Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gay and Phat. (Notes from a Blonde)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gay and Phat. (Notes from a Blonde)

Article excerpt

OK, first Eminem wins the Oscar. I was standing backstage when it happened, wondering if everybody in the Academy had decided to let their kids mark their ballots this year, but my surprise was nothing compared to Barbra Streisand's. She had actually gotten dressed and left the house, figuring she was at least going to have a nice photo op with Paul Simon or maybe Bono. And here she was, standing onstage, presenting an award to Eminem. And not even to Eminem but to one of his collaborators, a young man who looked and dressed distressingly like Barbra during her Esther Hoffman in A Star Is Born period. Oy, as millions were heard to remark.

If Eminem, long reputed by everyone except Elton John to be a homophobe or at least a wholesale purveyor of homo hate, had made nice enough with show business to win an Oscar, then the world of hip-hop, hitherto blissfully ignorable, had to be taken seriously. The recording industry evidently has not been as enlightened as the movies, choosing to ignore Eminem in general categories and give the big Grammy to Norah Jones, the Johnny Mathis of this year. But the success of the movie 8 Mile had a lot to do with Hollywood's embrace of Marshall Mathers--not just the box-office success, but the undeniable effort he made to answer his critics on the gay issue.

In the movie, Eminem's character launches a rhyming attack against an assembly-line worker who disses the gay guy at the plant. He's proud of who he is and he's not hiding, Eminem says, or tortured couplets to that effect. He is therefore not to be dissed.

Eminem has said he used the word fag because in his world fag equals weak. Now that he's been made aware that fag has some other meanings--for real?--he has backed away from it. It's been replaced in popular culture lately by the word gay, which is the new weak. In a universe where bad is good and awesome is thank you and phat is almost orgasmic, gay means sad, weak, goofy, or pathetic beyond repair. …

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