Eminem is currently one of the most popular recording artists in the U.S. Clearly a lot of kids can relate to what he has to say (Eminem spends quite a bit of the opening track, “White America,” making sure we know that). We can look at that reality. We can analyze it. We can come up with theories about it. But as critics, it’s our job to separate what is popular from what is good, and what is art. That Eminem’s recordings are popular does not mean that they are good … in fact, they aren’t.

According to Mr. Goldberg, supporters and fans of Eminem’s work are out-of-touch fogeys that wouldn’t know their ass from a colostomy bag. I wish I were a teenager trying to cheese off my ‘rents with some well placed fuck-yous and BIIIITCH-es. Alas. Clearly folks are out of step with decency if they’re praising the groupie-bashing Eminem revels in (helpfully illustrated in the lyrics to “Superman” Goldberg quotes). Obviously, all of the intelligent and smart things Em offers up over the course of the rest of the album should just be pushed aside and ignored, since mutli-platinum rap artists never make disparaging comments about homosexuals or Jews or women or anyone else. They don’t include ladies in their stage shows as caged dancers swimming in uncanned Schlitz. They don’t talk about the Holocaust being a fraud, and Jews as the root of all evil. They don’t make videos filled with stripper’s poles and butt floss. And, of course, any work of popular culture (or “art”, if you’re willing to take that fateful step) that risks offense is only worth the time it takes to transfer the work into a sanctioned waste disposal unit.

Instead of taking the high road and dismissing Marshall’s recorded output in such high and mighty tones, I wish Michael Goldberg simply took the time to LISTEN to the album he’s dismissing and weighed the good with the bad. Dunderheaded comments like his only inspire dunderheaded comments like mine, which simply perpetuates the hype that’s given Eminem the exposure and power to become a vociferous critic and proponent of pop stardom. Sure, gasoline’s wet, but you don’t see firefighters rushing to use it.