Homophobic media spree
Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It’s been a big couple of weeks for homophobia, apparently.
Two weeks ago, self-proclaimed rap god Eminem’s recent pseudo-eponymous single, “Rap God,” came out, including lines calling other rappers “gay” and “f*gs.” Friday, “Ender’s Game” will open in theaters nationwide, a science fiction film based on a 1985 novel written and produced by Orson Scott Card, a loud and proud hater of all things homosexual.
As a devoted fan of both Eminem’s music and Card’s novel since I first encountered the two in elementary school, but also as someone who doesn’t much care for homophobia, I find myself conflicted on how I’m supposed to react to Eminem’s new song or the $110 million motion picture hitting theaters this weekend, for which Card received a producer’s credit.
Eminem has gone out of his way in the past to try and demonstrate he’s not homophobic, despite what his lyrics over the years may imply. He famously performed his critically-acclaimed “Stan” at the 2001 Grammy’s with legendary performer Elton John. He sat down with Anderson Cooper in 2010 to discuss his lyrics, saying, “I don’t have any problem with nobody, you know what I mean.” As a person, Marshall Mathers seems truly not to be a homophobe.
But the song is most definitely homophobic, and in a way I wouldn’t think possible in today’s world. And as much as I like Eminem’s music, maybe if I turn my back on the song it might help stop future artists from resorting to homophobia for material.
At the same time, though, if I did buy the song, it’s not like I’d be supporting an actual living, breathing, hateful slimebag, as would be the case for buying a ticket to see “Ender’s Game.” In the novel though, there’s no mention of Card’s warped ideas on sexual orientation or any underlying themes of sexual hatred whatsoever. It’s just a great story.
I’m not sure if I can watch the movie without feeling like I’m putting money in Card’s pocket. But if we boycotted every piece of dirt that was art because of the artist’s actions and beliefs, I imagine this world would see a lot less art.
Ultimately, I’m just not sure a symbolic and likely futile boycott of these artistic works is the best answer; it’s not a wrong answer, and if you feel moved to do it, I support you. Maybe a better answer, though, is to simply continue to turn up our noses at homophobia and work to create a more tolerant and supportive environment in our own lives, where our efforts will almost definitely have more effect.
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The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.