Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Return of the Perverse

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!--Isaiah 5:20.

Rapper Eminem, the scatological and misogynistic purveyor of all things crude, rude, and lewd, is, after a blessed five-year hiatus, back with another egregious recorded assemblage of acoustic excrement. What is almost worse is hearing critics defend this indefensible miscreant, as does a self-impressed and utterly unconvincing maven of the inappropriate on NPR. Yes, Emimimen raps (it isn't singing) of rape, murder, and more, our critic intones, but somehow this artistically gives voice to deep inner feelings. Does it really? Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy gave their voice to these inner urges in their own ways as well. Jesus gave us the wise principle that to imagine evil deeds in one's heart is tantamount to performing them, and, as such, corrupts the soul. Better to listen to Jesus and shun the critic and his deformed loves.

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. . . . You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.--Matthew 5:21-22, 28-32.

Eminem's sneering, sulking, fuming, monotone rhymes are distilled ugliness aesthetically, however difficult they may be to perform. Many ugly and immoral things are hard to pull off, after all. A homicidal marksmen may be a very good shot. You know that advanced cultural bone rot has set in when the ravings of perversity and outright criminality are justified as art. The "criminal as artist" is another mode of taking the perverse to be the prophetic. There was much of this foolishness afoot in the 1960s through the writings of R.D. Laing and later through Foucault. Anomalies become trophies of bogus transcendence when objective moral law and genuine virtue is shunted aside. The repressed urges of sociopaths become dignified when excused and even praised by public (pseudo) intellectuals who cannot bring themselves to condemn anything that breaks one of the Ten Commandments (or all of them). Art fails to serve the good, the true, or the beautiful, and instead becomes a weapon to shock, outrage, and stoke the dark stirrings of the fallen self.

So, this disturbed (and rich) young man is again assaulting the public with more sneering, sickening, and soul-polluting expressions of his diseased self--even though he claims to be out of rehab. May God have mercy on him--and us.


Paul D. Adams said...

And, I would argue that it's the public who has assaulted all that is good, right, lovely, and true by displaying the kind of values that catapult the likes of Eminem to such heights.

All the more reason to "take it to the streets!" (see previous post)

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Yes, the fact that the US public has made this man a millionaire is a disgusting.

David Strunk said...

Chesterton said something to this affect:

"The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abormal; the center is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous...The sober realistic novel of today discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world." -Orthodoxy

Oh the monotony and lunacy of Eminem! The Isaiah quote nailed it on the head.