Monday, October 18, 2010

Eminem: The Conversation Continues

The first time I watched the Eminem/Rihanna duet, “Love the Way You Lie,” I was bawling so hard I couldn’t breathe. Heck, I can’t even hear the song in a restaurant or bar without either tearing up or just getting the hell out of dodge.  I resent the fact that it’s such a popular single, and that I have to hear a song about domestic abuse when I’m just trying to get a bagel.
The song has done its job.
I found myself thinking of this video because one of my favorite bloggers, Tom Matlack, waxed poetic about how Eminem sounds like “raw unfiltered manhood” to him.
Now, Tom—I love you. I love GMPM. But when I hear Eminem, I hear (along with unbelievable talent and occasional humor) hate and rage. That’s why the song is so effective. Perhaps what you’re trying to tell me, by equating Eminem’s hate and rage with “manhood,” is that every man is suppressing hate and rage.
Sure, that’s probably true—most of us are suppressing hate and rage, but I don’t know very many women who would express it the way Eminem expresses it (then again I don’t know very many men who would either). But you go on to celebrate how “It’s about the fundamental disconnect between a man and a woman: about the way we lie to each other.”
Is it? Really? Because in “Love the Way You Lie,” as you so eloquently point out, the lie is that “this time will be different” when it comes to beating up your girlfriend. Is that really fundamental? I’m skeptical of any claim of a “fundamental disconnect” between men and women, as that assumes that there is some essence of men and some essence of women that are at odds with each other, and that lead to some universal disconnect.
That’s bullshit; most of our disconnects are socialized. But, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that there is such thing as a fundamental disconnect between a man and a woman. Is it really outlined in this song? Are all men and women in coupledom together going through some version of this relationship?
My guess is no. But, the song also wouldn’t affect me so deeply if I couldn’t relate to it somehow. No, I’ve never been in a domestic abuse situation. But I think most of us know what it’s like to promise, or have someone else promise, to change. And then not change. Or not change enough.
I think most of us know what it’s like to get mad and act on it, and to have someone get mad right back. I’m pretty sure that’s universal.
So perhaps there is some universality here. Some fundamental something. Just not in the way that Tom meant it.
Some people have accused the video of glorifying domestic abuse. What’s glorified about it? Because it shows that people in abusive relationships have sex? Because it acknowledges that abusers do something besides abuse? Because the people in the relationship are good-looking and well-lit? Please.
If that’s “glorifying,” then any honest discussion of domestic violence will “glorify” it to a degree, because the very problem is that abusers don’t act like abusers 24/7 – they have good days like anyone else, which from what I understand is often the whole draw for their partners sticking through the abuse in the first place.
The most important thing is to discourage domestic violence. If this video in any way counteracts that, then yes, we should be concerned. But I’m not so sure that’s the case. After watching this video for the first time, sobbing uncontrollably, I didn’t feel turned on or excited by the sexuality. I felt terror, rage—”oh fuck, it happened again.” That’s not a sexy feeling. It’s awful.
What do people think? Does it glorify? Is it pure raw manhood? Something else?
Mariah MacCarthy is a playwright. This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on her blog, A Rehearsal Room of One’s Own.
Tom Matlack Responds:
Thank you for your amazingly thought-provoking piece. I think we agree on more than you think. Let me try to explain, in light of your piece, a bit more about why I am moved by this song.
You are right that there is no universal essence of manhood or coupledom. I have only my own experience—as do all the contributors to GMPM, male and female.
In my own experience, as a recovering addict, I know all about making promises that are not kept. At the core of addiction is promising to change and being unable to. This applies to putting down the drink, in my case, but on a much deeper level to telling the truth about myself and being willing to try change those patterns of behavior which don’t serve me and my loved ones.
The crux of “recovery,” which happens to be the name of Eminem’s album, from which this song is taken, is the part where you have figured out all the shit you do wrong and you stand before God  (as you understand him/her/it) and ask for assistance to change. My motivation to find goodness in myself, and inspire others to try to do the same, comes from that moment of humility in my own life, and the powerful results it has had to make me a better father, husband, and man.
To me, goodness comes down to telling the truth. When I think about the things I have done most wrong in my life, the times when I have hurt people I love , it comes down to being a liar and a cheat. And yes, I am talking about my inability to love in an honest way.
Eminem hasn’t been a role model; that’s what he is talking about here, too—his own understanding of the need to get honest with himself if he is going to get anywhere. And he is holding up the mirror for the rest of us guys to look at: what lie are you still telling yourself?
Rihanna is also singing about her own struggles here, about what it is to be lied to, about being stuck in a destructive connection to someone who is lying to themselves, and to her, about changing—about the gut-wrenching pain of loving and hating at the same time. It is about her decisive moment too, about getting honest with herself about what is really going on in her life.
The only way she can sing a song explicitly about her abuse is if she sees it for what it really is and is been able to move onto a better place. That is what I find the most moving—an abused woman singing with courage about what it was like to love the lie that was being told to her, and allowing us all into that world to see the pain it caused.
Read Tom’s original column here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eminem to be playing a role in upcoming movie..

..Other than an amusing cameo in Judd Apatow's 'Funny People' and a recent Vinny Chase punch-out on 'Entourage,' Eminem has shied away from the acting world since his turn in 2002's '8 Mile.' That looks like it's about to change, though. With Em's return to musical dominance complete, the Detroit rapper is reportedly eying an upcoming Rachel Weisz film for his Hollywood comeback. Production Weekly, a Hollywood trade publication, used Twitter to break news of talks between Eminem and the studios about a role in the upcoming "sex-themed drama," which is entitled '360.' Producers have already signed contracts with Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins to play parts in the Fernando Meirelles-directed picture. Frances McDormand, the actress that won the 1996 Best Actress Oscar for her role in 'Fargo,' is also rumored to be in talks for a starring role. It's unknown what specific part Eminem would play in the film, but the screenplay is inspired by an Arthur Schnitzler play entitled 'Reign' that features multiple short scenes depicting couples either before or after a sexual encounter. Notably, Production Weekly removed the tweet from its account after blogs and news outlets began reporting on the news. This means that the publication either leaked information prematurely or didn't have substantial proof that the news was true and decided to back pedal.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eminem's EPIC Epicenter Performance

Eminem was among performers at Epicenter Twenty Ten festival in Fontana, California over the weekend. Performing on Saturday night, September 25, the rapper made a dramatic entry on the stage with a Star Wars-type script scrolled across a space-themed giant screen to narrate his journey which led to his "Recovery".

"In 2005, after completing a U.S. tour, Eminem stopped performing. Eminem entered rehab, a European tour was canceled and there were rumors that he was retiring. Over the following years, Eminem appeared to be detached and unfocused. Seldom did he return to perform live. Tonight Eminem return to the stage. You are all hear to witness Eminem's Recovery," the message read.

The Slim Shady then shouted his triumphant return, "I'm back, man. You miss me? I missed y'all." Representing his more-than-a-decade journey in music, he kept his song selection diverse, rapping his classic hits like "Cleaning Out My Closet" to newer material like Lil Wayne-assisted "No Love".

Other performers that night included D12 who managed to share stage with Eminem in some songs, House of Pain, DMX, Bush and KISS. The second and final day of the gig, meanwhile, saw Blink-182, Rise Against, Bad Religion and Against Me! performing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

thanks everyone! (quick update)

Hello everyone, I'm in a hurry to update the blog with a post (I'm doing this via sms text :p ) I'd like to thank everyone for the success this blog has had in such short time. Please check out the new tabs at the top. There's some very interesting stuff there (shirts, hoodies, cd, etc) thank you all and look forward to more updates!

When I'm Gone - Review/MP3

When I'm gone is about Eminem's career's effect on his relationship with his wife Kim. It talks about him not being there for his daughter, Hailie, and (in a sort of metaphoric "dream") Hailie confronts him at a concert in Sweden and demands to know why he was so cruel towards Kim (his ex-wife). She ends the confrontation by telling Eminem that he loves his fame, career, and fans more than his own family. After she leaves, Eminem turns around and sees a gun. He picks it up, screams "Die Shady!" and shoots his Slim Shady alter-ego. After that, he wakes up, realizing that it was only a dream. It's spring, Hailie's playing in the yard, and he kisses Kim. The music video was directed by Anthony Mandler.
Furthermore, this is a continuation of Marshall's difficulty coping with fame and his dark alter ego, Slim Shady ("When I'm gone just carry on, don't mourn"). "When I'm Gone" is a progression of this dilemma: where does Marshall end, and Shady begin? Who is the dominant alter ego and how does this figure into Eminem the artist and family man? The end of Eminem's dream where Shady shoots himself is similar to the ending of the song "Encore/Curtains Down" off of his album Encore, in which Shady leaves the stage but then comes back, shoots the crowd and then points the gun at his brain and shoots himself (in the clean version the song fades out before the shooting segment begins).

This is one of my all time favorite Eminem songs. This track is so powerful and moving. I can really relate to it. What do you think about the song?
Listen/Download here:
Right click > Save as..