A Little Controversy: The Gospel and Eminem

Controversy – noun. A discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing viewpoints

“No, I’m not the first king of controversy
I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley
To do black music so selfishly
And used it to get myself wealthy
There is a concept that works
Twenty million other white rappers emerge
But no matter how many fish in the sea
It’ll be so empty without me….

Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody just follow me
Cause we need a little controversy
Cause it feels so empty without me”
Without Me, Eminem

With some fear and trepidation I am going to do a blog post on Eminem. I know a lot of Christians would crucify me for just talking about him. How could you talk about that terrible, obscene, vile, filthy rapper? One reason I dare is because he is so influential. “Recovery” was his seventh studio album. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 741,000 copies in its first week. It was his sixth album to debut at number one in the United States. It was the best selling album of 2010 and sold 5.7 million copies worldwide. Those statistics reflect the enormous influence he has. On first glance Eminem is just an angry male who grew up in the white equivalent of the ghetto: the trailer park. No doubt he is angry. Cursing in general is a sign of an angry heart. Yet his music resonates with many, many young people who grew up in broken homes and who also are angry. Whether you love him or despise him, no one can deny he is influential.

Let me say for the record that I do not endorse Eminem. I don’t own any of his music. I don’t agree with all his viewpoints. I don’t like his profanity. I don’t like the way he has talked about women in such degrading, violent ways. The only music I have heard of his is that which receives airplay on the radio. Obviously that is usually censored. Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, knows that he is controversial. He obviously has a healthy ego about that fact as evidenced by his lyrics “Cause we need a little controversy, cause it feels so empty without me.” Controversial people are in your face and they put things out there for people to consider. Mathers has made a nice living from it.

Though as Christians we may only listen to praise and worship or classical music, most, if not all, of the people we need to reach with the gospel do not listen to that. Many young people listen to Eminem. This must mean they resonate with the things he raps about on some level. In order to connect with these young people, many who are angry and come from broken homes like Mathers, we must be able to connect with their world. How can we do that? One way is through music. Music is a very powerful medium for a culture to express its values. Though we may hate Eminem’s views and “values” they reflect the views of some people in the culture. You man say, well who would share the gospel with anyone who listens to Eminem? They are obviously beyond salvation. Really? I think Jesus would have shared the gospel with them. I think Paul would have too. The Apostle Paul, who is probably one of the greatest evangelists of all time said, “I become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.” (I Corinthians 9:22) When he was speaking to the men of Athens he quoted their own poets to try and reach them with the message of salvation. Mathers is a poet of sorts. So how could we use Eminem to reach someone with the gospel? Let me give you an example. One of Eminem’s popular songs which received airplay was “Lose Yourself.” At the beginning of this song Eminem asks this question:

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?
Yo.

Eminem is talking here about opportunity. Opportunity is a universal idea. We all are faced with opportunities. More than this he is asking if you had one shot to grasp all you ever wanted, would you go for it? Now most people translate this to mean things like achieving wealth, success, power, influence, love, etc. Eminem himself tells us what it means to him: success. Success he says “is his only option, failure is not.” Why? For Eminem success is the highest goal one can attain in life, so if he fails to achieve that there is nothing higher to reach for and all is lost. At this point one could suggest that the truth is that there is more than this life and a higher goal to reach for than success. The highest goal that any man can attain to is to know God. God is his creator. He was made to know and be known by his Creator. Because knowledge of the Holy is so high and exalted and can never be plumbed in totality, it takes all that you have as a person. It requires your best effort, all your talent, the extremes of your intellect and most of all, the totality of your heart. When the gospel is presented to a man, it is an opportunity, but not just an opportunity, it is THE opportunity. It is the very thing Eminem describes. It is the chance to seize everything you ever wanted. Of course only God’s grace can enable a man to understand this high and lofty truth. For indeed God is so great, so beautiful, so holy, so mighty, so glorious, so all in all, He is indeed everything you could ever want. When Christ said I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end, He not only means that He has always existed, but that He is the greatest gift to be had.

Eminem

We are all presented with opportunities, and opportunities require choice. An opportunity is defined as a favorable juncture of circumstances, or a good chance for advancement and progress. Later in the song Eminem says, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, for opportunities only come once in a lifetime.” Opportunities are favorable crossroads. Sometimes it is true that the opportunity only comes once. Some people do let it go. There are people every day who are presented with the greatest, most glorious, most exalted truth of the gospel and refuse its truth. They say, “I will search for God later.” Nothing could be more foolish. What is the gospel? It is the truth that man because of his rebellion against his creator has been separated from God. God himself however provided a way that man could once again have a restored relationship with Him, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Why does that act provide a restored relationship to God? Christ’s death on the cross paid the debt we owed to God. We all know in earthly terms when we commit a wrong there is a payment to be made for that wrong. If we commit murder, hopefully if our justice system works properly we go to prison. Scripture makes it clear that all the wrongdoing we do is ultimately against God and God alone. So the penalty we owe for the wrong that we do is death, not only physical death, but spiritual death. Christ pays that penalty in our place. If we accept and believe that truth, we have a restored relationship with God and the promise of eternal life with him. The alternative is that we pay the penalty for our rebellious deeds ourselves.

You may think that using Eminem lyrics to talk to someone about the gospel is sacrilege. Certainly one should not do so if one cannot in good conscience do so. Yet I think it is a powerful way we can build a bridge with someone who is an unbeliever. Some people will be disappointed in my view. Some people will be disappointed with me. I am being controversial. Certainly no figure in history could have been more controversial than Christ himself. When I read the gospels I find that he is constantly challenging people in many ways they don’t like. People could not stand the fact that he ate with sinners, people like prostitutes and greedy tax collectors. People were amazed that his harshest words were reserved for the “religious”, while he was greatly merciful to “sinners.” He constantly exposed the prejudices of men and the idols of their hearts. He never did the expected. He told men what they needed to hear and not what they wanted to hear. He was not the proud political king men longed for, he was the humble spiritual king men need. Everything about his kingdom is disconcerting: dying to self, taking up your cross, the last shall be first, no other gods before him, he is the only way, just to name a few. I think many, many Christians would NEVER even entertain the idea of having dinner with Eminem. I think if Jesus Christ were here today he would. I know that idea is very controversial. Yet, perhaps, we need a little controversy.

Reflections On “Losing It” A Memoir by Valerie Bertinelli

“Alcohol makes you feel better and then makes you feel worse and then remorselessly very bad indeed, but then alcohol will make you feel better again. It is the cure for the dog that bit you, and how easily you forget it is also the dog.”

Roger Ebert

Ever since Valerie Bertinelli wrote her memoir “Losing It- And Gaining My Life Back One Pound At A Time” I have wanted to read it. Valerie Bertinelli Author of Losing It

Finally, my opportunity came. I found the book at the Goodwill and grabbed it up for a dollar.

In high school I became a huge Van Halen fan. I was particularly fond of Eddie Van Halen thinking he was very cute. I remember going to see them in concert in Charleston, West Virginia. It was a blast. I was closest to the side of the stage Eddie was on. I was thrilled! He was indeed very cute and had a very nice smile. He also smoked like a fiend. He had a cigarette lit and positioned in his fret the whole time he was playing. Sammy Hagar was now the lead singer. I remember him running around high above on the catwalks and leaning out over them perilously, to my distress. He was a great showman, but he scared the heck out of me.

So I have to admit my interest in reading the book was primarily: What was it LIKE to be married to EDDIE VAN HALEN? I came away feeling respect for Bertinelli, thinking I could easily be her friend, and really rooting for her happiness. What was it really like to be married to Eddie Van Halen? Primarily hell. That is what it is like to be married to any addict.

In Cornelius Plantinga’s book, “Not The Way It Is Supposed To Be: A Breviary Of Sin” he talks about the relationship of sin and addiction. He defines addiction as “A complex, progressive, injurious, and often disabling attachment to a substance (alcohol, heroin, barbituates) or behavior (sex, work, gambling) in which a person compulsively seeks a change of mood.” He points out that “what drives addiction is longing….. a longing of the heart.”

He explains, “Addicts long for wholeness, for fulfillment, for the final good that believers call God. Like all idolatries, addiction taps this vital spiritual force and draws off its energies to objects and processes that drain the addict instead of filling him.

Accordingly the addict longs not for God but for transcendence, not for joy, but only for pleasure- and sometimes escape from pain.”

However as he soberly enjoins: “No matter how they start, addictions eventually center in distress and in the self-defeating choice of an agent to relieve the distress. In fact, trying to cure the distress with the same thing that caused it is typically the mechanism that closes the gap on the addict- a trap that might be baited on anything from whiskey to wool.” This fact is cleverly illustrated in the above quote from Roger Ebert, who himself was an alcoholic.

In truth Eddie Van Halen was an addict from the day Bertinelli met him.

Eddie Van HalenIt took her twenty years to come to grip with this fact and to divorce him. One really agonizes with her about this in reading the book. It makes you realize just how terrible it is to marry someone who is already in the grip of addiction.

It was clear that she really loved him and truly tried to save him, despite making her own mistakes in the marriage. At first she admits that she partied with him, and that was a way to be a part of his world. But this lifestyle got old and hard to maintain. So she pursued her acting career and he immersed himself in creating music and drinking and doing drugs.

Despite the birth of their child, Ed was not able to pull himself out of his living hell. Plantiga notes: “An addict makes and repeatedly breaks contracts with himself; who finds his longings narrowing and hardening into an obsession with things he knows will devastate his work, self-respect, relationships and bank account and who yet seeks compulsively to satisfy those longings; who thus finds his will split between wanting to banish an addictive substance from the earth and wanting to protect his private cache of it; whose addiction, as it moves through mild and moderate stages, first enthralls him in one sense of the word and then in the other-an addict like this often comes to believe that his “struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against……spiritual forces of evil.” (Ephesians 6:12)

He points out that the “Big Book” of Alcoholic Anonymous says “addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful and patient.” These words could describe the devil himself.

He offers the human being a powerful substitute for God, an idol called “addiction.” This substitute provides immediate pleasure. One does not have to wait for heaven, nor restrain the senses, nor worry about morality. Just take the drink, sniff the coke, smoke the weed and you are in paradise now.

At first it seems like a good trade, until you get hooked. Then you just live for the next time you can get drunk or high. You lose all for the addiction and you don’t even care. You become a shell of yourself. You live in your own isolated living hell, just you and the addiction. It must be so very terrible.

You can just look in the book and see the photos of Eddie as a young man and then when he is older. He looks horrible. The effects of the alcohol and drugs have ravaged him.

For Bertinelli the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Ed refused to quit smoking after getting tongue cancer and having a portion of his tongue removed. She finally admitted to herself then that he was not going to help himself. After finding cocaine in a wallet, she confronted him one last time before she left.

The book also chronicles her own battles with food addiction. In her efforts to cope with Ed and his addiction, she fought her own private hell with her weight. Being an actress only made that issue a million times harder as she had to constantly battle to slim down for roles.

One reads the book and gets the sense of two people who connected and were really wanting to reach out to the other, but the tragedy of addiction kept them apart. All sin isolates, but addiction isolates in a particularly pernicious and destructive way.

In the end Bertinelli won her own private battle and ended up losing fifty pounds and looking terrific. You feel thrilled for her as she loses the weight and ends up finding love too. Yet she still needs to find the ultimate fulfillment which is God himself. Until then, even these momentary victories will remain somewhat shallow.Addiction is the tragedy of idolatry carried to the extreme. When we try to put anything in the place of where the worship of God alone belongs, we come up empty and fall short. Our hearts were created to know Him and to worship Him. Until we acknowledge this we will always be digging empty wells and the buckets we pull up will run dry. They might provide some temporary pleasure, but when we put the bucket down the well again, it will bring up less water each time. So it is with sin.As C.S. Lewis says in the Screwtape Letters, “It is an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure.” Sin does provide pleasure, but it is a counterfeit pleasure and each time we engage in it we will find it brings us less. To paraphrase Lewis, the devil cannot really offer any man a pleasure. He can only offer a man a perverted pleasure, one that leaves him more thirsty than he was before. Addiction is just the extreme form of this. Man has decided to turn to alcohol or drugs and make them the center of his life and worships them. At first they offer a return, but then he must have more and more to get the same effect. In the end the whole life withers and is consumed by the addiction.The vital energy needed to seek God is drained away. Could there be anything more tragic? Van Halen once wrote a song called “The Best Of Both Worlds.” In it Hagar sings,

“You don’t have to die and go to heaven
Or hang around to be born again,
Just tune in to what this place has to offer,
Because we may never be here again.
I want the best of both worlds,
And honey I know what it’s worth,
I want the best of both worlds,
A little heaven right here on earth.”

Every honest saint will tell you that this is not heaven and the pleasures this world offers pale in comparison to what heaven will be like. That’s the irony. To have the best of the next world you have to let go of the temporal pleasures that may be found here. As martyr Jim Elliot put it, ‘He is no fool, to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Christ said is another way, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?” The truly wise live for eternity.

Adam Levine: The New Elvis

Okay.  I admit it.  I think Adam Levine is hot.   I even admitted that to my husband and he took it well.  I guess it’s because Adam is no eminent threat to him and never will be.  I told him I think he is the “new Elvis”.  He laughed.  I have taken it upon myself to crown Levine the new King.  I am sure I will be disputed.  Bring it on.  Why do I say he is the new Elvis?  I was watching Maroon Five’s new video “Give A Little More.”  As a video, it is terrible.   It’s the usual trashy sex.  Nothing new here.  What mesmerizes me is simply Levine.   He steals the show.  I wish the video were just him, the mic and the guitar.  It’s not only the beautiful falsetto pipes he croons with.  It’s the fact that this guy sings with passion.  He isn’t singing the song to you, he’s making love to you with a microphone.   It is positively illegal.  If someone could seduce with a single look, Levine could do it.  He has beautiful eyes.  He smoulders.  He rocks it.  He is one with his red guitar.  Nobody else but Elvis had that kind of raw sexuality.  Elvis was illegal too.  He worked women into a frenzy with his hip rocking gyrations, his crooning, guitar playing, and suave good looks.  Nobody did it better.   Levine however, is giving Elvis a run for his money.  Look out Graceland.  Levine has left the building.

Hoobastank: The Reason

There are so many worthless songs that have been written, but every once in awhile a gem comes along. Hoobastank delivers. This is a beautiful song. It is achingly heartfelt. It explores the themes of regret, repentance and redemption.

He begins where we all must start, with regret. He admits in the song he isn’t perfect and that there are things he needs to learn. He acknowledges the pain he caused. Some of us need to start there. We need to go apologize to someone today for hurting them. To humble ourselves and admit the truth. The problem lies in us.

He moves on to talk about the universal experience of hurting another human being: guilt Despite how terrible it is to feel guilt, I can tell you to not be able to feel it anymore is worse. I know people like that. They have no remorse. What that means is that your heart is very, very hard. It’s so hard you cannot even feel when you cause others pain anymore. Some people are so warped they even enjoy the infliction of pain. Our conscience is a gift really. Don’t suppress it. It tells us when we need to make amends. Make them. That is repentance.

I think what is particularly moving about this song is that the very person he hurt is the cause of him becoming a better person. Here is the chorus:

“I found a reason for me

To change who I used to be

A reason to start over new

And the reason is you.”

Those are incredibly powerful words. What they translate to is that someone realizes you are a very special person. The thought that they hurt something so beautiful, so lovely, decimates them. Yet it also transforms them. That is redemption. I think often of whether I am that kind of person. Is there enough beauty of soul in me that knowing they hurt me would deeply move a man to redemption? That’s the question. I can tell you that’s the kind of inspirational person I aspire to be.

This song is the gospel really. We begin the process of redemption by coming to the end of ourselves. It begins by realizing how terrible, ugly, hard and evil our own hearts are. With those hearts we have gone out and harmed others in our desperate attempts to find life without God. Yet we learn that God himself loved us, despite the fact that we hated Him. In fact he loved us so much he sent Christ to die to save us. It is by that act of love we are moved. We see how beautiful God is and how awful it is to hurt our own creator. He becomes then the ultimate “reason” to “start over new.” In fact, it’s only through God’s help that we really can.

What Susan Boyle and Bilbo Baggins Have in Common

“I knew because my mother told me that God had given me a path to follow and I would gradually find out what that was. I liked the idea of being on a special journey that God created just for me. I always tried to remember that other people’s opinions about me didn’t matter. What mattered was the path that God had laid out for me.” -Susan Boyle

I must say one of the highlights of my year was going on You Tube and watching the video of Susan Boyle perform at the Britain’s Got Talent semi-final. When she walked out in that ridiculous outfit and then gave that wiggle I was sold. I loved her immediately. Then when she opened her mouth and blew them away with those pipes I was smiling like the Cheshire cat. Then I read her book: Susan Boyle, The Woman I Was Meant To Be. When I found out that she had some learning difficulties and had been made fun of and bullied a lot of her life I loved her even more. It is so satisfying in life when the underdog wins. She mentioned that this year she was going to perform for the Pope. Take that you wee bullies! I hope that throws you on your arse. Actually Susan didn’t have a bad word to say about those who had mistreated her and seemed to be taking her new found fame in stride. It was very touching to hear how much love and admiration she had for her mother who had cared so well for Susan her whole life. After her mother died Susan was really at a loss and struggling to find purpose. It is exactly at this juncture that she makes the decision that forever changes her life: to try out for Britain’s Got Talent.

In the book she describes getting ready to go for the semi-final. She got up early and put on her dress, finishing off the outfit with black tights and white open-toed shoes. Then she set off in the early morning sloshing through the gray dismal rainy day and getting her feet wet in the puddles. It took six bus exchanges to get her there and though she made it on time they did not have her listed as being a contestant at that time slot. She had to wait many, many hours to get her chance to perform but she was determined to see it through. By the time she got to go out on stage it had been a long day for the judges slogging through very little talent. Apparently Simon Cowell heaved a weary sigh when she told him what she wanted to sing: “I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.” Not a very auspicious beginning for world fame. Yet that is exactly what it was. It was a great delight to see crabby Simon Cowell beaming at the end. Isn’t it great when we get smacked in the face with our prejudice and come up short?

When she left that morning for the semi-final she talked about how she felt like turning back and going back to bed in her nice cozy home. That is exactly how Bilbo Baggins felt in The Hobbit. He was about to embark on the adventure of his life and all he really wanted to do was snuggle up in his hobbit hole and have a second breakfast with tea. Many times during his adventure which involved dwarves, elves, trolls, wargs, goblins, wizards, a slimy creature called Gollum and of course a fantastic fire-breathing dragon guarding a treasure, Bilbo thought longingly of his hobbit hole. Tolkien describes their journey: “It was a hard path and a dangerous path, a crooked way and a lonely and a long.” Yet both Bilbo and Susan exemplify the axiom: nothing ventured nothing gained. They both pushed themselves out into the wider world and came back with treasure. If that doesn’t give you the inspiration to go for it, nothing will. Who knows? Maybe you will get to sing for the Pope.

Nickelback: If Today Was Your Last Day

It’s true. I’m a hard rock girl. I love it, I always have. So I have to admit I am a fan of Nickelback. Kroeger has real talent and I love his beautiful, gravelly voice. They put out their fair share of trashy sex songs not worth listening to. Yet they really bring an offering with “If Today Was Your Last Day.” It’s a song that makes you pause and really think. Not many hard rock bands do that.

Life is short. One of my high school classmates died at thirty-six of breast cancer. Another high school classmate’s husband died suddenly and she was widowed in her mid-thirties. This song asks you: If today was your last day, how would you live it? Moreover are we living each day to the fullest? One of the lyrics reminds us, “each day is a gift and not a given right.” I know I tend to take my days for granted, sort of always assuming I’ll have tomorrow. One of the other lines in the song asks “Could you say goodbye to yesterday?” I know for me one of the greatest hindrances to moving forward is being drug down by the past. The past sometimes feels like the proverbial albatross around my neck. I think for many the past weighs them down. Included in the past is the forgiveness of enemies. I must say of all the tasks the past requires, that is by far the hardest for me. The song suggests the past is one of the things we must let go in order to embrace today. Another line says “Sometimes that first step is the longest stride.” That’s so true isn’t it? In any endeavor, the first step is always the longest. That first step for many of us is to lay down the baggage of the past.

The song really presses people to “make their mark” and to realize “every second counts.” What I love the most is the refrain. It by far is the most inspirational.

This song really pushes me in a lot of ways. Sometimes I feel very, very discouraged by all that has happened to me. Many things were out of my control and I feel like they just can’t be redeemed. I also get drug down by the weight of my own mistakes. Yet the song practically propels us forward. “It’s never too late to shoot for the stars!” It’s never too late. That is a message of great hope. The weight of the past and lack of forgiveness is heavy, but hope “never asked a crumb of me” says Dickinson in her famous poem. We need to exchange the weight of the past for the unburdened hope of the future. That’s the message for me. Maybe it’s the message for you too.

Eminem’s Love The Way You Lie

No doubt Marshall Mather’s has influence, whether we like it or not.  He launched his sixth straight No. 1 album; selling 741,000 copies in the first week of Recovery’s release.  Here I need to make a disclaimer: I don’t endorse Eminem. I don’t own any of his albums.   I am not recommending you listen to his music or watch his videos.   That being said, since Mather’s has so much influence I wanted to see how he addressed a topic of great importance to me: domestic violence.  Now here is what I say: if you have influence, do something great with it.  Marshall had his chance in the song “Love The Way You Lie.”   Combining with pop sensation Rihanna, he raps out some intense lyrics about a relationship fraught with domestic violence.   The fact that he and Rihanna sing it gives the song a lot of weight and lends some seriousness to the message.  It is well known that Rihanna was badly beaten by then boyfriend and R&B singer Chris Brown in 2009.  Pictures of her bruised and swollen face were leaked on the internet.   It was terrible to see her beauty marred.  Mather’s himself has had a notoriously volatile relationship with his ex-wife Kim.  He has written very violent, controversial songs about her.  So “Love The Way You Lie” is Eminem rapping a song about himself.  So what message does he deliver?

He begins with a lyrical description of rage which is accurate.  Rage is frightening to see in action.  “As long as the wrong seems right, it’s like I’m in flight.”  Anger has that way of spiraling out of control until you just see red.   He’s right.  Men truly don’t know their own strength.  He has the decency to say that men should feel ashamed when they resort to cowardice to keep control.

He accurately describes how many abusive relationships start out so well.  It seems like the best relationship of your life and you can’t imagine that person ever hurting you.   He goes on to describe what happens when rage takes over and it isn’t pretty.  Pushing, pulling, scratching, biting.  Are we talking about human beings here?  He implies sometimes we don’t get another chance to make things right.  I can tell you from experience, that is true. That girl he watched walking away through the window pane, that was me.

I appreciated that he talked about the reality of domestic violence being a pattern.  Yet he raps: “your temper is just as bad as mine is.”  This is getting close to implying equal responsibility for the violence.  I feel he deeply disappoints here.  Violence is usually about one person oppressing another.  It’s the use of force to subjugate, demean, punish, harm and keep under control.  Violence is never, ever about love.  Violence is never, ever about passion.  That is my main issue with the video.  It alternates between showing people being very passionate and then fighting violently.   It gives the impression that the two are fused.  I have no doubt that in the initial stages an abusive relationship could be passionate.  Yet after years of continuing subjugation, confinement and control you have a woman who is more of an automaton, than a vibrant, passionate, alive being.  There is nothing sexy about violence either.  Rihanna did not look sexy in real life with her bruised face, black eye and cut lip.  Lacerations in your mouth where your teeth dig into your flesh are not sexy.  Thankfully Rihanna did understand that an abuser will lie to try and keep the victim in place, and she got out.  “I apologize even though I know it’s lies.”   Relationships in which there is violence are a lie.

If we are going to make a statement about violence let’s make the strongest, most accurate statement possible.  Violence is terrible.  It ruins lives.  It brings changes that are irrevocable.  It causes divorce.  It causes horrendous destruction that carries down through generations.  Violence is a vicious cycle.  Violence is not love.  Violence is usually about one person oppressing another.  The responsibility of the violence falls on the offender, not equally on both parties.  Violence is not passion.  We cannot say we love someone we murder.  Violence harms children who observe it.  Violence infiltrates every level of society.  Violence is epidemic worldwide.  Violence is wrong.  Violence needs to end.  That’s the most important part of the message and Eminem doesn’t nail it.