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How The Media Uses Eminem As A Scapegoat

Updated on December 17, 2016
social thoughts profile image

I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I've been a Goth since age fourteen, and a Pagan since age fifteen.

Cover art for the album Role Model (song) by Eminem.
Cover art for the album Role Model (song) by Eminem. | Source

In November 2014, Lauren Duca published an article on The Huffington Post entitled "Has Eminem's Misogyny Finally Become Unacceptable?" Reading it made me wonder if this author has ever taken the time to research Eminem or if she is going off opinions alone; especially, the ones of those who also never bothered to research their favorite enemy, Eminem. Why does the media spend so much energy on musicians, and other outlets of entertainment, when they should be writing on the important real life violence of war around the world?

"Scapegoating (from the verb "to scapegoat") is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat." [Source: Wikipedia]

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Eminem aka Marshall Mathers is a popular rapper who began his fame in the 1990s. His alter-ego Slim Shady is a persona he uses to feel free to write any offensive idea that pops into his mind. This alter-ego is the same everyone has inside them. It doesn't mean we really want bad things to happen or we would genuinely kill someone. They are the times we feel out of control.

Eminem chooses controversial lyrics to shock people, which of course once you know that's the point of his lyrics it is no longer shocking. He enjoys pushing people's buttons. He writes both to get a rise out of his listeners, and about people's responses to his intentionally uncomfortable lyrics; however, he has had enough of people taking his Slim Shady inspired lyrics to be a representation of who he is as a person.

On The Marshall Mathers LP, the song "Stan" is a message for his intense fans to be careful when interpreting his lyrics. "Stan" is a fictionalized version of his number one fan who continues to reach out to Eminem through letters that are never delivered. Stan becomes more angry and dangerous the longer he doesn't receive a reply. By the time Eminem begins writing him back, Stan has killed himself and his pregnant girlfriend.

The song uses part of Dido's track "Thank You." Before officially adding it to the record, Eminem sent a copy to her, asking permission. When she heard it, she loved it, and was featured in the video. This made the song a duet-style like the ones he has done with fellow Hip Hop artists.

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Eminem has said in many interviews that the word "faggot" was frequently used by everyone when he was growing up. It would be one thing if he used homophobic slurs in both his music and his personal life, but he has shown he is neither homophobic nor against any particular types of people. Furthermore, if any of his fans have been against gay people, he declared his support of the LGBT community through his performance of "Stan" with the openly gay Elton John at the Grammy's in 2001. Elton sang Dido's part of the track. At the end of the performance, they hugged. He and Eminem have been close friends, ever since.

Taking into consideration Eminem's portrayal of his crazy fans as well as his support of Elton John, what more can be said to convince people that there is a difference between fictional art and Eminem's beliefs about people? In an interview with The New York Times he agreed that gay couples should have the right to marry if they love each other. Of course, typical Eminem, he added the joke that it was because everyone deserves to be equally miserable:

"I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want."

Eminem, New York Times

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What seems to be the most popular Eminem quote, passed around on the Internet, admits he is unconcerned with one's social labels, but rather only how people treat him: "I don't care if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Simple as that.” Does this quote sound like someone who genuinely wishes to attack any specific group?

"I don't have any problem with nobody."

Eminem, 60 Minutes

On his album The Eminem Show, the track "Sing for the Moment" confronts those who refuse to take his lyrics figuratively. Since he became famous, he has openly admitted that while his music is not for children, he is not responsible for the children around the world who may hear it. He can only take responsibility for his own children, and he always has. He kept his daughter, Hailie, away from the recording studio and his albums when she was younger. In an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, he expressed that profanity is not allowed in his own house. Meanwhile, he has to constantly disprove what the media thinks of him.

Manson logo 95. 20 February 2013
Manson logo 95. 20 February 2013 | Source

Have you seen "Bowling for Columbine?"

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In the track "The Way I Am" Eminem brings up the Columbine High School shooting, and how Marilyn Manson was blamed for the event. Eminem can relate because the authorities also blame him for being unafraid to verbalize why bad things happen. In the Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine Marilyn Manson discusses the hypocrisy of the media's choice to show the school shooting instead of the high mortality bombing on the same day. Together, Eminem and Marilyn Manson take a stand against the media's preference to focus on entertainment as the source of negativity in society, but ignore their own cameras which show real life war occurring all over the world.

Do you agree with Manson and Eminem that the media targets entertainment to distract from real problems?

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Why are musicians attacked more easily than any other type of artist? Imagine if the same outrage over Marilyn Manson and Eminem was the response to Steven King's first published novel Carrie. It would make sense, right? Headlines would read: "Psychotic Author Encourages High School Misfits to Murder Entire Class." I'm not saying it doesn't happen to authors—Anne Rice has had several critics of her own who will never admit she writes fiction. Perhaps, the fact people respond more often to music is because of our lazy generation that prefers a short song to a long book.

What may be the worst part about attacking Eminem, today, is the fact he has changed. His music is not only about his anger. Now, he has rapped about the journey he took to overcome drug addiction. On his album Recovery the single "Not Afraid" is about offering his own help to others dealing with the same issues; therefore, to still see people trying to point out what they think he is doing wrong should be seen as worse than when he first became famous. If they didn't comprehend when his songs were not meant to be taken literally, they should understand the songs that are clearly sharing powerful uplifting messages that help.

Are we done singling out Eminem, yet?

© 2015 social thoughts

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  • social thoughts profile image
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    social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

    Learning to accept that some people are just like that will probably be a lifelong struggle for me. I'd rather hang with people like you, too! Thank you!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I've been a big fan of the shock factor since the days of Lenny Bruce. There will always be a segment of society that recoils from those who wish to shock us into reality. There is no changing that segment of society...they are mired in their antiquated beliefs and forever will be. So be it. I don't need to have them in my life. :) I'll hang with people like you any old day.