I’m pissed as hell that Eminem has a movie. Not that it’s a huge hit, which is appalling all by itself, but that he has a movie at all.
Where’s my movie?
I’m not even a prick.
See, I was supposed to have had my movie by now. Or my book, or my sitcom, or my brief but turbulent and sexually charged political career. We’re all supposed to have our fifteen minutes.
But no. Eminem got my movie, and my hit album. And my ho’s. Somebody else got all my cool stuff.
Not any of the crappy stuff. I got all that.
I still have all my bills. I still have inadequate health insurance, poor eyesight, acid reflux, and underwear I bought in 1997. I still have an unused Nordic Track, an old pair of parachute pants, and a Duran-Duran album.
What I am missing is all the cool stuff I was supposed to have had by now. The money, and success, and opportunity, and advantage.
I know I was supposed to have cool stuff. It says so in the handbook that came with my privileged life.
Or should have come with my privileged life. Actually, I never got my handbook. But I presume I should have had one. And it’s pretty easy to guess what would have been in it if I had.
See, I’m a white male, a member of the privileged Patriarchy, to whom money and success and opportunity and advantage theoretically flock like moths to a flame. I’ve been told repeatedly and loudly throughout my life that the unfairly beneficial status to which I was born was the result of my color and sex, and it would result in greater achievement and prosperity than could ever be imagined by the not insignificant minorities of color and femininity.
So where’s my cool stuff? I seem to have missed a memo. Clearly, merely being white and having external hardware are not enough to guarantee the benefits of position. If I’d gotten the welcome basket that apparently is supposed to come with entry into the ranks of the privileged, I’d have found the handbook between the Beluga and the Silver Spoon… and it would have unlocked the secrets of the Universe. It would’ve told me the secret handshake that unlocks the bank vaults, the mysterious signals that telegraph to other members of the elite that we are brethren, like gaydar in a San Francisco dance club; I’d have the phone numbers of the Lotto pickers and the movie producers and the ho’s.
But no, youth culture is an oxymoron that has no use for me, and the cool stuff is going to Eminem, Britney Spears and Johnny Knoxville. The albums and the movies and the fame and the fortune and the ho’s are going to talentless short-sighted uninspired hacks wearing diversion in the form of transparent pasties and their pants around their ankles to distract you from the fact that they’re really mere angry, spoiled, inarticulate arrested adolescents with nothing of value to contribute but lengthy and tiresome complaints about the unfairness of life set to the sound of two cats being run over by a vacuum cleaner, and home movies of themselves swimming in raw sewage, or, when inspiration fails, the simple promise of a peek at their naughty bits if you’ll just please buy their latest derivative album. It’s easy to shock people; it’s easy to piss people off. They’re looking for a reason to be pissed off. They’re already pissed off. Getting apathetic, persecuted children to pay attention to you by taking your clothes off and screaming that life is unfair is shooting fish in a barrel. It’s simple, and uninspired, and boring.
But it’s easier than proposing solutions.
Youth is wasted on the young, and success is wasted on the undeserving, for whom a hit song means hollering about how much money you have and how bad you are and carries the ironic subtext that you’re laughing all the way to the bank and the people who keep buying your albums anyway are just idiots with no taste and nobody to model any thoughtful alternative; for whom creativity is confused with creating offense; for whom success and opportunity means a skanky bitch in a fishnet tube top and a condom dispenser on her belt. Apparently, to children, success looks like my grandfather at a slot machine in Vegas, with old-guy giant glasses, baggy velour sweat suits, rings the size of toasters and necklaces like anchor chains off a Princess Cruise Liner and a hooker on his elbow.
If I’d had my handbook, I’d have bought much cooler stuff.
We’ve no one to blame but ourselves. You get the government you deserve, and likewise we can complain that youth culture is destroying our children but if we simply withheld the cash it would go away. It is a symptom of our own apathy and disassociation. We give Eminem money, we reward his angry mediocrity by giving him permission to sell his message to our children and we give them the money to buy it; we give our daughters Christina Aguilera CDs, then send them to the eighth-grade dance dressed like hookers and strippers, hidden under a layer of makeup applied with a spatula, in a g-string made out of licorice.
I get by only because I tell myself that this flavor of the month too will pass… Vanilla Ice is delivering pizzas, Ice-T is that angry black cop on Law and Order and nobody remembers his music, Mister T is selling long distance, though I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. And one day MTV will chew Eminem/Ludacris/Reediculous/Felonious Punk up and spit them out as soon as an angrier and louder child shows the ability to sell more Kias and Mountain Dew and Old Navy, and they’ll realize that MTV never cared about their message at all but only for their ability to sell Red Bull to pre-teens, that they were merely ho’s themselves, and their important, insightful modern poetry will go the way of Men Without Hats and the revolution will start all over again because youth culture has no use for history and so neither the tools nor the patience for genuine cultural evolution.
In the meantime, I’m looking for my handbook. I checked under the stack of past due bills… it wasn’t there. It wasn’t stuffed in the pile of resumes that got returned unopened, or accidentally folded into the classified sections that are piling up on my coffee table. It wasn’t in my wallet. It would have been obvious there.
I’m looking for it because I know that someday the tide must turn; that one day it will no longer be the boorish, loud and angry half-clothed purveyors of violence and hatred and bitterness and irresponsible anonymous sex that are rewarded with success and money and opportunity.
It’ll be my turn.
And I’ll be pissed.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.