by John Hawkins | August 29, 2002 7:14 pm
For Once, It’s Not Eminem’s Fault: Annoying rapper Eminem is being blamed because some twelve-year-old deviant molested a nine-year-old…
“Earlier, the jury was played a recording of the Eminem track, Ken Kaniff (skit), after William Baker, prosecuting, said: “One possibility is that the 12-year-old boy [now 13] in adolescence heard the track and thought it would be a good idea to make someone do that to him.”
Judge Barry Woodward, who listened to the track with the jury, described it as “quite disgusting”. Afterwards the victim’s mother said: “My son likes Eminem but I have only let him listen to tracks that make the charts. When they played that awful song in the courtroom I felt sick.”
Now the song they’re referencing is certainly repulsive (here are the lyrics but keep in mind they are disgusting), but no one molests another human being because of what they heard in a song.
I can tell you this from personal experience because I spent my formative teenage years listening to NWA, The Geto Boys, Luke Skywalker and the Two Live Crew, and anything else I could find that had an explicit lyrics sticker on it. Now if RAP music were all that influential, I’d be slanging crack on a street corner and pimpin’ hos in my spare time instead of listening to Rush Limbaugh and blogging about why we need to blow the holy bejesus out of Saddam Hussein. Of course, I can’t say that the music had no effect on me because while I was in college I had a disturbing tendency to curse so much that I actually once dropped the “F-bomb” in front of a friend’s mom without even noticing it. Eventually, I figured out that all the bad language wasn’t appropriate and cut it down to a minimum. So much for the ‘bad influence’.
The same general principles can be applied to video games, wrestling, movies, pornography, and television as well. Yes, they certainly do influence people (businesses aren’t buying ads for nothing.) But in the long run, all of these things are fairly minor influences compared to other factors. So is it possible I might see a shirt on TV and decide to buy that shirt instead of another one? Sure. On the other hand, am I going to blow my brains out tomorrow if I hear Eminem talk about it in a song tonight? No. Could a disturbed person who was thinking about killing themselves be pushed over the edge? Maybe, but having a bad day at work might do it as well. The problem isn’t the song, it’s them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people criticizing or even boycotting companies that they feel promote artists they feel are “bad influences” (unless they’re blackmailing them for cash — yes Jesse I’m talking to you). But, I do draw the line at blaming Eminem because some twisted thirteen-year-old kid has already turned into a monster.
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