October 14, 2004

Also, I think John Kerry name checked him during the debate

Back in April when Eminem fronted the dreadful D12 single My Band, I endorsed the theory that he was morphing into Weird Al Yankovic. At first blush, the video for Just Lose It would seem to confirm this. I mean, I was suspicious from the moment I heard about Michael Jackson flipping out. Making fun of Michael Jackson is so 80s. And indeed, the video itself is like an episode of I Hate The 80s, with all the Madonna and MC Hammer cameos.

But I think all the celebrity shennanigans in the video -- and Jackson's complaint -- have obscured what's really fascinating about the song: It's totally gay. And I don't mean that the way the kids today do. I mean it in the sense of being about having sex with other men.

Em has been flirting with this for years now. Back when the masterful Marshall Mathers LP came out, I used to get into discussions with people (who inevitably had never listened to the album) who were convinced that Eminem was homophobic. No, I would say, Eminem is exploring homophobia as a subject in his songs -- and not in the facile Axl Rose I'm just playing a character way -- but in the sense that Eminem was wrestling with homophobia in the archaic sense of the word -- not hatred of gay people but the fear of homosexual feelings in oneself. And I argued that the artist was more self aware than his narrator was, because after all, men who are genuinely homophobic may think about being the object of other men's fantasies, but they rarely turn those thoughts into tracks on multiplatinum CDs. I think the very fact that he made his feelings public, however obviously distasteful they were/once had been to him, indicates that he was getting comfortable with them, and recognized that they were important enough to work out in song. The delirious schizophrenia of the MMLP was partly driven by Em's conflicting feelings about his sexuality, and, of course, his awareness of other people's reactions to his willingness to discuss this conflict. ("Got a new blow-up doll and just had a strap-on added. Whoops! Is that a subliminal hint? No!" Yeah, no as in it's not subliminal).

With the Eminem Show, Marshall spent less time exploring his own psyche, which is part of what made it a disappointment, but he did return to this subject with an increasing sense of humor. ("I'm out the closet, I been lyin' my ass off. All this time, me and Dre been fuckin' with hats off.")

And now comes Just Lose It, with its refrain of "Yeah boy shake that ass. Oops, I mean girl. Girl girl girl" (eventually becoming "Ooh boy just touch my body") and the scene of "accidentally" hitting on Dre in a bar.

In Entertainment Weekly recently, Neil Drumming wrote that the jokey rhymes in Just Lose It are so purile and uninspired that the whole thing is a red herring "meant to misdirect the media" from the forthcoming album's rumored political bent. That would be great if it's true, but I'm not sure this single isn't just a bit subversive itself.

Plus, it's got a good beat, and you can dance to it.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Otherwise, great!
And tee hee!

Did you just out Eminem?! Well, that would explain so much...I think he should embrace it, get in touch with his inner gayness, get a tank top, a fabulous dye-job, hmmm...

Peter -- if what you're trying to say is "duh," well, I guess you have a point. It's not like Em's homoeroticism has ever been too difficult to decode. Even though it's funny how rarely it's discussed.

But perhaps I should make clear that I doubt Eminem (or Marshall Mathers, I should say) is gay in real life, though it wouldn't shock me if 10 years from now he owns up to a few M2M experiences. My point is that he uses his music to deal with his complicated sexual feelings in a way that I find open and refreshing, not to mention funny.

I was just being an ass... what's great about your story is the way you point it out... and i agree 100%

I don't know if you've heard any of ICP's "underground" material on this subject, but it's among the very small amount of their material that's intentionally funny.

As you probably know (since they're in your blogroll) VH1's Best Week Ever did a segment on Eminem becoming Weird Al, so either your great minds are thinking alike, or someone's calling a creative property lawyer.

Haven't seen the video yet, but if it is Totally Gay, VH1 will do a special about it.

Just the two cents of a Jewish white female who thinks Em's self-referential comedy and complex rhyming may border on genius.

>someone's calling a creative property lawyer.

Yeah: Weird Al

With you on the overall assessment of Eminem. Here's hoping the new album lives up to our hopes.

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