Hypocritical liberal rage strikes again over rapper

YOU'VE HEARD OF rap artist Eminem by now. You know him: the guy who raised all that ruckus with his latest album, which won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album of the Year and was nominated for Best Album of the Year. The one protesters call homophobic and misogynist. The one who - Gawd bless the boy - has aroused the ire of the self-righteous, knee-jerk, fascistic Thought Police on the left side of the political spectrum, most specifically the National Organization for Women and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Let's go back about 16 months. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to cut off funding for the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The bone of contention was an exhibit that featured sliced-up critters packed in formaldehyde and a portrait of the Virgin Mary by a man named Christopher Ofili that had animal dung and cut-out photos from pornographic magazines pasted on it. Ofili slapped that together and called it art.


Giuliani called it what it was: trash. He further said that taxpayers are not obligated to fund it. The press and leftists went after him with a vengeance, suggesting that Giuliani was a philistine with no real appreciation of art. One thing's for sure: None of the protesters holding anti-Eminem signs outside the Grammy Awards ceremony Wednesday night came to Giuliani's defense.

But, as the saying goes, what goes around comes around. This time, it's Eminem - with his anti-gay rap lyrics that also refer to violence against women - who claims his work is art. We heard not a peep from NOW and GLAAD when Giuliani was raked over the coals in the Ofili matter, but we can't shut them up about one Marshall Mathers III, aka Eminem, aka the Real Slim Shady.


"It's hurtful, it's embarrassing," Scott Seomin, GLAAD's entertainment media director, said in a Feb. 20 article in The Sun by Dan DeLuca about Eminem's Album of the Year nomination. Oh, boo hoo, Scott. You poor baby.

GLAAD's Romaine Patterson, quoted in the same article, said "[Eminem's] promoting his music to a target audience of primarily straight young men who are the same people who commit violent acts against gays and women."

There's no evidence that any of the 8 million people who bought "The Marshall Mathers LP," Eminem's Grammy-nominated piece, has committed violence against gays or women. But at least Seomin and Patterson now know how some African-Americans felt when the American Film Institute named "The Birth of a Nation" - that paean to the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, racism and bigotry - one of the country's 100 greatest films. The movie might not encourage skinhead or racist violence against blacks, such as the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas, but it doesn't discourage it, either. We haven't heard from the folks at GLAAD or NOW about this matter.

"The Marshall Mathers LP" is no more or less "dangerous" than "The Birth of a Nation." If black Americans have to put up with the latter, gays, lesbians and women should have to put up with the former. Artists should be free to have open season on everyone.

Is "The Marshall Mathers LP" art? Questionably, but it's at least as artistic as Ofili's contribution to the "Sensation" exhibit, and at least Mathers and his producer, rap artist Dr. Dre, foot their own bills. They produced the album, sold it and made money. Ofili and his defenders wanted taxpayers to fund his "art."

Is the Eminem album crude? For sure. Does he make stupid remarks about gays and women? Certainly. Therein lies the real enemy GLAAD and NOW face. Nothing is more certain in America than the fact that catering to the market in human stupidity is sure to make some folks a bundle of money. How else can we explain the popularity of a Marshall Mathers when rap groups or single acts that put out better and more profound work - Public Enemy, Arrested Development, Digable Planets - have faded into obscurity?

We explain it by noting that in the America of 2001, stupidity, vulgarity and obscenity sell. When a Marshall Mathers does it, GLAAD and NOW have fits of apoplexy and break out the protest signs and queue up in picket lines. When a Chris Ofili does it, GLAAD and NOW mumble not a word. Their message and revolting double standards are clear.

"What offends us is genuinely offensive," they're telling America. "What offends the rest of you is trivial."


What GLAAD, NOW and the rest of us need to understand is that in America, because of the broad interpretation of that First Amendment clause about freedom of speech, offense is practically a guarantee. If you don't protest when the artistic community proclaims open season on Catholics, as it seems to do all too frequently, then howls of dismay about an Eminem's anti-gay and misogynistic lyrics seem self-serving at best, hypocritical at worst. In the popular culture of modern America, all decent Americans - gay and nongay alike - will be offended at some point.