Friday, November 22, 2002
Ya know, people are really stupid. Having known that for some time now, I’m unsure as to why I’m irritated when that stupidity comes to my attention. But I am. Case in point:
I saw 8 Mile last weekend. I was impressed with the fact that Eminem can actually act, unlike some other artists who attempt to crossover into movies and fail miserably. 8 Mile received excellent reviews, even from critics who I fully expected would give it a poor one just because Eminem is who he is.
I picked up a Province newspaper Sunday. Who’s staring back at me when I turn to the ‘letters to the editor’ page? Eminem….alongside this letter:
“‘Shocked and Repulsed’ by 8 Mile" <-- this link did take you to the letter....but the province only keeps letters to the editor on file for 2 weeks so it's gone now. I'll type it out some day when I'm not so lazy.
I was going to pick this letter apart point by point, but decided against it. This woman writes based on a philosophy – so I’ll just attack the philosophy itself in an attempt to keep this post under 5000 words. Let’s set aside any opinion of Eminem. The entertainer here could be anyone ‘controversial’ (read: not enough country, a bit too much rock n’ roll).
Here’s the philosophy: ‘It takes a community to raise a child. On a larger scale, it takes a society to raise a child. Therefore, if my child turns out to be a jackass, it’s society’s fault.’
Now, to blow this theory out of the water, let’s look at myself as an example.
The formative years:
I listened to a lot of ‘questionable’ music growing up. I was into bands such as Slayer, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Suicidal Tendencies, etc. along with an albeit small but still ‘controversial’ selection of rap music. I watched twisted movies. On a weekly basis, I watched men beat the shit out of each other on WWF (at the time I thought it was real). I could go on here but I’m sure you get the point. I was exposed to all sorts of the horrid influences many believe are warping the minds of our children.
I am an intelligent, responsible person. My command of the English language has not been destroyed by the lack of proper language so prevalent in rap music. Writing and speaking well has, and always will be, very important to me. I do not sacrifice goats to appease Satan. I am not inclined to ‘pop a cap’ in anyone’s ass. I have never been arrested. I do not solve my problems with violence. I am respectful to my parents and other adults (save for the asshole in the grocery store in the Nov. 11 post….an insolated incident). I am respectful of my property as well as the property of others. I don’t do drugs. I am respectful of my body, and as such do not behave like a whore.
How is it possible that I was exposed to countless violent/sexually explicit/gory/horrifying movies and tv shows, ‘satanic’ music, and vulgar rap music throughout my childhood, and yet somehow I came out the other side with my intellect and morals intact?
Well…I have these two wonderful people in my life called ‘parents’. They did this thing called ‘parenting’. They managed to teach me the difference between reality and the entertainment world without censoring what I watched/read/heard.
My parents knew that if they were consistent with me, I would learn what was and what was not acceptable behaviour, regardless of outside influences. Being consistent taught me who was in charge (them, not me), and that there were consequences for my actions. Brilliant isn’t it? That’s just like in real life when you do something stupid.
My parents never for a moment let me believe that when I behaved poorly it was anyone else’s fault. Because I have learned to be accountable for my own actions, I do not see it as an acceptable excuse for others to blame their failures on their ‘poor influences’. Also, it’s not acceptable for a parent to blame somebody else for the poor decisions made by their children. The blame rests on the child - and the parent for raising that child to be an idiot. Certainly, as a child gets older, there is a shift in responsibility. I don’t believe that a 20-year-old can blame all their actions on their parents. But it can certainly be said that their behaviour is in part a result of their upbringing, just as it can be said that an adult who is successful is often so because they were raised properly.
Those with the philosophy that entertainers have the ‘responsibility’ to show children what it means to be respectable, upstanding human beings are passing the buck. I believe those parents should have the following message tattooed to their respective foreheads (backwards, of course, so it can be read in a mirror):
If your child is a hellion, it is YOUR FAULT. You can’t blame it on anything else. I don’t give a shit if he has had ‘bad influences’ at school, on tv, on the radio, at the movies, wherever. It is YOUR responsibility to teach that child right from wrong. You chose to have a child, and so YOU must take responsibility when that child turns out to be a stupid, law-breaking, ignorant jackass.
I am not saying that raising children is easy, and that anyone should be able to do it well. On the contrary, I believe it is an extremely difficult job. It is one that takes hard work, dedication, intelligence, consistency, love, and patience. It’s a job that should be taken seriously.
Since it’s not legal to sterilize people based on their lack of intelligence, I’m hoping that, through the wonder that is the information superhighway, this post will reach millions. Let's hope stupid people can be lectured out of said stupidity. I know, it’s doubtful, but I’m doing my part to make a difference in this world. What have YOU done for the children lately?
In closing, a quote. Mr. Mathers gets what I’m talkin bout…
‘…don't blame me when lil' Eric jumps off of the terrace,
you shoulda been watchin him - apparently you ain't parents...’
- Eminem ‘Who Knew’