- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Minstrel martyr
"[On his] new CD, Eminem imagines, or anyway wants you to imagine, that America is so terrorized by his rap that it's hunting him down. Welcome to 'The Eminem Show,' an album in which what is longed for most is not hot [women] and the violent deaths of Mom and Dad (though they do get theirs), but an America in which a national threat is still somebody who earns a 'parental advisory' sticker.
"Eminem did have his moment, and not just because he was some sort of outrageous minstrel act a white boy bursting with lewd boasts and menacing taunts in the nastiest gangsta style. (White suburban kids had been buying lots of rap records, especially gangsta-rap records, for years before Eminem showed up in the late '90s.) He had real talent as a rapper, along with an unschooled writer's gift for assonance and inner rhyme.
"With his new album, though, that mix of social realism and hyperbole in his hands, an original and combustible compound has given way to the paranoid delusional. Now it's largely about Eminem, the pop star, who seems to have confused celebrity with political and social potency. He would have you believe he himself wants to believe that he has such terrifying authority among the young and restless that mainstream America has got to bring him down. Eminem's developed a martyr complex."
Gerald Marzorati, writing on "Eminem's Martyr Complex" on Thursday in Slate at www.slate.com

Center of the world?
"In 1900, the Great Powers of the world numbered five: France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and a newcomer the United States. In the year 2000, there remained only one Great Power: The United States of America. Demography is indeed destiny.
"First, the United States was open to 'fresh blood' in a manner unlike any of the Once-Great Powers. Between 1900 and 1914, the United States received 14 million immigrants; again, between 1981 and 1996, another 14 million arrived. For the whole century, the number taken in was 50 million, nearly the size of 1900 Germany.
"This strategy was risky, indeed, and there were several times when the assimilation process seemed about to be overwhelmed. All the same, this importation of new people, energy, ambitions and ideas gave to the United States its unique dynamism.
"In 1900, Germany was the center of the world in terms of music, science, research and military prestige; the United Kingdom in terms of naval power and finance; France in terms of art and language; and Russia in terms of resources and demographic momentum. In the year 2000, there was but one center. The 20th century was clearly 'the American century.'"
Allan Carlson, writing on "The American Century" in the April issue of The Family in America

American dissident
"Norman Mailer, speaking recently at a panel on the topic 'Writers and the Cold War,' described life as a writer in the 1950s: 'We writers felt more excitement than today. We felt like the Russian dissidents felt later.'
"In the '50s, when Mailer was co-founding the Village Voice, flacking for the Soviet Union, and glorifying the liberatory aspects of rape, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was in the Gulag, enduring brutal conditions and doing his writing on tiny scraps of paper, which he had to destroy after memorizing their contents.
"In the '60s, when Mailer was writing a monthly column for Esquire, running for mayor of New York City, protesting the Vietnam War, reporting on the political conventions, and generally being lionized, Solzhenitsyn was having his manuscripts and archives confiscated by the police and being expelled from the writers' union. Later, while Solzhenitsyn was being branded a traitor and exiled from his country, Mailer was making movies, writing verse, and publishing books on the free soil of his homeland. Yes, Mailer was just like a Soviet dissident."
from "The Week," in the June 17 issue of National Review


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