Is Eminem An Idiot?

Kurt Nimmo

In a recent article on the Wall Of Sound website, the white rapper Eminem lashed out with a flurry of expletives at Napster and free music file traders. "I think that shit is fucking bullshit," he explained with an obvious command of language. "Whoever put my shit on the Internet, I want to meet that motherfucker and beat the shit out of him, because I picture this scrawny little dickhead going, 'I got Eminem's new CD! I got Eminem's new CD! I'm going to put it on the Internet.' I think that anybody who tries to make excuses for that shit is a fucking bitch." Forget the eloquent prose of lawyers or the circumlocution of webzine editors and writers – Eminem will explain how it feels to be raped by thousands of MP trading college students in good old fashion foul invective, the sort of street language that bolsters his bad boy rapper image – and sells CDs like hotcakes.

So, Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers, no relation to Jerry Mathers) would like to assault MP3 trading minors. Maybe he should visit colleges around the nation and challenge entire dormitories to fist fights. Or he could storm university IT departments and begin yanking Ethernet cable out of ceilings and from under floorboards, maybe even trash a few servers. He has the right, you know, because all of these "bitches" who are stealing from him. As for anybody who may offer a reasoned argument explaining how the RIAA and copyright law is unfair – even unconstitutional – Eminem believes they are simply copulating female dogs. Who needs Lars Ulrich to defend the monopoly on recorded music when we have Eminem?

I can’t think of a better representative for the recording industry. No doubt the industry did not tell Mr. Mathers to cuss like a steel worker. Remember that the industry and the RIAA believe in free speech – so long as it sells CDs, of course – and Mathers is only reacting to those selfish MP3 trading brats out there who would impoverish him and send him packing back to the trailer park where he grew up. Never mind that, if the sales of his CDs were to suddenly plunge, he would be sent back there by the very recording cartel he defends with such colorful language. Oh, never mind.

It would do Eminem good to take a moment and listen to Courtney Love. Just the other day she shocked the industry and the media in a press conference. "How is Napster hurting the record business?" she asked. "A CD has much higher fidelity, liner notes, graphics. It's not going to be threatened by a cruddy MP3 file." She told the gathered throng something downright heretical – Napster and MP3s allow artists to reach their audiences directly without the expensive trappings of the music industry. In fact, she went off on her own and founded a website. Courtney Love is dealing directly with her fans. She does not need the industry, thank you very much.

Love did not have good words for the industry. You would expect a celebrity of Love’s caliber to be rolling in the dough – but she isn’t. "I'm not as rich as some of the people in this room," she said, glaring at a few industry types. Her income allows her to live a comfortable middle class life. Courtney Love knows she is extremely lucky – other artists receive little or no compensation for their hard work, not after they pay off the labels for promotion and recording expenses. It’s a swindle and Love knows it.

Eminem again:

"That Napster shit," he fumed, "if that gets any bigger, it could kill the whole purpose of making music. It's not just about the money... It's the thrill of going to the store; you can't wait till that artist's release date, taking the wrapper off the CD and putting the CD in to see what it sounds like. The Internet is taking the whole fucking thrill away from that."

Napster and the Internet will kill the whole purpose of making music? I was under the impression that the primary reason for making music is artistic expression – the recording contracts, bank accounts, and rancorous media interviews are secondary. If Mr. Mathers suddenly fell from grace with the industry, would he stop making music? I sincerely doubt it.

Sadly, Mathers apparently believes his fans deserve to be locked into a narrow distribution channel – retail CDs sold in stores. For him, the idea of Internet-based distribution is nonsense because there are no physical CDs with shrink-wrap – or $18 price tags. For Mathers, a fan on the Internet is a "scrawny little dickhead" who sorely needs his lights punched out for even suggesting distribution models other than the one owned and operated by the recording industry and defended by unending lawsuits initiated by the RIAA and wealthy musicians.

Is Eminem an idiot? No, probably not – he was intelligent enough to crawl up the corporate ladder and gain the success of double-platinum. Yet his mindless diatribe against Internet-savvy fans reeks not only of ignorance – in favor of a visceral and violent response – but also reveals his apparent brainwashing at the hands of the industry. It probably helps that he is with Aftermath Entertainment. The president of Aftermath is Dr. Dre, the eminent anti-Napster litigant. Considering this, it makes sense that Eminem wants to deck fans who are asking for his music in venues outside of the one sanctioned by the recording industry. Cursing and threats of violence serve his tough white boy image well. Maybe it will sell a few more CDs.

Will Eminem go after Courtney Love? Or is he more comfortable threatening the likes of underweight teenage geeks? Certainly, he would suffer little challenge from the latter.

No doubt Courtney would kick his ass.

Kurt Nimmo

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