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Analysis of “Eminem Is Right” by Mary Eberstadt

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Mary Eberstadt begins her excerpt from Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes by addressing the parental agenda on adolescent popular music and its degradation. She implies that the argument is ironic, stating that the parents of today’s teens are of the baby-boom generation where counterculture served as no stranger. But Eberstadt agrees with the parents. She too believes the popular music of today is much darker than that of the baby boom, comparing themes of misogyny, sexual exploitation, and violence to the trends of past generations. Eberstadt presents the parental agenda’s question regarding the influence of today’s popular music on teenagers. She states that recent studies and articles have invested time and concern in connecting contemporary music to possible violence, citing an incident in 2000 where multiple associations teamed up to present a statement on violent entertainment and its affect on children to Congress. She then turns the question around to ask her own for society. Eberstadt wants to know why American teenagers are attracted to the music of today and what it says about them. She uses rapper Eminem to find the answer. According to Mary Eberstadt, adolescent popular music deemed degrading by American parents, like that of rap superstar Eminem, centers on that children need parents.

She’s discovered a truth within the music, stating that it’s shaped from broken homes, abuse, and neglect, and with Eminem and his message, she backs up her idea. Eberstadt believes Eminem’s message isn’t only conveying misogyny, violence, and abuse, but a deeper theme that should resonate with parents, citing his lyrics that are directed at parents, questioning their practices. The author goes on to say that the reason why parents are so against contemporary music, like that of Eminem, is because they don’t get it. She believes that Eminem would agree with her insight, declaring that the music is a cry for help because in her mind, the American youth aren’t emotionally stable, due to parental neglect or absense. Eberstadt closes her excerpt by comparing the emotionally damaged superstars who feed these degrading lyrics to the masses to the masses themselves, reinforcing that they too are without love and attention from their parents, and that this phenomenon tells everything about today’s society and the ongoing emotional struggle between parent-child separation.

Works Cited

Eberstadt, Mary. “Eminem Is Right.” The Blair Reader. Seventh ed. 2011.

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