50 Reasons why LORD OF THE RINGS Sucks

50 Reasons why
as they say in America, "sucks"


  1. Fellowship of the Rings and Two Towers were shoved down our throats.

    I've heard some students are even forced to read some novelization of the movie in their literature classes. Ridiculous. Does Hollywood run our classrooms now?

  2. Greed.

    Hollywood can't make a movie these days without crapping out a sequel the next year to squeeze more money out of the sheep. Guess what; there's ANOTHER LOTR movie coming this Christmas. Gee, I wonder what will bring Rocky out of retirement this time?

  3. Quality Control at New Line.

    Millions of copies of the LOTR DVDs have thick black bars at the bottom and top of the screen throughout the film. Didn't anyone catch this? You know what happens at the end, in the extreme foreground and extreme upper sky? Neither do I. Bush league, guys.

  4. They switched Darrens on us!

    Look closely in Fellowship and you'll notice the human member of their party is played by two different actors at different points of the movie (it takes a sharp eye to notice, but one of them has red hair, one black).

  5. Quality Control at New Line, II.

    In the massive Mt. Doom battle scene at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring, a DVD pause reveals at least half a dozen of the 50,000 Orc Warrior extras are wearing modern tennis shoes.

  6. Speaking of Orcs...

    The Orcs were obviously stolen from PC game maker Blizzard and its Warcraft series. Too bad Blizzard is apparently too scared to sue New Line over it.

  7. Racism.

    Percentage of protagonists in Fellowship who are white: 100. Meanwhile the black antagonists and their black crow spies and their black glass seeing ball inhabit their black towers and perform black magic. Gosh, I wonder if there's some symbolism there?

  8. Gold: The Stretchy Element.

    The ring, which is seen to be at least two inches in diameter at the beginning to fit the polish sausage-sized finger of Sauron, suddenly fits Frodo's child-sized finger later. I guess this movie takes place in a world where rings magically change sizes on their own.

  9. Violence.

    Give me one reason that story couldn't have been told without all the fighting.

  10. Horse sense.

    Why didn't they take horses on their quest? Or even better, why didn't Gandalf's giant flying bird friend haul them into Mordor? Watch out, Frodo! All of your methods of transportation have been swallowed by the Dark Lord of the Plot Hole!

  11. Retracted.*

    See below.

  12. Return of the Living Dead.

    In FOTR, if you watch closely during the Inn scene, Frodo and his crew are shown getting stabbed by the Ring Wraiths. Then, five seconds later, they are fine again. Note to the director: try proofreading your movie before you release it to the public.

  13. Did someone say plot hole?

    Liv Tyler's character is seen easily defeating nine strong supernatural beings, even though she is clearly a woman.

  14. The Battle Droid Syndrome.

    The mutated muscular soldiers of Mordor turned out to be hilariously ineffective fighters, a dozen of them held off by a single dying human. Apparently they made the beasts by crossing Orcs, Goblins and the French.

  15. Sloppy CGI.

    Gandalf's smoke boat at Bilbo's party is pretty impressive, but smoke cannot be made to travel horizontally, thus revealing it to be nothing but a cheap special effect.

  16. The Asbestos Wizard.

    We all saw Gandalf fall into the molten core of Middle Earth after his battle with the firebeast thing in part 1. Well, I guess the Gandalf action figure must have sold well, because in the slap-together sequel Two Towers, Gandalf is back. Perhaps it was voodoo, a la the corpse in Weekend at Bernie's II (look closely and you'll notice LOTR steals several elements from the WAB films).

  17. Invisible Implausibility.

    Every time Frodo or Bilbo went invisible with the ring they should have also gone BLIND. Your eyes cannot function unless light is reflected off the cornea. If light passes through it (as must be the case with invisibility) sight is no longer possible. Also, rings do not turn you invisible.

  18. The Asbestos Wizard, II.

    The giant fire beast thing at the end of part 1 was breathing a firey breath hot enough to send heat-distortion waves through the air. The sheer temperature of the air should have burned off Gandalf's beard and eyebrows. None of my reading on evolutionary biology reveals a single reason why a particular race of humans would develop unflammable facial hair as this would provide practically no advantage in either survival or mating.

  19. I'll have to rent that one.

    The rushed-through story the screenwriter threw in as the first ten minutes of Fellowship of the Ring looked a lot more interesting than the movie we were forced to watch. Why didn't somebody make a movie off that instead?

  20. Magic Mechanics.

    Experts on the occult say in order for a wizard to floorspin a fully-grown man like Gandalf, he'd need three magical staffs, not two.

  21. Finders, keepers.

    So Bilbo, who we are supposed to identify with as a protagonist, finds a piece of someone else's jewelry and just keeps it for himself? That's funny, because I would expect a good man to submit it to the local Lost and Found so it could be claimed by its owner. It makes me wonder if he bought that hillside house or if he was just squatting.

  22. Go-Go Gadget Arrow Sprouter.

    Legolas shoots arrow after arrow at his enemies, and yet the number of arrows in his quiver never decreases. I guess elves have glands on their back that secrete arrows.

  23. Watch out! He's going to explode!

    The heroes are shown eating again and again, and yet no one ever goes to the bathroom throughout their entire quest.

  24. Meesa gonna make theesa movie suckah!

    The character of Gollum in The Two Towers was entirely computer animated (a cheap effort to cash in on Jar Jar Binks Mania) but was just a dim shadow of George Lucas' effort. Thank you, Peter Jackson. Thank you right to Hell.

  25. Propaganda.

    The Elves, clearly the most advanced and wise species, are also clearly gay.

  26. Speaking of Elves...

    Elves are beautiful and wise and tall? Great warriors? Makers of fine lightweight weapons? Our modern knowledge of elves has observed only an ability to make cookies and toys. All the elves in the film are portrayed as living in a warm paradise (Rivendell) but our own information tells us the aforementioned group of toymaking elves work and thrive in the arctic. Hey, Mr. Jackson: Research is half of writing.

  27. Homage or theft?

    The "happy village of little people" idea was stolen from Willow.

  28. Homage or theft II?

    The wise old wizard character was stolen from Harry Potter.

  29. Homage or theft III?

    The "travelling on our quest through a corn field" scene was stolen from Shrek.

  30. Homage or theft IV?

    The character of the rebellious-but-helpful Ranger was stolen from Val Kilmer in Willow.

  31. Homage or theft V?

    The concept of the violent dwarf was based on Al Pacino.

  32. Homage or theft VI?

    The "old man looking through the door hatch at the approaching little people" scene was stolen from A Clockwork Orange.

  33. Homage or theft VII?

    The cantina scene with a noisy bar filled with a mix of otherworldly species was stolen from Cecile B. DeMille's One Night in an Alien Bar.

  34. Homage or theft VIII?

    The incident with the flock of evil magical spying crows serving the All-Seeing Eye was based on an actual incident.

  35. Homage or theft IX?

    The character of the Giant Evil Flaming All-Seeing Eye was based on former President Jimmy Carter.

  36. Homage or theft X?

    The character of Elrond was based on Agent Smith from The Matrix.

  37. Weighty issues.

    AKA "Plot Hole No. 273." Even with all that walking and light eating, the character of Sam only got fatter.

  38. Realism, schmealism.

    Liv Tyler's immortal elf volunteers to give up her eternal life for a single romance with a human man. Could any man really be that well endowed? I find it unlikely.

  39. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

    The most advanced civilization is that of the elves, which are long-haired, new-age types? Sorry, Mr. Jackson, but modern science has proven that in any modern civilization, hippies would be extinct.

  40. Too many notes.

    No movie should be over two hours long. Did we need that whole thing in the mine in part 1? What about that almost-infinite battle scene in part 2? Didn't it seem like they were just adding pointless scenes in the middle to pad it? It's like they decided beforehand they wanted three hours for each film and used filler to flesh them out.

  41. Too many notes, II.

    I just want to re-emphasize the above point. There is no reason entertainment can't be concise.

  42. Too many notes, III.

    Too many characters to keep track of. The dwarf was clearly only there as a token dwarf character to sell tickets to lucrative movie-going dwarf demographic. Lose him.

  43. Rationalization for violence.

    Why, in part 1, is the black octopus creature painted as the bad guy when it attacks, when one of the fellowship had clearly been throwing rocks at it?

  44. The Shoeless Land.

    The Hobbits both 1) refuse to wear shoes and 2) run a livestock-based farming economy. Wouldn't they constantly be stepping in crap? Why doesn't the movie address this issue?

  45. Casting.

    Why couldn't Frodo have been played by Christopher Walken?

  46. Casting, II.

    Why couldn't Gandalf have been played by Bruce Campbell?

  47. Casting, III.

    Why couldn't Bilbo have been played by Vin Diesel?

  48. Casting, IV.

    Why couldn't Strider have been played by a monkey?

  49. The Score.

    The background music wasn't nearly funky enough for me.

  50. What's that smell?

    As bad as the Lucasfilm leaks were with his last film, the filmmakers of Return of the King already have the novelization out in paperback. I've seen it at Barnes & Noble already. As if we needed any less of a reason to go see it.

-Dr. Albert Oxford, PhD

London Film Institute


11. Damn you, gravity!

The giant firebeast thing is defeated by Gandalf when he destroys the bridge, sending the creature plunging to its death... despite the fact that it has wings.

This was retracted when a reader pointed out that the wings, like the rest of the beast, were made of shadow and fire and thus would be useless for flight. Thanks for the tip!

Top 10 Reasons to Work at Google

Ten Reasons Not to Hit Your Kids

Top 20 Reasons Why Chocolate Is Better Than Sex

1. You can GET chocolate.

2. “If you love me you’ll swallow that” has real meaning with chocolate.

3. Chocolate satisfies even when it has gone soft.

4. You can safely have chocolate while you are driving.

5. You can make chocolate last as long as you want it to.

6. You can have chocolate in front of your mother.

7. If you bite the nuts too hard the chocolate won’t mind.

8. Two people of the same sex can have chocolate without being called nasty names.

9. The word “commitment” doesn’t scare off chocolate.

10. You can have chocolate on top of your workbench/desk during working hours without upsetting your work mates.

11. You can ask a stranger for chocolate without getting your face slapped.

12. You don’t get hairs in your mouth with chocolate.

13. With chocolate there’s no need to fake it.

14. Chocolate doesn’t make you pregnant.

15. You can have chocolate at any time of the month.

16. Good chocolate is easy to find.

17. You can have as many kinds of chocolate as you can handle.

18. You are never to young or to old for chocolate.

19. When you have chocolate it does not keep your neighbors awake.

20. With chocolate size doesn’t matter; it’s always good.

Top 10 Scientific Reasons why Chocolate is the World’s Most Perfect Food

Top 10 Reasons To Date a ... anyone!

A Good Reason To Donate Blood.

A good reason to donate blood: One patient's story

A group of employees dedicated to helping MGH patients by regularly donating blood recently had the opportunity to hear firsthand how their donations can affect just one life. At the annual Employee Blood Donor Appreciation Luncheon held Oct. 5 in the Thier Conference Room, Pamela Ressler (below) recounted how her beloved 14-year-old son, Nick, was able to live a quality life for six months during his battle with cancer in 2001 because of the many blood products he received while being treated at the MGH.

The eighth grader from Concord, Mass., fought a rare form of cancer with the help of his MGH caregivers who gave him chemotherapy and radiation therapy. As a result of the treatments, Nick had many blood transfusions. His mother, who has been a nurse for more than 25 years, knew how important it was for Nick to get the blood that he needed during his illness, so she worked with the MGH Blood Donor Center and a family friend to recruit people from the Concord community to donate at blood drives especially for Nick. The MGH bloodmobile was deployed twice to Concord during those six months to retrieve much-needed blood from willing volunteers who wanted to help Nick and his family.

Pamela Ressler was accustomed to blood products being used by patients, but was curious to know how much Nick used during his illness. Staff from the MGH Blood Donor Center calculated that it took 300 blood donors to provide these crucial blood products for Nick's use.

A third blood drive was scheduled for April of 2001, but Nick's battle with the cancer that attacked his fragile body was lost April 9, two weeks before the blood drive. After careful consideration, the Ressler family decided to continue with the blood drive in honor of the "other Nicks who might need blood." The Concord community came out in full force to donate in Nick's memory — a tradition that continues today with his many friends, family members and neighbors who still host the Nick Ressler annual blood drive every April.

"I want to thank you all for regularly donating blood to the MGH," said Ressler. "You help patients like my Nick, who was president of his class, played lacrosse, got straight A's and was a musician. He was too young to die but was able to live a full life for those six months because of people like you."

Ressler's story touched all the blood donors at the luncheon who appreciated hearing how their time in a donation chair, squeezing a stress ball results in such a precious gift that can help even one person. Maria Hood, of MGH Employee Education and Leadership Development and a longtime donor, wondered if her past donations of B positive blood might have gone to Nick who also was B positive. "It feels good to know that my donations can directly help someone in need," she said. "I may not have all the time I would like to do volunteer work, but spending 30 minutes at the Blood Donor Center every eight weeks is my way to help someone else."

10 Reasons To Donate Blood

Top 10 Reasons People Don't Give Blood

10 Reasons Why You Should Smile More Often

10 Reasons Why You Should Smile More Often


“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.
It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

There may be more to the song “Put on a Happy Face” than just a catchy tune - putting on a happy face is actually good for you, and those around you.

Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.

Ever seen one of those poor souls who is perpetually miserable? Everything about them screams how lousy everything in their life is. We all know people like this. Gosh, if they ever smiled you’d expect their face to crack.

But it actually takes a lot less muscles to smile than to frown or scowl, so apart from creating misery for themselves they are also doing more work to achieve that result. So here are ten reasons why you should smile more often:

1. Manage Your Hormones:

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline, dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.

2. Nice Internal Workout:

A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.

3. Physical Release:

Have you ever felt like you “have to laugh or I’ll cry”? Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.

4. Positive Frame Of Mind:

Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a than other mere distractions. It will make you happy and put you in a positive frame of mind.

5. Change Your Perspective:

Sudies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a ‘threat’ or a ‘challenge’. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.

6. Social Benefits Of Laughter:

Laughter connects us with others. Also, laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

What’s even better is that the more you smile, the more others will too. Says psychologist Dr. David Lewis, “Seeing a smile creates what is termed as a ‘halo’ effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.”

7. Fight Illness Better:

People who are optimistic (and these are the people who are out there smiling!) have stronger immune systems and are actually able to fight off illness better than pessimists.

“The research is very clear,” says Christopher Peterson, Ph.D, a University of Michigan professor who’s been studying optimism’s link to health for over two decades, “This is not some social science generalization. There is a link between optimistic attitudes and good health. It has been measured in a variety of ways. Overall, we have found that optimistic people are healthier. Their biological makeup is different. They have a more robust immune system.”

8. Live Longer:

According to a study published in the November 2004 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, elderly optimistic people, those who expected good things to happen (rather than bad things), were less likely to die than pessimists.

In fact, among the 65- to 85-year-old study participants, those who were most optimistic were 55 percent less likely to die from all causes than the most pessimistic people. What’s more, after researchers adjusted the results for age, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity and other measures of health, the optimists were 71 percent less likely to die than the pessimists!

9. It Feels Like Eating 2,000 Chocolate Bars

That’s right - according to The British Dental Health Foundation, a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars. The results were found after researchers measured brain and heart activity in volunteers as they were shown pictures of smiling people and given money and chocolate.

Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, pointed out, “We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research … A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you to succeed in your career … “

10. It Costs Absolutely Nothing

The ancient Chinese were a wise lot - wise in the ways of the world; and they had a proverb that you and I ought to cut out and paste inside our hats. It goes like this:

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”

Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Especially when that someone is under pressure from his bosses, his customers, his teachers or parents or children, a smile can help him realize that all is not hopeless - that there is joy in the world.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead … Smile! …and again!

8 Reasons Eminem's Popularity is a Disaster for Women

8 Reasons Eminem's Popularity is a Disaster for Women

By Jackson Katz
Copyright 2002


"I loved (8 Mile)…probably one of the best movies I've seen in years. And I'm a farm boy from Upstate New York with a weakness for James Taylor…Was Eminem whitewashed, made to be more likable than his reputation as a homophobe, misogynist, an all-around unlikable performer who spews his offensive lyrics across the airwaves? Probably. (emphasis added) But it's a movie of hope…" -- Craig Wilson, USA Today

"Put Anthrax on a Tampax and slap you till you can't stand." -- Eminem, "Superman"

Love him or loathe him, Eminem is unquestionably an impressive cultural player. He is a multitalented artist: a wildly inventive rap lyricist, a charismatic performer, and now an effective actor (essentially playing a heroicized version of himself).

What is in question is the nature of Eminem's art and image, and its significance. One thing is certain: he has been embraced by the cultural mainstream in a way that is unprecedented for a rapper. Obviously this has much (everything?) to do with his whiteness, and critiques of Eminem have typically centered on the racial politics of his initial rise to notoriety and now to the heights of pop cultural fame. But there are other analyses that have only begun to dim the luster of this 21st century legend-in-the-making. For example, one disturbing way to understand Eminem's popularity is that he has achieved success not in spite of his virulent misogyny and homophobic utterances – as many critics allege -- but in part because of them. As Richard Goldstein argued in a brilliant piece in the Village Voice, many of Eminem's male (and some female) fans take "guilty pleasure" in identifying with the aggressor. In that sense Eminem's success tells us something about ourselves – something that many progressive, feminist, egalitarian and nonviolent people in this era of white male backlash and militarism find quite disheartening.

Eminem has been the target of protest from gay and lesbian activists who object to his lyrical endorsement of violence against them. Other gays have embraced him in spite of this (most notably, and controversially, Elton John). But Eminem's homophobia is not simply a matter of specific lyrics. Rather, it is central to his constructed tough- white-guy image. For all of his vaunted "honesty" and presumed vulnerability, the misanthropically cartoonish "Slim Shady" persona that Marshall Mathers hides behind requires (at least publicly) a purging of anything that can be associated with femininity. Hence you hear from Eminem (and Dr. Dre) a steady stream of "bitch-slapping" misogyny peppered with anti-gay invective, all in the service of establishing their "hardness." The irony, of course, is that this hypermasculine posturing – so dismissive of women -- produces homoerotic tensions in the inner sanctum of hip hop maleness, which then requires Eminem and Dre (and other gangsta rappers) to verbally demonstrate their heterosexuality by attacking gays. It's an embarrassingly predictable process.

Unfortunately, the Hollywood mythmakers Brian Grazer, Scott Silver, and Curtis Hanson (the producer, screenwriter, and director, respectively, of 8 Mile) have so distorted the Eminem story in pursuit of box office glory that it will be quite a while before some of his more innocent fans – including many women -- get a better handle on who and what the artist represents. The cultural "meanings" of Eminem are sure to be the subject of debate for years to come. There is no honest way to predict definitively what course this debate will take.

But so far, the national conversation about Eminem has taken place on the terms of fawning critics, flaks for the record and film industries, and lay prophets of the cultural Zeitgeist, all of whom have been incessantly, and shamelessly, hyping the "hip-hop Elvis" for the past couple of years. Give them credit. They've succeeded wildly -- Eminem is now a full-blown cultural phenomenon and global merchandising cash cow. The open secret, however, is that in order for this to have happened, many people have had to go into denial or be unselfconsciously revisionist -- especially when it comes to Eminem's retrograde and abusive gender and sexual politics.

It's time to expand the terms of debate. It's time to offer some counterbalance to the mythologizing distortions from the PR department of Eminem, Inc. If Eminem is an artist whose work contains multiple layers of meaning, it's time to examine more deeply some of those layers. In particular, it's time to consider with eyes wide open some of the potentially horrific effects of this art in a world already filled with misogynous and violent men.

Toward that end, and in the Lose Yourself spirit of taking that one shot right now, rather than from historical distance, what follows are 8 arguments offered up as proof that Eminem's mega-popularity is not only troubling, but is in fact a disaster for all women (and those that care about them):

1. Eminem's lyrics help desensitize boys and men to the pain and suffering of girls and women.

Eminem's fans argue that his raps about mistreating, raping, torturing, and murdering women are not meant to be taken literally. "Just because we listen to the music doesn't mean we're gonna go out and harass, rape and murder women. We know it's just a song." But thoughtful critics of Eminem do not make the argument that the danger of his lyrics (and the lyrics of other artists, including African American rap artists) lies in the possibility that some unstable young man will go out and imitate in real life what the artist is rapping about. While possible, this is highly unlikely.

Rather, one of the most damaging aspects of Eminem's violent misogyny and homophobia is how normal and matter-of-fact this violence comes to seem. Rapping and joking about sex crimes have the effect of desensitizing people to the real pain and trauma suffered by victims and their loved ones. The process of desensitization to violence through repeated exposure in the media has been studied for decades. Among the effects: young men who have watched/listened to excessive amounts of fictionalized portrayals of men's violence against women in mainstream media and pornography have been shown to be more callous toward victims, less likely to believe their accounts of victimization, more willing to believe they were "asking for it," and less likely to intervene in instances of "real-life" violence.

Let us not forget that the culture in which Eminem has become a huge star is in the midst of an ongoing crisis of men's violence against women. In the U.S., rates of rape, sexual assault, battering, teen relationship violence and stalking have been shockingly high for decades, far exceeding rates in comparable western societies. Sadly, millions of American girls and women have been assaulted by American boys and men. Thousands of gays each year are bashed and harassed by young men. For these victims, this is not an academic debate about the differences between literalist and satirical art. It hits closer to home.

2. Girls are encouraged to be attracted to boys and men who don't respect women.

What began as a tentative dance has become a passionate embrace. After initially airing "misgivings" about featuring the woman-hating rapper, magazines with predominantly young female readership, like Cosmogirl and Teen People, now regularly feature "Em" on their covers, posed as a sex symbol, as an object of heterosexual female desire. This is not simply the latest example of the star-making machinery of mass media constructing the "bad boy" as dangerously desirable to women. This sends a powerful message to girls that goes something like this: he doesn't really hate and disrespect you. In fact, he loves you. He's just misunderstood. It's the hip hop version of Beauty and the Beast. You know, underneath that gruff exterior, between the lines of those nasty lyrics, lies a tender heart that has been hurt, a good man who just needs more love and understanding.

This is a myth that battered women have been fed for centuries! That his violence is her responsibility, that if only she loved him more, his abuse would stop. This is one of the most damaging myths about batterers, and one of the most alarming features of Eminem's popularity with girls. Remember, Eminem is the same "lovable" rapper who wrote a chillingly realistic song ("Kim") about murdering his wife (whose real name is Kim), and putting her body in the trunk of his car, interspersed with loving references to their daughter Hallie (their real-life daughter is named Hallie). This is the same "cute" guy who angrily raps about catching diseases from "ho's." ("Drips") This is the same "adorable" man who constantly unleashes torrents of verbal aggression against women, even though he is so sensitive to the potential wounding power of words that he famously refuses to use the "n-word." Why is it not okay for a white rapper to diss "niggers," but it is okay for a man to express contempt for "bitches" and "ho's.

His credulous female fans counter: he doesn't really hate women. How could he? He loves his daughter! For battered women's advocates, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of Eminem's popularity. His defenders – including women – will utter some of the most discredited myths about abusive men as if they have special insight! Newsflash to female Eminem fans: "He loves his daughter" is one of the most predictable excuses that batterers give in pleading for another chance. The fact is, most batterers are not one-dimensional ogres. Abusive men often love the very women they're abusing. And let us not forget that when Eminem verbally abuses his wife/ex-wife through his lyrics, he is verbally abusing his daughter's mother – and by extension his daughter.

3. His popularity with girls sends a dangerous message to boys and men.

Boys and young men have long expressed frustration with the fact that girls and young women say they're attracted to nice guys, but that the most popular girls often end up with the disdainful tough guys who treat them like dirt. We all know that heterosexual young guys are forever struggling to figure out what girls want. What are they supposed to conclude when 53% of the 8 Mile audience on opening weekend was female?

What are men to make of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd when she writes, uncritically, that a "gaggle" of her female Baby Boomer friends are "surreptitiously smitten" with a 30-year-old rapper whose lyrics literally drip with contempt for women? (If you're in denial or simply refuse to believe that his lyrics are degrading to women, do your homework – download his lyrics.) That girls want to be treated with dignity and respect? Or that the quickest route to popularity with them is to be verbally and emotionally cruel, that "bad boy" posturing is a winning strategy to impress naïve (and self-loathing) girls? Surely most of Eminem's female fans would not want to be sending that message to their male peers – but they are.

Boys who have listened carefully to Eminem's actual lyrics -- not just the hit songs or the sanitized movie soundtrack -- know that most self-respecting girls who are conscious about the depths of our culture's sexism are repulsed by Eminem's misogyny and depressed by his popularity. Sadly, many of these girls have been silent, fearing they'll be branded as "uncool" because they "don't get" the artist who is supposedly the voice of their generation.

There are women who like Eminem because (they say) he's complex and not easily knowable; they would argue that it is reductionist to characterize his art as sexist. But the burden is on them to demonstrate how -- in a culture where so many men sexually harass, rape, and batter women -- it is possible to reconcile a concern for women's physical, sexual, and emotional well-being with admiration for a male artist whose lyrics consistently portray women in a contemptuous and sexually degrading manner.

Girls and women, even those who have been coopted into Eminem-worship, want to be treated with respect. They certainly don't want to be physically or sexually assaulted by men. They don't want to be sexually degraded by dismissive and arrogant men. But they can't have it both ways. They can't proclaim their attraction to a man who's gotten rich verbally trashing and metaphorically raping women and yet expect that young men will treat them with dignity.

4. The racial storyline around Eminem perpetuates the racist myth that "hip" white guys are those who most closely emulate the sexist beliefs and hypermasculine posturing of some Black males.

Eminem is popular with white audiences in large measure because the African American gangsta rap icon Dr. Dre and other hardcore Black rappers with "street credibility" have conferred on him the mantle of legitimacy. Dre is Eminem's mentor and producer, signaling to Black audiences as well that unlike Vanilla Ice – a useful object of derision from a decade ago -- this white boy is for real. What's missing from this story is that Dr. Dre himself is one of the most misogynous and homophobic figures in the history of rap music. He has produced and performed some of this era's most degrading songs about women. (e.g. "Bitches Ain't Shit")

In other words, Eminem and Dre are modeling a perverse sort of interracial solidarity that comes at the expense of women. It's an old and sordid story: sexism provides men a way to ally across race and class lines. African American people who are happy to see Eminem earning rap even greater legitimacy in white America might want to consider that this era's white artist most identified as a bridge to Black culture has built that bridge on the denigration and undermining of Black women -- and all women.

5. Eminem's personal trajectory – either the so-called "true" story, or the explicitly fictionalized version in 8 Mile – perpetuates damaging mythology about abusive men.

Eminem's fans like to ascribe to him the sympathetic and classic role of underprivileged underdog. But Marshall Mathers, if he ever was an underdog, has long since crossed over into the role of bully. Unlike most bullies this side of right-wing talk radio, however, he has a very large microphone (and now a screen presence).

You can gain important insight into one key aspect of the Eminem persona by studying both the behavior of men who batter and people's responses to them. The man who is being lionized as one of this era's emblematic artists shares many character traits with men who batter. One glaring similarity is the folklore that Mathers has actively constructed about his famously difficult childhood. Narcissistic batterers frequently paint themselves as the true victims. It's them we're supposed to feel sorry for – not their victims (or the victims/targets of their lyrical aggression.).

It is well-known that many of Eminem's fans, male and female, reference his abusive family life to explain and rationalize his rage. But it is not as well-known that batterer intervention counselors hear this excuse every single day from men who are in court-mandated programs for beating their girlfriends and wives. "I had a tough childhood. I have a right to be angry," or "She was the real aggressor. She pushed my buttons and I just reacted." The counselors' typical answer: "It is not right or ok that you were abused as a child. You deserve our empathy and support. But you have no right to pass on your pain to other people."

6. Eminem's success has unleashed a torrent of mother-blaming.

One element of Eminem's story of which all his fans are aware is that he and his mother don't get along. Many people psychoanalyze him from a distance and argue that his problems with women stem from his stormy relationship with his mother. This may or may not be true, but it is an excuse that abusive men often make for their behavior. As Lundy Bancroft observes in his book Why Does He Do That: inside the minds of angry and controlling men, battered women themselves sometimes like this explanation, since it makes sense out of the man's behavior and gives the woman someone safe to be angry at – since getting angry at him always seems to blow up in her face.

It is hard to say what percentage of the Eminem faithful relate to his oft-articulated rage at his mother. But consider this anecdotal evidence. I attended an Eminem concert in southern California during the "Anger Management" tour a couple of years ago. At one point, Eminem ripped off a string of angry expletives about his mother, (something like "F-you, bitch!") after which a sizable cross-section of the 18,000 person crowd joined in a violent chant repeating the verbal aggression against Ms. Mathers (and no doubt other mothers by extension.)

Why is this aspect of the Eminem phenomenon such a cause for concern? No one begrudges Eminem, or anyone else, the right to have issues – including in some cases being very angry with their mothers. But it is not a great stretch to see that Eminem's anger can easily be generalized to all women – tens of millions of whom are mothers -- and used as yet another rationale for some men's deeply held misogyny.

Considering Eminem's (and his mother's) roots on the economic margins of "white trash" Detroit, class is also a critical factor here. Poor women – especially poor women of color -- are easy scapegoats for many societal problems. Eminem's fans presumably know little about the context within which Debbie Mathers (who is white) tried to raise her kids. Might we have some compassion for her as we are asked to for him? Why was she constantly struggling financially? How did educational inequities and lack of employment opportunities affect her life, her family experiences, her education level, her dreams, her ability to be a good parent? As a woman, how did sexism shape her choices? What was her personal history, including her history with men? Was she ever abused? We know a lot of women with substance abuse problems develop them as a form of self-medication against the effects of trauma. What is the connection between Ms. Mathers' alleged (by her son) substance abuse and any history of victimization she might have?

Further, if Eminem's father deserted him and the family when Marshall was young, why is so much of Eminem's verbal aggression aimed at his mother and at women? If you buy the argument that Eminem's misogyny comes from his issues with his mother, then considering his father's behavior, why doesn't he have a huge problem with men? (Hint: the answer has to do with SEXISM.) It's easy to blame struggling single mothers for their shortcomings; right-wing politicians have been doing this for decades. A more thoughtful approach would seek to understand their plight, and while such an understanding would provide no excuse for abusive behavior (if that is what Eminem actually experienced), it would give it much-needed context. Unfortunately, this context is notably absent from much political discourse – and from 8 Mile.

7. Eminem has elevated to an art form the practice of verbally bullying and degrading people (especially women and gays) and then claiming "I was just kidding around."

In fact, many of Eminem's fans will claim that his Slim Shady persona – or any of his nasty anti-woman lyrics – are just an act. On a more sophisticated level, Eminem's defenders – including a number of prominent music critics -- like to argue that his ironic wit and dark sense of humor are lost on many of his detractors, who supposedly "don't get it." This is what his predominantly young fans are constantly being told: that some people don't like the likable"Em" because they don't get him, the personae he's created, his outrageously transgressive humor. In comparison, his fans are said to be much more hip, since they're in on the joke.

One way that non-fans can respond to this is by saying "We get it, alright. We understand that lyrics are usually not meant to be taken literally. And we think we have a good sense of humor. We just don't think it's funny for men to be joking aggressively about murdering and raping women, and assaulting gays and lesbians. Just like we don't think that it's funny for white people to be making racist jokes at the expense of people of color. This sort of 'hate humor' is not just harmless fun – no matter how clever the lyrics.

Millions of American girls and women are assaulted by men each year. According to the U.S. surgeon general, battering is the leading cause of injury to women. In recent years there has been growing recognition of the alarming prevalence of abuse in teen relationships; one recent national study found 20 % of teenage girls experience some form of physical or sexual abuse from men or boys. Gay-bashing is a serious problem all over the country. Music lyrics and other art forms can either in some way illuminate these problems, or they can cynically exploit them. Eminem is arguably a major force in the latter category. Sorry if we don't find that funny."

8. Eminem's rebel image obscures the fact that sexism and men's violence against women perpetuates established male power – it is not rebellious.

Eminem has been skillfully marketed as a "rebel" to whom many young people – especially white boys -- can relate. But what exactly is he rebelling against? Powerful women who oppress weak and vulnerable men? Omnipotent gays and lesbians who make life a living hell for straight people? Eminem's misogyny and homophobia, far from being "rebellious," are actually extremely traditional and conservative. As a straight white man in hip hop culture, Marshall Mathers would actually be much more of a rebel if he rapped about supporting women's equality and embracing gay and lesbian civil rights. Instead, he is only a rebel in a very narrow sense of that word. Since he offends a lot of parents, kids can "rebel" against their parents' wishes by listening to him, buying his cd's, etc. The irony is that by buying into Eminem's clever "bad boy" act, they are just being obedient, predictable consumers. ("If you want to express your rebellious side, we have just the right product for you! The Marshall Mathers LP! Come get your Slim Shady!) It's rebellion as a purchasable commodity.

But if you focus on the contents of his lyrics, the "rebellion" is empty. Context is everything. If you're a "rebel," it matters who you are and what you're rebelling against. The KKK are rebels, too. They boast about it all the time. They fly the Confederate (rebel) flag. But most cultural commentators wouldn't nod approvingly to the KKK as models of adolescent rebellion for American youth because the content of what they're advocating is so repugnant. (And Eminem would be dropped from MTV playlists and lose his record contract immediately if he turned his lyrical aggression away from women and gays and started trashing people of color, or Jews, or Catholics, etc...) Isn't it plausible that when "responsible" critics, journalists and other entertainers embrace Eminem as a "rebel," it provides a glimpse into their own repressed anger at women, their own unacknowledged anxieties about homosexuality?

Isn't it also plausible that after Eminem has posed for dozens of magazine layouts dutifully wearing the swoosh logo of the Nike corporation, he finds amusing how easily people buy the outlandish idea of him as a rebel?

Jackson Katz is the creator of the award-winning educational video "Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity." His new video, "Wrestling With Manhood" with Sut Jhally, examines the gender and sexual politics of professional wrestling. For more information, go to http://www.mediaed.org/

© 2002 Jackson Katz. Forward freely. Reprint with author's permission.

Eminem Discography. Amazom.com