Thursday, October 21, 2004

I'm About To Just Fucking Lose It

I'm not sure if anyone has been following the flak around Eminem's new video for "Just Lose It", but basically it features Eminem dressed up as Michael Jackson and makes fun of the following aspects of Jackson's public persona:

-The time his hair caught on fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot
-The time he got a bunch of plastic surgery on his nose
-The time he fucked a bunch of kids at his house

In typical Eminem-related fashion, this video has caused a minor uproar in the hip-hop community, or at least in the mainstream media representation of the hip-hop community, because in reality I don't think that many people care. In fact, I think that a lot of the people who might actually be considered part of the hip-hop community think that Eminem is too goofy and mainstream-pop to take seriously anymore, as one listen to "Just Lose It", with its fart jokes and weird Pee-Wee Herman refrains, will demonstrate. The suburban white-boy teenage community is a whole other story. But, I stop digressing: BET has officially pulled the video from its rotation, and Source magazine has denounced Eminem and the video. Much of this is stemming from Jackson's own public outcries in which he calls the video blatantly racist. It seems that racism is the argument that BET and Source are also using to defend their positions.

What I'm confused about is their use of the term "racist". If by "racist" they mean "personally offensive and embarrassing to Michael Jackson" then I agree with their usage completely. But that is the only definition that seems to fit. One can call the subject material and images of the video offensive, distasteful, over-the-top, or cruel, but I'm really hard-pressed to find anything racist about it. Everyone knows it is Michael Jackson because Eminem wears that red-sequined jacket and white glove, and also everyone knows that Michael Jackson fucked kids in his house. I'm really not buying the argument that this is denigrating to an entire race and/or culture of people, nor do I think that even one single person made the tremendously long-legged intellectual leap that would be required to link some kind of retarded jab at Michael Jackson to a jab at anything other than Michael Jackson.

Now, if Eminem dressed up like Michael Jackson and then there was an equal sign and then a picture of a monkey and then another equal sign and a photo of, say, the Million Man March or perhaps the Montgomery Bus Boycott, then I would say "Bravo, BET, Bravo indeed. Boo Eminem. More totally not-racist reruns of Sanford and Son and The Jeffersons."

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