"[If Parliament] may take from me one shilling in the pound, what security have I for the other nineteen?" ~ Richard Henry Lee
Eminem Joins the ABB Mosh Pit
The Anybody But Bush (ABB) movement has a new recruiter. Rapper Eminem has released a new video 'Mosh' that urges America's disaffected youth to do their civic duty to remove Bush by engaging in the revolutionary act of voting. Directed by Ian Inaba of the Guerrilla News Network website, the anti-Bush video has all the accoutrements of rebel chic and revolutionary images that are appropriated and safely channeled into the government-approved outlet of obediently voting for the State-sanctioned candidates in a rigged game. Eminem wants you to fall in line and play their game on their terms. This sort of inside-the-ballot-box thinking is as daring and revolutionary as a Britney Spears Pepsi commercial. I'm sure it will complement MTV's superficial 'choose or lose' campaign quite nicely. As Inaba recently explained, "The goal was to make a video that inspired young people to vote because they too often disregard it as a powerless exercise." He further added that, 'voting is the most powerful act we all have to voice our opinion and effect change.' This sort of thinking mirrors the na've and self-delusional rhetoric emanating from the Punkvoter.com crowd who traded in their do-it-yourself ethic to play a subservient role within the fold of the Democratic Party. The very punk culture that often attacked the decadent institutions of American Empire and the bankrupt political system is now engaged in a campaign to prop up and support those very institutions. They are urging pissed off youth to channel their rage and hatred into the very system that generated it. They've gone from declaring the system is rotten and deserves to crumble to the system is legitimate and deserves to be rescued ' we just need to get rid of a few bad apples. Not to mention taking advantage of the opportunity to sell lots of CDs and anti-Bush paraphernalia in the process. With a rebel yell Eminem has joined the ABB parade and vowed to remove George Bush. He has registered to vote for the first time in his life and is encouraging others to participate and validate this rotten system by voting. Although Eminem hasn't decided who he is voting for, he recently told Rolling Stone magazine he likes some of the things Kerry has said. The same Kerry that columnist William Safire declared as the 'newest neoconservative' whose positions on foreign policy were 'more hawkish than President Bush.' The same Kerry that not only supported the Patriot Act, he actually wrote parts of it! The culture industry is in the business of recuperating and co-opting efforts that might directly confront the system. It is more than happy to dish out a generous supply of rhetoric and images of resistance and revolution to the masses so long as it is safely channeled into activities that do not aggressively question the prevailing orthodoxies and do not openly challenge the legitimacy of the system itself. Order must be maintained and subservience to authority must be upheld. Despite all the radical imagery, Eminem's video fits this role quite well. In the 'Mosh' video, Citizen Eminem sees himself as the vanguard leader of a youth rebellion and he is determined to mobilize these disaffected citizens for action. He leads an army of angry, disenchanted youth in black bloc-style hooded sweatshirts through rain-swept streets. The dangerous-looking crowd continues to grow larger as Eminem's army marches towards the White House. The video eventually builds to a climax where his massive army of threatening radicals storms the White House. But what do they do? Do they try to tear down and remove the oppressive institutions responsible for much of the misery and alienation in their lives and communities? No. The mob quietly gets in line in an orderly fashion to vote. The video ends with '"Vote Tuesday, November 2." Regardless of who wins, we lose. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?