We watched every minute of the two-hour MTV Movie Awards show last night (except the commercials, naturally). This is a yearly cultural duty for me. At the age of 56, and growing older by the second, I don’t want to become a old fogy who is out-of-touch with what’s happening (though my very use of that archaic term indicates that I probably am).
Nonetheless, rap performances usually make me hit my digital video recorder’s “forward 30 seconds” button repeatedly until the rapper is off the screen. However, I managed to watch all of Eminem’s “song,” or whatever it is you call it, this year. I didn’t understand a word of what he said, but that’s typical.
I grew up listening to Bob Dylan’s 60’s version of rap, such as the great “Maggie’s Farm.” So I’m cool with minimal-melody talking music. The difference is that I could understand what Dylan was saying even though I couldn’t really understand what he meant.
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks.
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks.
The National Guard stands around his door.
Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.
With Eminem and other rappers, I’m pretty sure I’d get their meaning if I could get their words. I don’t sense a lot of subtlety with rap. Eminem seemed to be saying something about his mother and childhood, judging from the photos flashing on the screen behind him, so his incessant crotch-grabbing seemed incongruous—except perhaps as a reminder of the act that resulted in his birth.
Usually I can find answers to anything on the Internet. Searching for “rap crotch grabbing meaning” is a mostly dry hole on Google, aside from a reference to a promising scholarly article that I’d have to either pay $12 or join the American Anthropology Association to be able to read. I did come across a theory that “rappers spend entire shows with their hands glued to their balls, fearing the intense bass vibrations will shake them out of the sack.” Could be.
I also learned that ex-Sen. Zell Miller, the Democratic turncoat who gave an insane speech at last year’s Republican national convention, is really down on rap and crotch grabbing. Now I’m feeling better about the practice, since if Zell Miller hates it there must a good reason to like it.
On the positive side of the MTV Movie Awards, child actress Dakota Fanning was too adorable for words. Which means I should shut up, but that’s not my style. Fanning has amazing poise and presence. Not just for an 11 year old—for anybody. She was our favorite winner, along with Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman did a nice riff on Eminem’s crotch-grabbing. He thanked several people associated with “Meet the Fockers” with a crotch grab, including his wife. I hope Eminem was watching and now realizes how ridiculous he looks (fat chance).
All in all I came away pleased that I’d seen a good share of the movies that won awards. The MTV Movie Awards are determined by MTV viewers, so I must still have some psychic connections with youth culture. Of movies that won an award I had seen Napoleon Dynamite, Mean Girls, Meet the Fockers, and Kill Bill Vol. 2. Hey, that’s four out of ten, not too bad for an old fogey.
And I should get extra credit for having seen a comparatively obscure nominated film, “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” A Christian Science Monitor review said, “The multicultural cast gives a shred of substance to what's otherwise a standard adolescent gross-out flick.”
Dude! Standard adolescent gross-out flick—that’s my sort of movie, though I have to admit that “Harold & Kumar” can’t compare to Cheech and Chong’s body of work in the “stoner cinema” category.