Michele Catalano defends Marshall Mathers’ latest controversial lyric:

F- money. I don’t rap for dead presidents. I’d rather see the president dead.

There is no mention of Eminem wanting to personally kill the president himself. Which part of that do you not understand?

Furthermore, even if he did say he wanted to kill the president, it’s music, people. It’s a form of art, which is a form of self expression. Eminem haters, meet free speech. I don’t believe you two are acquainted.

I wouldn’t call Eminem’s stuff art, or at least not good art. Of course, I can’t believe hip hop and its variants have survived–indeed, become increasingly popular–for two decades. As the immortal line from “Next of Kin” had it, “Have you ever tried to hum rap?”

Still, this doesn’t rise to the level of threat. There’s clearly no imminent danger nor is Matthers inciting people to kill the president. (On a related note, I’m pretty sure that neither Bob Marley nor Eric Clapton actually shot the sheriff.)

But free speech works both ways. He’s free to cash in with lyrics like this and people are free to condemn him for these lyrics. It is, after all, not entirely implausible that some sick individual who idolizes Eminem will try to in fact kill the president as a result of listening to this. That wouldn’t make it Mather’s fault, of course, any more than Jodie Foster is to blame for John Hinckley’s attempt on President Reagan; but it is a fair subject for discourse.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Perhaps his album sales are falling so he did this as a publicity stunt. It’s proven to work, create a controversy, suddenly find yourself all over the news and your sales pick up.

    Jennifer Martinez sends

  2. robin says:

    I keep hoping to hear Matther has died suddenly and mysteriously. Of course I’ve felt like that since I first heard of the bastard.

  3. Paul says:

    Soooo Lemme see if I get her point….

    She says the people condemning M&M to shut up because it is a free speech issue. Then after calling for their silence she bashes them for not being familiar with free speech.

    I wonder if her dictionary has the word ‘irony’ in it.

  4. DANEgerus says:

    Except that theres the old ‘Yelling Fire in A theatre’ thing… there are actually specific laws that ban making threats against some government officials regardless of ‘Free Speech’.


    With all the hate-mongering amongst the (D)ummos I think you really have to ask the question:

    “How long before the steel-jackets start to fly”

    Remember that Al Sharpton twice has incited his own followers to kill Jews… TWICE.