Liberals would like the Real Slim Shady to please sit down. After spitting a free style sonnet roasting Caitlyn Jenner, Eminem has stoked the indignant outrage of the Left. And while the track is probably worth skipping, its significance is worth noting: once the bane of social conservatives, the rapper now finds himself on their side opposing a new Moral Majority. It seems the Culture War makes unusual allies.
Over Sirius Satellite radio last Thursday, Eminem extolled his own cisgendered identity while offering a rather rude heteronormative interpretation of Caitlyn Jenner’s gender. Or in not so many esoteric terms, the Detroit rapper called Jenner a wimp in the worst way possible.
“I invented prick, and that’s a true statement, I see the b— in you, Caitlyn. I keep the pistol tucked like Bruce Jenner’s d—,” he rapped. Then with the next breath he added, “No disrespect though, not at all, no pun intended, that took a lot of balls.”
Jenner wasn’t alone. In all, two-dozen prominent celebrities like Bill Cosby and politicians like Hillary Clinton weather his withering criticism.
You Don’ Have To Listen To Eminem (Your Probably Shouldn’t). But You Can’t Dismiss Him
Crass and rude, the ballad is purposely offensive. But that’s not the cause of the trending moral outrage sweeping the Internet. The Left doesn’t object to Eminem’s vulgar imagery. They oppose the content of the insult. Forget that biology upholds the bulk of his criticism and that decent society should condemn his vulgar language. No, Mr. Marshall Mathers must repent for daring to offend a special and privileged class.
— MTV UK (@MTVUK) July 24, 2015
More firebrand than philosopher, Eminem has built a career on lyrically complex burns and politically incorrect slanders. Making taboo his trademark, Eminem continually courts controversy. He’s lampooned athletes, celebrities, politicians, and even presidents—in 2003, the Secret Service opened an investigation into a song containing a veiled threat against George W. Bush.
Wearing Tipper Gore’s Parental Advisory label like a badge of honor, the self-proclaimed “Rap God” pushes questionable lyrics about sex, drugs, and socio-economic disparity. Over the radio, he’s a violent and misogynistic drug addict. In real life, he’s wildly successful. And he’s anything but a social conservative.
Eminem really is a disgusting human being. Homophobic, anti-feminist, racist and now transphobic lyrics. Good job. pic.twitter.com/ypRESML19b
— Shady Music Facts (@musicnews_shade) July 23, 2015
The Left and Right can dislike and condemn him together. They just can’t dismiss him. Since dropping his first LP, Eminem has released several multi-platinum albums, won multiple Grammy Awards, and even snagged an Oscar. That underground clip where he criticizes Jenner already has 3 million views on YouTube—a tiny fraction of the millions more his mainstream songs pull down.
An Unwitting Rebel In Search of A Cause
There’s a reason Rolling Stone rightly calls Eminem “the King of Hip-Hop.” With the largest vocabulary erected on over eight thousand unique words, the artist is the best and most successful in the industry. No matter how crude, his criticism shouldn’t be taken lightly.
As obnoxious as he is unlikely, Eminem makes an odd gadfly. At an important turning point, the rapper stands as the vanguard of an emerging counter-culture—whether he knows it or not. Once an opponent of the religious right, he’s now juxtaposed 180 degrees against the left’s new moralism. That Eminem finds himself in the same foxhole as social conservatives says more about current circumstance than anything else.
A linguistic genius capable of throwing lyrical bombs through bars of rhyme, Eminem could care less about the metaphysical underpinnings of a natural law view of marriage. He’s not up late wondering about the state’s role in regulating the institution. Instead the boorish bard’s probably just looking for the biggest fight he can find. He’s doing what punks always do—he’s sticking it to the Man (or however that power chooses to self-identify today).
Eminem’s Free-Style Says More About the Overreach of the New Moral Majority
Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, LGBT culture warriors have already started to overreach. Demanding that every knee bow in acceptance of their view, the new Moral Majority has bankrupted small-town bakeries and humbled big-name comedians.
Looking for a cause, counter-culture rebels like Eminem have found one in the incessant bullying of the left. And while conservatives in search of an anthem ought to look elsewhere, it’s worth noting that society’s turntables may have started spinning in a new direction.