Remember the summer of 1983, when then Secretary of the Interior James Watt banned the Beach Boys to play at the July 4th concert on The National Mall because they would bring “the wrong element” to the festivities?
I thought James Watt was a jerk for thinking that the Beach Boys — the Beach Boys — would lend to an overly zealous audience. Some drinkin’ and some smokin’ will go on in a crowd that size, almost regardless.
Jumping ahead three decades, I don’t think I’ve turned into someone like James Watt. But The Concert for Valor, which was held last night in Washington, D.C., was the initial attempt for HBO to celebrate Veteran’s Day in the Nation’s Capital. The live event attracted hundreds of thousands of music lovers of all genres and aired free of charge on the cablenet.
On many fronts, the concert/broadcast is a fine idea and the debut event, generally speaking, went well. But generally shouting — profanities, notably the f-bomb, over and over and over — was how talented rapper Eminem (and yes, I’ve purchased some of his music before — I thought “Stan” was brilliant) ended the show. And it provided an ugly exclamation point to the festivities, which were held to raise awareness of, and assist with, veteran’s issues — on a night when such an event should have been presented with the utmost dignity.
Earlier in the evening, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown were also criticized for their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which concerns how the draft/military has always discriminated against the have-nots and have-lesses (hence the line, “I ain’t no millionaire’s son,” among others). Just judging from the responses on social media, many observers thought that selection was also inappropriate for such an event. I can see that, too, though the trio was hardly disrespectful (or in yo’ face) in their presentation.
The concert was held to honor the thousands upon thousands of enlisted men and women who have died defending the U.S. in wars and attacks, as well as the thousands and thousands more who made it back missing a limb or with another impairment. Therefore, the ending of the show was inappropriate, to say the least.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that Eminem would do just what he did, which he does because he can; the higher-ups at HBO have to have known what stage they were setting. And we know that low-class Eminem could care less about what’s appropriate for certain occasions and what isn’t, nor do his fans, who apparently don’t stop and contemplate his often vile lyrics.
While many viewers and concertgoers were rightfully dismayed by the lack of judgement and taste that were exercised by the artist and HBO’s producers, there are also, of course, the apologists and enablers; they’ll say that those who fought for our country were defending Eminem’s very right to say whatever he wants, when he wants.
And sure, he can do that; so can you and I. Freedom of speech important. But so is civility, which was intended to be another cornerstone of our society.
What HBO allowed to happen last night shouldn’t have. Nor should it happen, should they stage The Concert for Valor II next Nov. 11, again. I’m no James Watt, but let’s get back to the right element and stage a diverse, yet properly respectful, event >>> http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/11/controversy-after-eminem-drops-more-than-a-dozen-f-bombs-on-national-mall-during-concert-for-valor/
Here’s more from D.C. public radio station WAMU >>> http://bandwidth.wamu.org/why-eminem-is-a-terrible-fit-for-the-concert-for-valor/
Here are some Tweets from Twitchy >>> http://twitchy.com/2014/11/11/classy-eminem-drops-veterans-day-f-bombs-at-concertforvalor/
More varying views >>> http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/11/people-shocked-eminem-curses-in-concert/
As for Bruce, Grohl and Zac >>> http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/12/springsteens-fortunate-son-at-concert-for-/