Rolling Stone: Riding the Lucrative Hate Bandwagon
by Sue Scharff
The cover of the August 3 issue of Rolling Stone promises to tell readers all about how "Furor erupts over gay-bashing songs: Eminem's Hate Rhymes." Further down, we are offered the inside scoop on "The Twisted Tale of the Net's Biggest Porn King."
There's a connection here. Both these men--the gay bashing musician and the internet pornographer--make enormous amounts of money through unquestionably immoral practices. Is Rolling Stone's purpose to expose and criticize these men and their practices? Or are the editors simply so impressed by the wealth-through-plunder phenomenon that they feel inspired to give a front page spotlight to those who are especially good at it?
The contents page offers clues about the story on pornographer and businessman Seth Warshavsky: "The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, even Barbara Walters: All of them took Warshavsky seriously--looking askance, perhaps, at the way he was making money but nonetheless impressed..."
Eminem (or, as I like to call him, Enema) gets away with the same game: in a previous issue of Rolling Stone he was given a four-star lead review despite his "insistent, tiring gay bashing." (Tiring?!)
The media, with Rolling Stone at front and center, are apparently ready to excuse everything these people do, regardless of how abhorrent it is. They outright ignore the harm caused by pornography, and express only lip service concern about that caused by misogyny and homophobia. Mostly they seem amused by these men. Why? Just look how rich these people (white straight men!) are getting! Aren't they just FAB-ulous?!
The story on Warshavsky and his company, Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), is written by a former employee, Evan Wright, and covers nearly five full pages. Wright makes remarkably little mention of the nature of Warshavsky's business. Instead, it's all about what a smooth, clever liar Warshavsky is--oh, and also, what a psycho. Plenty of indictment of how Warshavsky does business; no comment at all on the business he is in.
Another betrayal featured in the article: investment analyst Gail Bronson (a woman?) quoted in Time magazine as saying, "So far as whether [IEG's IPO--initial public offering] would be successful, you betcha. We're talking real revenue, real earnings, real product." Oh, sorry: I thought we were talking about real women, real people. But as we already know from reading stories like this, women don't matter: not to pornographers, not to rappers, not to the media.
Rolling Stone's cavalier treatment of a hard-core pornographer carries over into its approach to Enema. Anthony DeCurtis' article on this white rapper superficially focuses on his homophobia, scarcely addressing his rampant woman-hating.
In the interview that accompanies the story, the rapper lets DeCurtis pick at the homophobia scab a few times, despite his constant protests over having to "fucking explain myself." DeCurtis could easily have challenged Enema on his woman-hating: Enema himself offered DeCurtis a golden opportunity when he insisted that he has "a good heart. I care for my family. I care about my daughter." Does DeCurtis take the initiative and ask Enema how he can say he cares about his family and his daughter, yet still record vicious attacks on his mother and refer endlessly to girls and women as "bitches?" By leaving his statement unchallenged, Rolling Stone seems to want us to think that homophobic comments are just too wrong too ignore, but misogyny is acceptable--who cares if he endorses the hatred, abuse, and murder of girls and women?
DeCurtis does manage to ask if Enema would use the word "nigger" on one of his records. Enema insists the word "is not even in my vocabulary." As he says, "I do black music, so out of respect, why would I put that word in my vocabulary?" See, the guy isn't really a bigot after all.
Sadly, typically, DeCurtis and Rolling Stone merely go along on Enema's vile, women-hating ride. Just the usual little bit of lip service, a lot of dismissal, and the inevitable reduction of women and girls into utter non-existence.