THE MERCHANTS OF COOL
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eminem's grammys - should he have won?

There's several different levels to Devil worshippin: horse's heads, human sacrifices, canibalism; candles and exorcism Animals havin sex with 'em; camels mammals and rabbits But I don't get into that, I kick the habit - I just, beat you to death with weapons that eat through the flesh And I never eat you unless the fuckin, meat looks fresh A theme in FRONTLINE's "The Merchants of Cool" is how marketers of teen culture are promoting certain artists whose music and imagery are very disturbing in their anti-social behavior and attitudes.

Currently no music star is more denounced for this than Eminem, a white rapper and hugely successful mainstream artist whose lyrics vulgarly denigrate women and gays and celebrate violence.

Eminem was the big story at the February 2001 Grammy Awards. Nominated for four Grammys, he won three. For Eminem's supporters, a large part of his appeal lies in his sarcasm and blurring of truth and fiction; it's difficult to discern his real intent from his jester-like, acerbic wit and the multiple personas he adopts. On the day of the Grammy event, music critic Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times: "Unlike many of his detractors, Eminem regularly makes a distinction between words and action....Meanwhile, the music connotes comedy: bouncy keyboard lines, whiz-crunch sound effects. Eminem leaves it to listeners to separate his Grand Guignol humor from his position statements, and so far, the fans may be better literary analysts than the horrified adults...." And Michael Greene, the head of NARAS, the organization bestowing the Grammy Awards, and Jimmy Iovine, head of Eminem's label, Interscope Records, feel Eminem represents today's voice of rebellion and thus is similar to gifted rebels of previous eras.

But Salon's Eric Boehlert takes on the music critics who celebrate Eminem's work,and Boehlert's critique includes several excerpts from Eminem's lyrics which illustrate why so many condemn the artist. If you want to explore more about the debate, here are some other articles:

arrowGLAAD, Eminem and the Grammy Nominations

A summary of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's opposition to Eminem's nomination, including more examples of Eminem's lyrics.

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