”I hope that at the end of the performance Eminem and Elton John make out on TV.” That unforgettable image was the unfulfilled wish of Moby, speaking backstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles just prior to the controversial Eminem / Elton duet that closed last night’s 43rd annual Grammy Awards. But save for an awkward embrace, there were no eye opening testimonials or added song lyrics to help clarify Eminem’s true intentions. In the end, all the hype amounted to nothing more than a well executed musical number which touched many, angered some, and allowed the Eminem controversy to rage on.
”[John] is a homosexual man who has no hard feelings against Eminem whatsoever for what he said,” singer Jill Scott told EW.com after the show. ”Obviously [Elton] listened and thought about it and made a decision, which is what we should all do instead of just being angry.” According to Scott, there was one VERY angry heckler in the auditorium who booed loudly during the song. ”But we all just tuned him out and enjoyed the performance.”
Exiting the Staples Center for his limo, host Jon Stewart told EW.com that he was sincerely moved by what he’d just seen. ”I thought those two guys really vibed on each other,” he said. ”They seem to have a very respectful relationship. It felt really sincere. ‘I respect you, you respect me.’ And I’m not usually a big fan of sincerity.”
But others, like Erykah Badu, refused to even speak about Eminem. And Moby told EW.com that the performance left him unmoved. ”It was nice,” he said, ”but I’m not rushing out to buy [Eminem’s] records.” Still, the song seemed to soften Moby somewhat. An hour earlier, he’d used the majority of his backstage time with the press to slam the rapper as a misogynist, a homophobe, an anti- Semite, and a racist. Challenged by a reporter to cite evidence for the anti- Semitism accusation against Eminem, Moby amended his verbal assault. ”Well, anti- Semite? Maybe I’m making an assumption. In any case, even if he’s not an anti- Semite, he’s still a racist, a homophobe, and a misogynist — three things I find deeply objectionable.”
Moby explained that Eminem differs from such previous controversial figures as Elvis Presley, Public Enemy, Kurt Cobain, and the Sex Pistols in that ”they were all rebellious in the sense that they were expanding boundaries, creating culture that broadened people’s perspectives. The problem with Eminem is that he’s creating culture that is appealing to the lowest common denominator. I’m 35 years old and I might be able to appreciate the postmodern irony of his lyrics. But I cannot imagine that an 8 or 9 year old growing up in Idaho could understand that they were supposed to be ironic and postmodern.”
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