The Things We Do for our Kids

According to a Reuters news release out of London, notorious rapper Eminem is “doing it all for his 5-year-old daughter”, Haillie. “It all” includes not only the mundane (wielding chain saws during his shows—for the uninitiated, Eminem is not a lumberjack), but also singing songs filled with all sorts of wholesome images, such as committing incest with one’s mother, murdering the mother of said daughter, and abject hatred for homosexuals. “Everything that I am doing right now is for Haillie. The money is for her college,” says the thoughtful parent. How warm and fuzzy.
The article goes on to write of his fans. They dismiss the concerns of those who question the propriety of his lyrics. To them, according to the article, his lyrics are “witty and poignant”. Hmmm…incest, murder, rape, hatred for those “different” from us, profanity in every song…what a barrel of laughs! What fun! And, oh so…poignant, don’t you think?
In this politically correct society which we call America, one of the worst things one can do is to tell the truth—of course, in this silly post-modern generation, we are pretty sure that there isn’t even a category we can label “truth”. As I get older, though, I’m overcoming this reticence to call the proverbial spade a spade. So let’s do a little truth-telling when it comes to this modern cultural icon Eminem:

1. This man is one warped individual. He professes to be trying to look out for his child’s welfare (while at the same time, interestingly, divorcing his child’s mother—though one would consider this preferable to hacking her to death with a carving knife). What he is apparently too naïve to realize is that his “music” is contributing in its own small way to the rapid coarsening of the culture in which poor little Haillie is growing up. We surely err when we go too far to either extreme when assigning blame for the pitiful condition of our moral culture today: moral pygmies like Eminem and his ilk are not solely nor even mainly to blame. At the same time, we are foolish indeed to think that our young people can repeatedly pound this putrid garbage into their brains at 120 decibels and not be affected by it. A wise man said that the person one will be ten years hence will largely be determined by what one reads, what one listens to, and who one chooses to call one’s friends. The perverted poets of our generation like Eminem do have a significant place in shaping our culture. In helping to create a more violent, morally-twisted culture, Eminem is doing his young daughter no favors.

2. Those who would call themselves fans of this sicko, who would plunk down money to attend his concerts and scarf up his CD’s, are pretty twisted in their own thinking. The idea that this can be labeled “entertainment” is a perverted notion spawned by the idea that “art” is what we choose to call art (oh, and of course, we ought to fund all types of “art” with taxpayer dollars; the sicker the better, it would seem). Eminem is certainly a messed-up and yet at the same time pitiable creature; his legions of fans must be considered the same. His recording company, Interscope Records, prostitutes whatever moral decency it might have claimed for the sake of a buck. Parents who unwittingly allow their children to listen to this filth must get their heads in the game and realize that they can call the shots in their own homes and forbid listening to such junk. Parents who knowingly allow and approve of such music have abdicated any sense of moral responsibility for their children (and of course will react even still with shock when their kids screw up their lives).

3. The right way to deal with perversion such as this is not state-sponsored censorship—we don’t need the government acting as our mommas, remember. Instead, on a personal level, we refuse to be “entertained” by this and other filth. On a broader level, we suggest to those who make money off the misery spread by Eminem-types that we find their willingness to profit from such to be inexcusable, and we ask them to cease and desist. The constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech that Eminem enjoys along with the rest of us is not a constitutionally-guaranteed right for every retailer to carry his garbage, nor for every community to host his shows. Also, we as parents reclaim the prerogatives we have to exercise censorship within the context of our own homes and families, and instead of abdicating our roles as moral guardians of our children, we take threats such as Eminem seriously.

“When I say I’ll murder my baby’s mother, maybe I wanted to do it but I didn’t do it. Anybody who takes it literally is a bigger idiot and 10 times sicker than I am,” says the rapper. One can envision that tiny possibility, years in the future, when little Haillie, her father’s pride and joy, the one for whom he ostensibly is doing all he is doing, being unable to grasp that her dad was only kidding, finding herself enraged at her mother, and at the prompting of the music Daddy was producing “for her”, grabbing a sharp implement and doing Momma in. Far-fetched? Certainly. But stranger things have happened—including the labeling—by anyone—of Eminem’s “music” as “entertainment”.

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