- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2001

Eminem family values

"Meet the Detroit hip-hop sensation born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, aka Slim Shady, but best known as Eminem… . Kids worship Eminem… . They dress like him, walk like him, talk like him, cuss like him and stick their middle fingers in the air like him… .
"Marshall Mathers … was born 27 years ago in western Missouri. Mother Debbie was 17, and Dad was already on his way out of town, never to be seen again.
"The Detroit News obtained records showing that the young Mathers' family moved at least 10 times during his childhood, often back and forth between Kansas City and the Detroit area… .
"By age 9, the undersized boy had attended five elementary schools in four cities and faced a host of playground assailants. He was beaten severely; he was beaten unconscious; he was beaten into a 10-day coma; he was beaten to the point that it reportedly took a dozen doctors and a half-million in medical bills to put him back together again… .
"Debbie Mathers-Briggs sued her now-famous son for defamation in September 1999, seeking $10 million in damages after Eminem allegedly libeled her as a pill-popping, lawsuit-happy parent in interviews… . Mathers-Bridges offered to drop the … lawsuit for a mere $2 million, but Eminem would apparently rather pay his lawyers tens of thousands to ensure that Mom gets nothing.
"His defense, says the rapper, is that his comments weren't libelous because they were all true."
Jeff Hooten, writing on "The Life and Crimes of Eminem," in the February issue of Citizen

How much in touch?

"To be openly in touch with one's feelings is today held up as a personal ideal. Older virtues associated with a stoical and more reticent attitude toward life are sometimes looked upon as obstacles to self-healing, self-discovery and self-esteem. But is being aware of and expressing one's feelings really such a good thing? Some psychologists are beginning to raise questions …
"In most cultures including our own until quite recently stoicism and reticence are valued, while the free expression of emotions is deemed a personal shortcoming. All of the world's major religions place stoical control of emotions at the center of their moral teachings. For Buddhists, the ideal is emotional detachment; for Confucianism, dispassionate control. 'Be in touch with your feelings' is not one of the Ten Commandments …
"The contemporary faith in the value of openness and the importance of sharing one's feelings is now so much a part of popular culture that we find even such staid organizations as the Girl Scouts of America giving 'points' for being open about grief."
Christina Hoff Summers, writing on "The Republic of Feelings," in the February issues bulletin from the American Enterprise Institute

Pitiful Puffy

"Pity, if you can, Sean 'Puffy' Combs. Puff Daddy has fallen victim to crossover cross fire. The rap producer got rich pushing the careers of people who sang about murder and, from time to time, were in fact murdered.
"Then he yearned for the social graces. High society, as enthralled with hoodlums as he was with it, took him up. His parties on St. Bart's became go-to events. He had it all Glocks, gold necklaces, invitations.
"But there are still laws that even the gods must obey. One night, Combs and his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Lopez, were apprehended by police after speeding away from a nightclub where shots had been fired into the air, allegedly by Combs or his bodyguards or both.
"Though the deed was less consequential than O.J.'s murders, or Bill Clinton's obstruction of justice, there were smoking guns in Combs's getaway vehicle. The law is taking its tedious course, and though Al Sharpton has sprung to Combs's side, Miss Lopez has left him. (Whom would you rather have as arm candy?)
"The culture told him he could do anything he liked, but life seems to be showing him that he can't. Puff Daddy will have to face it like a man."
from "The Week," in the March 5 issue of National Review

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