Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Eminem values

Oxblog has an interesting take on family values expressed by rappers, such as Eminem, and modern rock stars. Conservatives often profess distain for these performers because of explicit lyrics. Oxblog, along with Mary Eberstadt in Policy Review, offer another perspective.
Eberstadt never apologizes for the violence, misogyny, drug abuse and casual sex glorified by the lyrics of Eminem and others. But she points out that the rappers and heavy metal bands who revel in such behavior constantly insist that there is one reason and one reason alone why they are so maladjusted: because they didn't grow up in stable, two-parent homes.
OK, I'll buy that there is something to learn from all of this. However, I still don't want my kids listening to it until they can open up the lyrics and understand where these guys are coming from. I also don't want to have to repress the cussing and attitudes that come with teenage idol worship. Teens from two parent households don't understand that the reason these rappers talk and act the way they do is because of how they grew up, not because they are just being rebelious. The teens might pick up on the later part, but not the former.
The reference to the grunge movement of the 90s is also very instructive. Although I think that many kids, like myself (although I wasn't a kid) picked up on the music just because we liked the riffs, not because we identified with the singers (although it seems many did).
I don't know, I'm just ranting. I can't blame the rappers themselves. I can't even blame the record companies (ok, maybe I can a little), for this type of expression has a cause, and an audience. The real culpret is our loss of family values in this country.
My friend told me a story about his time in Germany recently. It seems there is a growing industry there: paternity testing. Studies show that 1 in 5 children in Germany don't have the biological father that they think they do.
Some German legislators have introduced bills to limit or eradicate these facilities saying that they are ruining German families (by resulting in divorces I would presume), but my friend rightly pointed out that it's not the paternity tests that are ruining German families.
It's not the rap music that's screwing up the lives of America's youth.

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