A couple weeks ago I downloaded the new Eminem album, Recovery. I’m not normally a big rap fan, mostly because it’s too hard for me to understand the lyrics and when I do it’s rarely about anything that really stimulates my intellect. The new Eminem, however, has strangely touched me. His music seems to say more than just “Look at me; I’m a rap star with lots of money.”
The song on the album that I particularly enjoy, and which brings a tear to my eye, is called, Love the Way You Lie, which depicts an obsessive, abusive relationship. The song is what many, including myself, would describe as “sick and twisted”, but today I actually heard it on the radio and despite the fact that they cut out all the swearing, I was still surprised that such a graphic depiction of violence and the emotions leading to violence would be played on the radio. I still find it amazing that censorship is still mostly about individual words and not about the concepts being communicated.
Some people look past Eminem’s swearing to see the deeper offensiveness and want him entirely censored, or at least want people to stop buying his albums because of the twisted ideas that he depicts.
But I feel like artistic endeavors like Eminem’s have notable benefits to society that many people don’t recognize or appreciate. With a song like Love the Way You Lie, while it doesn’t offer any kind of solutions to the problem of obsessive/abusive relationships, the song does something that psychologists researching these kinds of relationships could never do. It helps people to really feel what it’s like to be an abusive, raging psycho.
As much as I support the science of psychology and all it’s doing to help society grow and improve, all the cause and effect analyzations, statistics and logical understanding just can’t make someone understand the phenomenon of wanting to kill your girlfriend.
So I believe that artistic endeavors such as Eminem’s may be really helping to reduce these kind of social problems. The psychologists can give us logical explanations and strategies to solve the problem, but people like Eminem put a human face on it, and hopefully, help give people a reason to want change.
This is why the most offensive pieces of art are the ones that should be most vehemently protected.