- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

Growing up white

“Growing up, I fought a lot … whether it was because of my skin color or because I was small or skinny. …

“I remember thinking when I was a little kid, if I would see somebody on TV, even if it was a commercial, that they were rich. Like ‘Calgon, take me away,’ that person was rich just because they were on TV. …

“I had made an [independent] album called ‘Infinite,’ and on that you can hear the pain and the woes of just growing up and being poor and having a baby on the way. … If people don’t like your music and this is what you plan — or want to do with your life — you gotta make a change. So, I started taking all the feedback and started throwing it back in my music: ‘Yeah, I am white trash, I am whatever you’re gonna say about me.’ Somehow, started taking the disadvantages and used them to my advantage. I reached a point where I stopped caring what people thought about me. And the second I stopped caring, people started caring about me. So, I figured out how to flip it. As soon as I did that, it became. … ‘He’s selling so many records because he’s white.’ And I remember there was a time when I couldn’t get a record deal, or get looked at, because I was white.”

Eminem, interviewed by Lisa Robinson, in the November issue of Vanity Fair

Kiddy consumers

“Among the … techniques used to market products to children [is] ‘tweening,’ which means to market adolescent products like sexually revealing clothing to pre-teenagers. …

“‘The more consumer culture [children] were involved in, the more they had conflicts and fights with their parents,’ said Juliet Schor, a psychiatrist and author. … ‘Those kids who are heavily involved in consumer culture are depressed; they’re anxious; they don’t feel well. … They’re more likely to have poor self-esteem, which is not a surprise because a lot of the messages consumer culture sends them are that you’re nobody if you don’t have the right tennis shoes or you’re not drinking the right soft drink. Life isn’t fun unless you’re eating candy. Your parents are nerds. Your teachers are nerds. Life is a bore.’”

From “Youth in America,” in the November issue of Touchstone

Planet ‘Birth’

“‘Birth’ is one of those films occasionally encountered that make me question my nativity or that of the film-makers. Were they and I born on the same planet? If so, how could we now have such vastly different criteria of a film story’s believability? ‘Birth’ is about a 10-year-old boy who turns up one day at the luxe Fifth Avenue apartment of a woman who lost her husband 10 years earlier and is about to remarry. The boy maintains that he is the dead husband reincarnated. After the expected pooh-poohing of the boy’s claims, the widow and her family and friends and fiance begin to take him seriously because of what he knows about the widow’s erstwhile husband. Psychologists and the boy’s parents get involved. It reaches the point where the boy and the widow are in a bathtub together; then, a bit further on, she suggests to the boy that they go away together and, in 11 years, marry.

“‘Birth’ is not presented as testimony of the supernatural or of the transmigration of souls, subjects taken seriously by some. It is all just a grab at plot novelty — something odd that happens, made even more odd because it occurs in polished urban settings with people to match.”

Stanley Kaufmann, writing on “Birth,” in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

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