Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Source & Ray Benzino have caused a stir by pulling a skeleton out of Eminem's closet, revealing that he is apparently a racist. Add this to his already well-known misogynic and homophobic attitudes and what you have is a sad individual. I can't defend Eminem and if he really is a racist, his fans will continue to abandon him and go pick up Jay-Z's "The Black Album" (which I can say is truly a masterpiece, as far as rap goes. I haven't heard anything that sounded this good since Nas dropped "Illmatic").

The only problem is that Ray Benzino is closer to Eminem than he realizes. Perhaps not in terms of unit sales--Eminem is a multi-platinum artist while Benzino has reportedly been forced to use his connections at the Source Magazine to even get his own albums released--but they are from the same club when it comes to hating gays and women.

Benzino-"Die Another Day"
"Tell Haley it ain't safe no more (nah)

Daddy better watch yo' back at the candystore

We Fucked up, resort to plan B

Fuck around she and up like Jon Benet Ramsey (that's right)

Matter of fact you better check the DNA (what)

She probably ain't yours, and where's your wife Kim anyway

She's on her knees somewhere suckin' 50 Cent

I know you wishin' you were there cause you on his dick

You dress in drag, you huggin' up on Elton John

You closet fag, I'm a king you a little punk

You the rap david doer the rap bibler

When you consider that Benzino is referring to kidnapping Eminem's daughter, who's not yet out of middle school, you have to stop and wonder if this guy is really smoking the rocks he brags about selling in his songs. Eminem may be the class clown of hip hop, or even an obnoxious Elvis that is truly stealing an urban art form from the "streets", but that doesn't give Ray Benzino the right to single out Eminem for doing the same thing he does; stir up hatred towards people who are different, and try to make money by spitting vile words over a bass drum and a snare.

That's why we should just focus on the positive--hip hop is gaining momentum worldwide. I can count many good rappers or hip hop collectives that are making waves (shortlist? dead prez, Outkast, Rascalz, Buck 65, Jay-Z {gotta love "the black album"!}, Sixtoo, Obie Trice(?), Nas, Talib Kweli, Nappy Roots, even 50 Cent drops the occasional gem and the list goes on) so why should we fixate on a beef between two women-hating, gay-taunting brutes with some sort of love-hate relationship? I say love-hate because Benzino's Source magazine gave Eminem one of his first big breaks by choosing him as an "Unsigned Hype" choice early in his career. Let's just pop in "99 Problems" in the stereo, turn the bass way up, and take a nice haul off the chronic. There, isn't that better? (Damn right!)

We may be on the verge of some sort of major war in Asia. Taiwan has been considering permanent independence from mainland China since 1949, when Mao Zedong and his followers launched the "cultural revolution" and 2 million nationalists escaped to the Taiwan peninsula. Today, Taiwanese people enjoy some democratic freedoms and human rights, while China continues to suffer from totalitarian rule. Chinese citizens may have economic freedoms but they remain socially tied to a system that denies them basic liberties.

I may spend a significant amount of time criticizing American foreign policy in this blog, but I must concede that China also frightens me because they are a superpower without the American constitution, a potential global bully without a conscience. At least America has people capable of changing their government if it goes too far into extremism (in 2004, when Bush is thrown out of office and onto the Whitehouse lawn, democrats everywhere will dance in the streets). China doesn't have this luxury. Their leadership only cares about its own interests.

This brings us to the Taiwan issue. Here is a quote from, the official website of the state-sponsored "Xinhua News Agency" (their mission statement includes the words "Whenever you need news, come to first; Whatever information you search, surf first." Sounds inviting, huh?) ***Warning...Irony Alert!!!***

"Xu said that Taiwan's move for the referendum deprives the democratic rights of 1.3 billion compatriots on the mainland and it is also dividing Taiwan itself, which "disregards human rights and tramples democracy ".

They also warn Taiwan of "crossing a red line". Other articles have even suggested that China would go to war to take back the Taiwanese territory. America has been selling weapons to Taiwan for years (20.7 Billion USD in arms sales from 1994 to 2001) and everyone agrees that it would be virtually impossible for Taiwan to successfully defend itself from the mighty Chinese military. If Taiwan votes to become independent from China forever, there will surely be a war in the Asian region.

Will the U.S. or other nations take sides in this conflict? Doing so would mean a world war because China is powerful enough to take on several nations. Taiwan would be batted aside like a gnat and Russia has signed a mutual protection pact with China, so they would not interfere, but other nations in that area (India, Japan, etc.) would probably not sit idly by. War is a scary thought and I hope that Chinese leaders temper their plans with logic. If America sides with Taiwan versus the Chinese juggernaut, this would probably be the end of the Chinese communist régime.

If you don't think that the U.S. would do such a thing, consider this quote from Richard Lawless, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs.

"(Bush) has reaffirmed his committment to the Taiwan Relations Act and has stated that "America will do whatever it takes to help Taiwan defend itself."

This could mean war. I can already see the wagons circling.