Every Generation Gets the Vanilla Ice They Deserve

I have to admit that I like Eminem. I don't like his music and don't necessarily agree with whatever he's saying but he's good for the music industry in many ways. Detroit's Marshall Mathers or Slim Shady isn't doing anything drastically different than a prankster like Boyd Rice or Monte Cazazza did 20 years ago. He simply has a more easily digestible, world-accepted commercially viable medium to deliver the message. What is his message? Just like Boyd, Mathers provides a mirror on ourselves, showing how ugly we really can be - only if we actually take a step back and think about it. Slim Shady does this by openly blasting people in his music - like Britney Spears, N'Sync, his mother or gays, but at the end of his songs, he'll often toss in comments about how he's sort of playing around with your mind. So thus begins the controversy on how to interpret him - are we left to believe he means all those things? The weak minded individuals will become blind followers - much like those Nazi boys that show up at Death In June gigs! Mathers essentially is everything you make him out to be. I believe him to be a downright coward, as he comes off all tough but really he only picks on those that won't fight back, groups that don't threaten him. (I still haven't heard the word "nigger" in any of his songs yet.) Eminem also provides a great window on how racist the music industry and radio is, reflected simply by his popularity (and not dependent on his lyrical content). White rap singers get the airplay on the "alternative" stations, the "rock" stations as well as the "top 40" stations. Snow, Beastie Boys and Everlast have all achieved multi-platinum success when black artists were ignored. When was the last time you heard Ol' Dirty Bastard on your local commercial alterna radio outlet? Public Enemy only crossed over the line into mainstream success because they opened for Beastie Boys, RUN DMC crossed over because they had a hit with Aerosmith. Mathers shows us the world is truly an ugly, racist, sexist place and it's us who make it that way.