The real slim shady

Eminem The Real Slim Shady(Aftermath/Interscope)


The Real Slim Shady (Aftermath/Interscope)

Yes, yes, understood. He's playing a character. Durrrr. Hell, it's a concept even dolphins have worked out and let's face it, if you haven't grasped the theory of play-acting by the time you can sleep without the light on, then life is going to be horribly traumatic. Every episode of Brookside an emotional apocalypse. Visits to the cinema ending in tranquillisers and counselling. And as for relationships, Christ...

Thing is, Marshall Mathers really doesn't seem to be playing a character at all. Hasn't anyone thought that maybe his recent firearms-related court appearances might mean the fact/fiction division isn't quite as sturdy as his apologists make out? That although they trumpet his 'cleverness', he's only clever enough to cling to that ready-made, postmodern get-out clause? There's no genuine subversion, little real satire: homophobia and misogyny (yes, even when directed at Britney Spears) are only 'dangerous' if you're on the receiving end.

It sounds wonderful, of course: preposterous harpsichord skulk; groove cruising so low you're breathing the hot tar fumes and that rabbitty little runt, looking like he's been rescued from a life of unethical shampoo testing, coughing up the waste of a wicked imagination. But it's not enough - in this smirking climate of cheap outrage, he's getting away with the indefensible. And if anyone thinks that sounds like knit-your-own-Andrea-Dworkin worthiness, well fuck them. And fuck you, too.

See? A terrible example.

Victoria Segal

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