The Worst

[Content Note: Misogyny; homophobia; domestic violence.]

Eminem continues to be a terrible person:
In a new cypher in support of the upcoming Shady Records compilation Shady XV, Eminem freestyles that he would "punch Lana Del Rey," and then makes a simile comparing the brutality to the recent Ray Rice controversy.

...[T]he Lana Del Rey line comes less than a minute after a derogatory lyric about Anderson Cooper's sexuality. The full line about Del Rey is transcribed below:

But I may fight for gay rights, especially if they dyke is more of a knockout than Janay Rice/Play nice? Bitch I'll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight in the plain sight of the elevator surveillance/'Til her head is banging on the railing, then celebrate with the Ravens.

Eminem is referencing the February assault of Janay Rice by her then-fiancee, Ray Rice, a star running back of the Baltimore Ravens. Following the release of an elevator surveillance video of the assault by TMZ in September, Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

...Eminem is no stranger to taking potshots at female pop artists, having lyrically dismissed Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey many times over.
Misogyny in music has a long history—and categorically not one that is exclusive to rap music. Which is why Eminem has been pulling this kind of shit for years, and it hasn't hurt his career at all.

Let's be honest: If anything, talking/singing/rapping about harming women, especially if a man hides it behind a veneer of belligerent braggadocio and courageous "truth-telling," it only helps his career.

Hell, there have been plenty of male artists who have done more than talked/sang/rapped about harming women, who have actually harmed women, whose careers are just fine. They're heroes and gods.

How many among us have even heard the stories of male singers harming women, stories that get forgotten more quickly than they were ever in the news? How many of us have heard that rock idol Jimmy Page kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old girl, who he then essentially held hostage for three years to avoid prosecution? How many of us have heard that rock legend Chuck Berry was arrested for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines to rape her, and for videotaping a women's restroom? How many of us have heard that Tommy Lee severely beat his then-wife Pamela Anderson, which was only the most high profile of his multiple assaults on multiple women?

Eminem is not alone.

But Eminem always particularly infuriates me, because someone with such a vast talent for language using words to harm is utterly rage-making for me.

There is so much of which he's capable, so many directions in which he could use his truly enviable gift. All kinds of fucking privilege, that one, and instead of doing something productive with it, he chooses to wallow inside his own anger.

He could be a poet, and instead he settles for being a dog who's just discovered a puddle of rot.

An observation I make in order to make the point that misogyny, homophobia, hatred of any stripe is a choice. And he—and many other men in his industry—choose it again and again and again.

And we have a choice about whether we ignore it. I expect more.

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