Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thanks Eminem!


There was a huge concert last night on the Mall in Washington DC celebrating veterans. Hundreds of thousands of people were there and the event was live-streamed by HBO. Lots of famous singers and entertainers donated their time and talents. There was no charge for the concert. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately the only thing I see about the “Concert for Valor” this morning in my news feed involves the F-bomb laced performance by rapper Eminem, who opened his set with this classy gem, “Happy Mother-F***ing Veterans Day!”

A few observations…

This rapper has first amendment rights to free speech, rights that Veterans know a thing or two about defending. Veterans themselves are quite famous for their liberal use of profanity, the F-bomb in particular being a staple of boot camp and the battle field. I am no Puritan when it comes to colorful language, although I do think that excessive use of the profane in literature or music lyrics is mostly a linguistic crutch for the inarticulate. However, having said all of this, I feel a bit silly having to point out the fact that just because you have a first amendment right to use foul language doesn’t mean that you should. There’s a little thing called decorum, and well-mannered people for millennia have had enough of it to know the difference between language appropriate for a poker game, and a public concert to honor Veterans.
Increasingly, public manners seem to be going the way of the rotary phone. My opinion of rap music and rappers in general is well known to readers of this space, and this Eminem business does nothing to change my opinion of this wretched, cesspool of racists and misogynists. But it’s not just rappers who have poisoned the public well. Freedom doesn’t work without discipline. Free speech isn’t a license for brutishness. Thanks Eminem for making that so glaringly obvious.