Again with the Bad Rap

If you’re reading this right now and you don’t like rap – remain calm and don’t leave.  This post isn’t about rap.  It’s about relationships and perhaps a little bit more.  Am out in Toronto right now and I’ve read some bad press here re Eminem’s song with Rihanna, ‘Love the Way You Lie’.  The word is that the song and video clip are evil in glorifying domestic violence and promoting abuse.  As though the soul destroying experience of a violent relationship – often arising out of intensely complex emotional politics, internal power struggles & fluctuating dynamics between 2 people can be so easily packaged and summarised as being ‘promoted’.  And this is based on little more than 4 minutes of lyrics and images of a man and a woman so entangled in each other that neither seems able to simply leave the self-destructive ruins of their union: ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.  Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie…’          

Since when are long-term relationships (and even friendships) so one dimensional and simple?  He hurts you, you leave.  You walk out the door just like that – as though there is no internal dialogue to fight against, no pull of the past – theirs or yours, no fear of surviving without the other person, no having to painfully retreat from co-dependence … This isn’t about whether the person should leave or not, it’s about the fact that in real life it all just isn’t so simple.  And that’s all the song really intends to do – be a snapshot of real life – 2 people so entangled in and consumed with each other they just keep on hurting each other around in circles – until one or both of them breaks … If I wanted a clear cut linear moral or instructional message about how to conduct a relationship, I’d find a text book espousing the mechanics of building a manageable partnership or find some 14 chapter self-help manual.

I haven’t been in many relationships.  But nor do I live in my own micro-cosmos unscathed from the emotional angst or damage that can characterise even a short period or small part of the most solid relationships around me – if I’m not in one, I’m always the witness of one, in fact I live everyday being the product of one.  Listen to the song.  This isn’t called glorifying domestic violence – this is called a man lyrically conveying the raw experiences of parts of his life.   Music is an artistic expression thru which the artist tells a story. And often as is the achievement of a great artist, his or her story tells wholly or in part the story of somebody else – you, me, that person and the other.

16 thoughts

  1. First, it was the Beatles glorifying drug taking (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was about a kid’s painting, you fuckwits) now its Eminem’s turn. There are some people in the world who just don’t get it or maybe they choose not to get it because its just another opportunity for them to push their barrow.


    1. Melbo I know, some people out there are so full of shit – they need to take a hard look at what they themselves are doing to convey concepts of right & wrong before laying out the blame on everfuckingthing else.


  2. Hi E
    No, there is no manual! And you are right it is never simple.

    It’s ridiculous to say that this video glorifies domestic violence. No one can possibly know the extremely personal and private dynamics that drive a couple’s chemistry. One of my sisters was always black and blue from her boyfriend. Everybody tried to help—what a joke—she didn’t want help, she wanted a slap. She married the guy. So let her have it. What are we the keepers of couple’s morals?

    It’s a pretty song—to me Rihanna can do no wrong. Looks like the gorgeous Megan Fox in the video, I love her too, the way she sticks her foot in her mouth all the time. People make fun of her but she’s just not fake like so many of them.

    Also something to consider is that bad press is still press, and I believe that every single second of the controversy around this video was planned in detail by the industry. Neither Rihanna or Eminem are strangers to controversy—they know perfectly well what they’re creating.

    I’m sorry I’m not more sympathetic to domestic violence, and I’ve heard all sides. But in the end a woman must decide for herself whether she wants to be a part of it. Remember that they get something out of it too, warped though that might seem. (I’m talking about the free world here, not countries where women are prisoners.)

    As for the video, it’s called entertainment and it’s been around a long time.


  3. Everyone tkes out of it what they will – for some the rhianna/eminem video is a starke reminder of things one doesn’t ever want to go back to if you are lucky enough to break the cycle………which leads me to another thought, who is it that decided that one person was supposed to be with another for life – marriage, monogamy – it strikes me as somewhat insane that we prescribed to these ideals which we have proven everyday through things we call affairs that monogamy is simply as falsehood, a creation of the church for what reason I am simply unable to fathom……….Human beings are interesting animals, we create unnatural rules for ourselves and then kill each other when things go wrong…….why is it a massive act of deception that we find gratification in someone who isn’t our partner, is sex not only one small part of a relationship? Or has hollywood raised its value so much that it has become the most important part of a arelationship? Why do I know at my heart of heart that, if my partner cheated, I would have to leave, why wouldn’t I be ok with that? Just food for thought………..


    1. Crazy u ain’t so crazy. I get what you’re saying. Those who know me know I’m very hard line, black and while does exist for me when wronged in relationships or friendships & that even involves cutting off family if it gets to it. That’s how I roll but it took a long time & a lot of hard work to open my mind to the fact that everyone’s situation is different. I’m not in a position to judge another person’s struggles & dilemmas in a relationship. So as I say, in real life it’s just not that clear cut & simple & that’s what’s I try to acknowledge in the above post.

      As for people bound by outside expectations – yeah it’s fucked up. And the fundamentalists need to back off. Some people stay together cos they don’t want the stigma of separation & divorce but every cell in their body knows they want out like hell. And then there’s the age old ‘I gotta stay for the kids’. Don’t fucking stay for the kids – I’ve never been in a relationship that has produced a child, but again as I’ve said before, I have, however once been a child of a relationship. And I grew up with other children of other relationships. So the child grows up constantly anxious & on guard over the yelling & screaming between mum and dad, or in extreme cases for others, the hitting & spitting etc. Yeah, stay ‘for the kids’ …


  4. The thing about music…it means something different to everyone. You and I are sitting in a room eating some cheesy chips and listening to Eminen – you hear him singing about how fucked up his life is and how that bitch should leave him the fuck alone…I’m hearing a guy rhyming every third word and swearing all along, but I love the beat and I’m really digging these cheesy chips so who gives a shit – it’s a fuckin’ brilliant song – and that Rihanna is smoking hot – bet he took a shot at her too! – fuckin’ A…that’s the thing about music – it takes everyone to a completely unique place…least that’s what I think!


  5. Interesting, hey? I find that we are so quick to judge these days with such a clear distinction between black and white, right and wrong. But in reality, we live in such a massive spectrum of grey.

    When I was a kid, I always thought I would ‘never’ be stay with someone who hit, ‘never’ stay with someone who spoke down to me, etc etc.

    But the reality for me now is, that I don’t what I’d do. Would I see beyond the behaviour and see the person? Would I pray in my heart that the person will change? Would I compromise myself as my mum continues to do for over 30 years and become a victim of life? I think not but who knows?

    All I know is that I won’t be one to judge another for staying in any relationship. Firstly, because I believe that we choose (at an unconscious level) people who will facilitate the highest growth of our soul.

    Secondly, because EVERYTHING in life is a choice at some level.

    And thirdly, because unless I am standing in that person’s shoes or have been damn close, I have no f’in idea what they are experiencing.

    So live and let live I say…

    And thanks for your wonderful blog sister.

    Pokes xooxox


    1. Pokes, thanks for joining the dialogue by sharing something so personal about your own life.
      Funny how the line drawn in the sand about what u will & won’t take can move either way over time & u didn’t even know it when u drew it – E xxx


  6. Pokes is right. Things often look very simple and clear cut from outside a situation. All relationships involve a complex entanglement of hearts, minds, wallets etc. and it is not so easy to untangle those elements. If there are more bad days than good, you can start to look for an escape and find that it won’t come without a lot of extra pain. When you’re already feeling the pressure, that can already seem like too much. Easier sometimes to stay where you are and try to keep the peace … until next time. Believe me, there was once a time when I never thought I would be writing those words but there you go. As I said at the outset, life ain’t as simple as it seems.


  7. Empress… your stuff is profound… you could easily compile it into a best selling book a la aussie/chinese Bridget Jones and next thing you know we’ll see it all on screen… it would be fabulous – (please make sure I am involved in production crew – I have more balls than you know! HAHA!)



    1. Hey Ali – don’t worry girl I know u (like me) got a BIG set of balls & between us both Turns would have to sell Tiny Turns on the blackmarket to come up with our bail money. Am working on the book as we speak – tho unlike in Bridget Jones there’s no talk of huge granny undies cos we both know I don’t wear any (not just granny undies but any undies at all). You’re already written into my Oscars speech! – E xx


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