Apr.-May '01 Articles:

Downed Animals: Diseased Food On Your Plate

Editorial: Drawing the Connections in Activism

Notes from the Cultural Wasteland IMPACT Column

Selling Out the Environment for Oil

The K Chronicles

(music reviews)

Sticking to Your Guns

The Muddlemarch: 1

The Muddlemarch: 2

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Sticking to Your Guns or How I Love Drinking Tea From the Pitcher

by Adam Finley
art/Marty Kelley

I've been trying to get my brain around Eminem, and I can't seem to do it. I hear his music, I listen to him rap, and I find myself completely overwhelmed with indifference, if in fact that's something you can be overwhelmed with.

People say his music is offensive to gays and women. If a gay, woman, or gay woman were offended by what Eminem says, then I would definitely give that merit, because if Eminem were to say, release an album in which he mocked my lifestyle, I wouldn't be too happy about it:

Adam drinks iced tea from the pitcher
Cause he's too lazy to wash a glass

The point of this article really has nothing to do with Eminem because, frankly, I don't really care about him, and I can't denounce what he does because it has zero effect on my non-dish washing lifestyle. I do, however, see a parallel between Eminem and myself.

I write reviews for an e-publishing company. This sounds fancy, but really I just make up goofy stuff and try to mention the product before the end of the review. While my sense of humor is always nonsensical, I don't think of myself as being above everyone else, or having a humorous gift that only a select few can grasp. That seems to be the case, though, sometimes.

I get about ten emails a week from people who don't "get" what I'm saying. When I wrote in one review that Beethoven died 2,000 years ago, I was making fun of myself by pointing out that I had no clue when Beethoven died.

The next day, six people wrote and told me the exact date of Beethovenšs death. One person even told me it was a stupid mistake.

My reaction was twofold: I was amused that they didn't know I was making a joke, and slightly bothered by the fact that some people believed I thought Beethoven was born over 2,000 years ago.

Rather than write to everyone and try to explain myself, I filled the entire next issue with "factoids" about Beethoven, complete with made-up quotes and a snippet about this great pianist inventing the sand wedge.

That was my response, but it made me wonder what would have happened had other, more important people taken advice from every yahoo who ventured an opinion:

Martin Luther King: I have a dream...

Man in crowd: You had a dream?

MLK: No, I said I HAVE a dream.

Man: So you didn't actually have a dream.

MLK: No, it's a figure of speech. I mean I have a hope for the future.

Man: Well, you should probably just say that so we know what you mean.

MLK: I'm the leader of the civil rights movement. I think I know how to deliver a speech.

Man: Well don't come crying to me when everybody keeps asking you what this "dream" is all about.

You put your head down, do what you know how to do, and accept the fact that some folks will get it and others won't. Martin Luther King knew it, Eminem knows it, Oscar Wilde knew it, Gandhi knew it, Hunter S. Thompson knows it, and John Lennon knew it. Anyone who has done anything worthwhile with his/her talent, at whatever magnitude, knows this.

So whether or not Eminem is a misogynistic, homophobic hate-monger is for you to decide. But you've got to respect a guy who sticks to his guns. I'm sure Beethoven would agree, if he hadn't been trampled by a horse all those years ago.

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Other articles by Adam Finley: