Move out of the way, Ozzy Osbourne. There's another foul-mouthed
celebrity who's vying for the bleeding-heart pop critics' Father of the Year
Eminem, the Detroit rapper whose third album skyrocketed to the
top of the charts this week, wants everyone to know that he spews profanity,
perversity and homicidal fantasies for a very good reason. "Everything that
I am doing right now is for Hailie," Eminem explained in a BBC interview
last summer. "The money -- it's for her college."
Hailie is Eminem's 6-year-old daughter. The rapper portrays
himself to gushing music reviewers as a doting parent who's just trying to
be a good provider. He buys her teddy bears and takes her on tour. He
tattooed her name on his arm. His new album, "The Eminem Show," which is
being described universally as "mature," features a soul-baring ode
dedicated to his child. In "Hailie's Song," he warbles: "My baby girl keeps
getting older, I watch her grow up with pride/ People make jokes 'cause they
don't understand me/ They just don't see my real side."
Awww. Well, grab a Kleenex, and get in group-hug position.
Eminem isn't a bad guy. He's just, you know, misunderstood. The "real"
Eminem, we are supposed to believe, is a sensitive and protective father who
sympathizes with fellow parents who object to his vitriol. In an interview
on MTV, he pontificated: "The more adult I'm becoming, the more I'm
realizing that this might have an effect on her, or it might scare her, or
she might hear a word or a sentence that she doesn't know how to take. I'd
just rather not even play it around her."
Oh, give me a bleeping break.
Eminem may not let his little girl listen to his albums, but he
has had no qualms about enlisting her in the marketing and production of his
sicko products. When Hailie was a toddler, Rolling Stone magazine reported
in April 1999, Eminem lured her into his recording studio by promising to
take her to a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
He then recorded Hailie's voice for use on one of his most
infamous tracks, "97 Bonnie and Clyde," a tale of a father killing his
baby's mother and disposing of the body with the help of the child:
"Here, you wanna help Dada tie a rope around this rock?
Then we'll tie it to her footsie, then we'll roll her off the
Here we go, count of three. One, two, three, wee!
There goes Mama, splashing in the water
No more fighting with Dad, no more restraining order."
Spin magazine dubbed the studio trickery one of the sleaziest
rock moments of the year.
In addition to providing unwitting background vocals on this
charming family collaboration, young Hailie has appeared on the cover and
liner notes of Proud Papa Em's records. She makes another special guest
appearance on the latest album in a piece called "My Dad's Gone Crazy." With
Hailie providing a spoken-word hook ("I think my dad's gone crazy"), Eminem
makes cocaine-snorting noises and weaves a pornographic rant around his
Hailie is a ubiquitous presence on the album; Eminem invokes her
as a defense against any criticism of his work. In one new track called
"Superman," for example, Eminem fantasizes about terrorizing a woman: "I put
anthrax on your Tampax and slap you until you can't stand." What kind of
model father makes a living broadcasting such misogynistic garbage for mass
consumption? Well, hey, it's just harmless banter. "If my music is literal
and I'm a criminal, how the f--- can I raise a little girl?" Eminem spits
back in a later track.
Instead of exploiting his daughter for commercial gain and then
hiding behind her skirt to justify his trash, Eminem might consider early
retirement. He spends much of his time harping on his latest album about
fame, anyway. And he constantly complains that he is sick of being a role
model for the rest of America's youth. Well, right on, Em. Your primary
responsibility is to be a good role model for your own child. Why not quit
the filth industry -- you can certainly afford it -- and get a respectable
I hear Chuck E. Cheese is hiring.