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Eminem Was Right: What Can Today's Music Tell Us About Our Youth

1383 words - 6 pages

Eminem Was RightThroughout the years many methods have been utilized in making a macroscopic analysis of the youth of America. Traditionally, when using music to make this analysis, the overall influence of pop music on adolescents and children would be examined. Mary Eberstadt flips this logic around and asks the question: "What is it about today's music, violent and disgusting though it may be, that resonates with so many American kids?" By answering this question, Eberstadt hopes to not to learn what music "does" to adolescents, but rather what music can "tell" about them. Is it possible that today's pop music can be used as a lens to glimpse into the lives of today's youth? Eberstadt finds her evidence through examining many of the lyrics written by current pop stars, along with multiple interviews, newspaper, and magazine articles. After reading just a few pages it was fairly obvious that Eberstadt's main conclusion is that the dissolution of the modern American family is mirrored in today's music.Before I was even going to attempt at making a cursory analysis of this article I decided to check up on a few of the references that Eberstadt used. Her fist reference is to the August 2002 edition of the magazine, Blender. She references a piece of information from writer Mark Shaw saying 50% of parents get divorced. No credible source for this statistic is cited in either article. Eberstedt then goes on to take a direct quote from an interview with Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 about the effect divorce has on kids. "Divorce is such a normal thing today and hardly anybody ever thinks how the kids feel about it or how they are taking it, but in the U.S. about half of all the kids go through it." I didn't realize Mark Hoppus had the credentials to make a sociological analysis about divorce. Eberstedt explored Papa Roach's album Infest which sold more than 3 million albums. She once again assumes credibility in a non credible source (MTV.com) to explain success of this album. "The pained, confessional songs struck a nerve with disenfranchised listeners who were tired of the waves of directionless aggression spewing from the mouths of other rap-rockers..." However a recurring theme, divorce, is exemplified by three of the members of this band. Just like Papa Roach - Everclear, Blink 182, Pink, Good Charlotte, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Tupac Shakur, and Eminem all came from broken homes. Eberstadt confirms this through the examination of their lyrics. Using this analysis, she makes a very implicit assumption about divorce in America. She implies that almost all kids live with their moms after a divorce. According to the 2002 U.S. census bureau, about 1.7 million single fathers are maintaining their own household with children. While this number is still significantly lower than the 7.5 million single mothers maintaining their own household given by the 2002 census, it is still indicates that children living with single fathers make up almost 20% of the...

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