also grabbed my crotch about five times, so go out and vote against Bush."

Yeah! I'm convinced.

Get a job, Marshall.

I guess Dubya shouldn't have whiffed on the BET invite after all, huh?

I appreciate that, for the most part, all the other dapper rappers forwarding the "Vote or Die" movement seem to have done it in non-partisan fashion. They haven't been quite so blatant about whom they want us to vote for--or against. Fortunately (or not), I'm old and give very little credence (ok, none) to hip-hoppers or other celebs when they shill for--or against--one candidate or another.

I just hope most of the new, young voters go to the polls using their heads and not their ipods.

I think it was Stanley Crouch that said that whenever white people embrace a black musical form in large numbers, blacks abandon it and create something else.

I hereby issue a call to all wannabe's: hip-hop nation is yours for the taking. Come on white girls, flap them arms! Hey Em, you're awful smart, keep 'em coming.

With a track record of gospel, blues, soul, jazz and funk, black folk can be forgiven for a couple of duds recently. What else ya got?

My concern, from the political scientist and future-lawyer perspective:

Does the video (I haven't seen it, I don't watch TV) constitute the type of campaign material forbidden during the final periods of the election by the McCain-Feingold law?

If so, get it out of here before it convinces more politically oblivious hip-hoppers to vote in ignorance.

Claudio

Steven: It isn't the genre that's flawed, it's humans. There's devotional hip hop, and Christian rock too. Now if you just don't like the beats/rhymes, as Avery Tooley says, that's different.

If I can qoute a brilliant young lady or at least brilliant in the eyes of some...

"That said, Eminem's comments aren't outside of the realm of truth (did I just use the word "Eminem" and "truth" in the same sentence?--Hell, please commence to freezing over)."

Are we to believe that there is no realm of truth in what Eminem is saying about Bush but such exists in what he said about Michael Jackson. It's funny to see so-called conservative swirming now that Eminem has attacked Bush but when he attacked MJ, most of you sought to justify his attacks and berate BET for pulling his video. Maybe BET should play this MOSH video.

Bijan - You are correct, there is some very uplifting stuff out there. Unfortunatly, it is in the minority. Rock is dead, so my favorite music is no better.

Rap, being poetry set to (fake) music, I'll leave alone - at least there is an attempt at art.

As for hip-hop, I've heard over a decade of whiney men. UGH! Men, Say It Loud...

Well, for starters, hip-hop encompasses a culture, so it's more than just rap. So we're talking about an entire culture here, not just an talkinghead rapper.

Paul: Yes it's true there are states that allow felons to vote, but last I heard, his conviction disenfranchised him from voting. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Claudio: your guess is as good as mine. Since you're a future lawyer (and I'm clearly not), I'll let it rest on you to enlighten us all on whether or not the video breaks the law.

Scott: See, I wasn't even impressed with the video. Then again, I was watching it on a computer screen and it was small. I'll give it a B+ for creativity though.

Ethel: See, disagre in that I do think it's vapid. You could watch the video with no sound and still guess what he's talking about. It's the same thing Bush-haters have been saying this entire election.

Johnnie: said "I just hope most of the new, young voters go to the polls using their heads and not their ipods."

Oh man that's good. Word.

Faheem: Well, I'm not sure whoever alluded to me being brilliant, but if you're refuting what's never been said, so be it.

As for the remainder of your comments. I can always trust the "Black Instrospection" team to attempt to point out the fact that conservative thought is silly. Really, come with something new please.

I've never denied that Eminem hasn't spoken true words. But in this case, he's not really anything. Bush is responsible for shipping young people off to fight the war in Iraq. Okay what's deep about that? Every president that's been at the helm of a war can be accused of that.

Okay next, Bush is responsible for low unemployment. Well, you know where I stand on the unemployment hype. But even moreso, what's our measuring rod here? Because it certainly can't be the unemployment rate, which is better than it was under the beloved Clinton.

So in this case, no I don't believe Eminem is speaking truth. I'd give him more credibility if he backed up what he was saying, but of course a war cry is easier when it comes from the side of your neck.


Whatever correlations you're trying to draw with my commentary on Em, MJ and BET are null. The point I was making was about the double standard and what we deem as "offensive". BET was acting double-minded.

And yes, in fact I do think BET will play the video, if they haven't already. It's Eminem for goodness sake, and BET all carnality is going to play what gets ratings. So?

Black Introspection does not attempt, we provide proof, evidence and the reason why so-called Conservative Black skin having individuals thoughts are silly and self defecating.

The correalation between your MJ and Eminem commentary is that you in regular Conservative fashion never pass up a chance to attack anything Black, sided with Eminem and wrote that there is a realm of truth to what he was saying, but now that Eminem has attacked your beloved Bush (no pun intended) there is no realm of truth in what he is saying. As long as the object of your scorn is Black you are willing to see a realm of truth in what others (Eminem) are saying about it as well, however when the object of scorn of others (Eminem) is not Black and is your Beloved Bush in particular, there no realm of truth in what they are saying and furthermore they can't tell their behind from a hole in the wall. OKayyyy..... next

Faheem you're shooting blanks.
Trust me when I say, I have many issues with Bush, one of which, I voiced this week. The issue I take isn't in that Em attacked Bush, it's how he did it.

There are lots of very good and logical arguments against the Bush administration, Eminem's wasn't one of them.

And in regards to the "you're such a typical Conservative and you never pass up and opportunity to attack anything Black" *yawn* rhetoric, as I say with everyone who tries to put me in the typical "Conservative Box" by making this tired argument:

read. my. site. please.

Afterwards, come back and tell me if that's true. You're not reading Jesse Lee Peterson's site.

Ddefending nonexistent realities asserted by people who A) clearly haven't read enough of my work to draw their conclusions B) think they have my philosphy pegged, doesn't interest me in the least really.

Come back when you wanna talk facts please.

Next to the word fool in the dictionary, is Em's picture.

Leave it up to leftists to defend an alleged child molester (who happens to be black). Why don't these guys defend black women as vociferously against BET's crap depictions? And rallying to the side of Eminem, who has dissed black women? All because he dislikes Bush? Lovely, Faheem.

Its clear you are not familiar with me molotov, if you were you would know that I am highly critical of misogynistic music, movies and behavior. Black Introspection Defend Black men and women, and writing that I was siding with Eminem is a silly assertion. I have written extensively about the culture bandit Eminem and his hateful lyrics about Black women, there was no way for you to know that, so I will give you a pass this time.

Ambra, I have read over your site and contrary to your own beliefs you are no different in regards to insight and opinion than the rest of your brotherhood. Maybe it is because I am on the ourside and on a different side looking in that most of you appear to be the same. I am sure there are some differences in what some of you say, in the same way there is difference in what Vox and Malkin says based on disagreements they have but overall their message much like yours is the same. Thus trying to escape the conservative box is like running from who you are. You wouldn't do that would you?

Okay player *rolls eyes*

Faheem:

If Eminem wrote only of white women, would you still criticize him?

Women are worthy of respect, no matter what skin they're in.

Steve, I will leave that battle for you and those who love white women. I will not spend time defending white women when the image of the Black woman has been stepped on, ripped apart and dragged through the mud in America, so much that she now believes things said about her and act accordingly and willing in exchange for money. What’s even worse is many black men have bought the stereotypical garbage about Black women and use it as the reason why they have abandoned the Black family. All the while the white woman has been put on a pedestal and her image made the standard of beauty so much that Black women now color their hair blond, wear contacts and Perm or should I say put Temporaries in their hair. I will leave that battle for you Steve.

Thanks Faheem, you gave me the exact answer I was looking for. If you ever decide to come out your black supremacist box, let me know. There is room for love for all of us, even you. Peace.

P.S. Let's be honest. We're guys. We like women, period. That said, I prefer black women.

*Sigh*

As I'm heading off work to enjoy my weekend, and go see the new Ray movie, I check my comments and see Steven J Kelso...oh dear you made me laugh. Kudos (for making me laugh).

That was just what I needed. Gratzi.

It is clear Steve do not have a clue, and calling me a Black Supremacist is a lazy attempt at obfuscation. You proclaim you prefer Black women as do I, but when I say something similar it is Black supremacy as if I stated that there is some inherent supremacy in being Black versus being white, but I digress. Do you have a Blog Steve? I am not going to muck up Ambra's Blog refuting your foolishness that does not have anything to do with the original commentary but if you want to debate, discuss this issue name the place.

Faheem said: The correalation between your MJ and Eminem commentary is that you in regular Conservative fashion never pass up a chance to attack anything Black, sided with Eminem and wrote that there is a realm of truth to what he was saying, but now that Eminem has attacked your beloved Bush (no pun intended) there is no realm of truth in what he is saying.

You mean Eminem can't be right for one song and wrong for another? We're allowed to agree with what he says all of the time, or none of the time, but not part of the time?

Faheem, I appreciate your sentiments but, word of advice, it's pretty much a waste of missionary zeal coming too hard/strong in this space if you're against the tide. Now, if you're posting just for sport, fine (wait til I get a good seat). Just so you know.

Scott there is far more going on in Ambra’s two commentaries about Eminem than simply agreeing with him on one song/video and disagreeing with him on the other. Ambra said of Eminem video about Bush

“The video lacks substance and just plays into the emotions and other pre-fabricated drivel my generation has been told about this election”

She also said;

“the video is essentially an angry hate message regarding the current state of America and a final "let's oust Bush plea" not void of the typical "everything's bad, bring the troops home, Bush lied" predictable stuff that's been common to this campaign”

However, she did not use such words about Eminem video disparaging MJ, she said there is a realm of truth in what Eminem was saying and portraying. Notice, she did not say it was the truth; she is much smarter than that; she said his comments are not outside the REALM of truth. She did not mention it as being hate filled like she described the Bush bash video, She even tried to justify Eminem portrayal of MJ by commenting that MJ admitted to sleeping with little boys, which is true but Eminem portrayal went further than just MJ admitting to sleeping with little boys, his video tried to bolster allegations and incriminate MJ based on the allegations he molests little boys.

She also comments that MJ is no saint but no such comment was made about Bush in her defense of him, maybe Bush is a saint to her?

Thus when I write:

“The correalation between your MJ and Eminem commentary is that you in regular Conservative fashion never pass up a chance to attack anything Black, sided with Eminem and wrote that there is a realm of truth to what he was saying, but now that Eminem has attacked your beloved Bush (no pun intended) there is no realm of truth in what he is saying.”

I am simply saying she did as most so-called conservatives with Black skin did when Eminem attacked MJ, she defended Eminem by saying his comments are not outside the realm of truth and mentioned that MJ is no saint and have admitted to sleeping with little boys; she failed to mention he has not admitted to molesting little boys. However, she offered no such critical analysis of what Eminem said about Bush, she simply brushed off Eminem video as hate filled, angry, predictable and a final lets oust Bush plea.

Memer: I know you're trying to aid here, but you're wrong. It's a "waste of zeal coming strong here if you're against the tide"? Please. As long as people keep it civil, I think I'm MORE than gracious at entertaining others' dissention. I've even let people insult my intelligence and tell me I'm dumb on my OWN website. If you have some beef because you've felt that personally your efforts to go against the tide were futile, then I don't know what to tell you.

Will I oppose arguments that aren't logical or I fundamentally disagree with? Sure. Do I think everyone has a right to express dissent? Sure. Otherwise, I wouldn't open up comments. But I'm not about to act all diplomatic and happygolucky just to make everyone feel like their dissenting opinion is highly valued.

If I disagree with a person, I'ma tell them so. If that means they're wasting their dissent, that's your opinon. Just keep it that way please.

Faheem the focus of the post on MJ & Michael wasn't about Eminem. I made a few jabs at him and ultimately said "arguing the apropriateness of Eminem is a lost cause". The point is, the focus wasn't on Eminem, it was on BET's decision. You're trying to make an unnecessary argument here.

Don't get me started on Em, I can go on and on and on (and on). I only talked about him and video briefly to set up my assault on the doublestandard at BET, the non-black owned yet black propogating company.

Try to draw whatever correlations you want, but you're building a house on a shaky foundation. I'm done arguing this cause.

I should've italicized the word "too" in that sentence. I know you allow/encourage dissent, A. A cool thing. I was just wondering if F was starting to breathe too heavy in trying to get his point across is all.

Well, now we have it. Not only has Bush lost the support of Eminem, but according to his/her? interview on CNN, RuPaul also expresses dissatisfaction with "the People in the White House." Do we need anything more to help us see what's at stake this election and for whom we should vote?

At least I'm your favorite sold-out Democrat. If I was like third or fourth I'd be pissed! :)

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City