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Oliver, A.L. (2002). It's all the Rage: a Study of a Cultural Icon. Psychoanal. Rev., 89(5):665-680.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Review, 89(5):665-680

It's all the Rage: a Study of a Cultural Icon

Allen L. Oliver, D Min. LMFT

A fragile figure wrapped in a hand-me-down greatcoat huddles in a fetal position in front of what might be a back-alley loading dock. His arms are wrapped tightly around his body. On the pavement at his feet are an empty pill bottle and one more “dead soldier.” He is leaning against a barred opening that is draped with chains. With a sad, frightened look, he peers out at the camera. Lost in hell a minute before dying, it's “The Real Slim Shady.” (description of the cover image of The Marshall Mathers LP [compact disk]. Detroit: Aftermath/Interscope, 2000)

The Marshall Mathers LP is an autobiography rendered in the demanding rhythms of rap. Interestingly, there is a primitive psychoanalytic commentary that runs throughout the compact disk. It is a scathing indictment of the oppression wrought by the patriarchy upon all the underclass, especially women and children. Paradoxically, this indictment is leveled by the current poster child for the patriarchy. This intense musical offering is a caustic self-analysis of a young man who has become the cultural icon of millions of teens. As such, it may also serve as a point of reference for an initial understanding of the psychic experience of those fans screaming “Fuck you.” Sex and aggression beyond Freud's wildest imaginings, sung out in a stream—no, river—of consciousness that would make James Joyce jealous; this work is a dream sequence mixed with a conscious awareness that lifts a middle finger to the adult world that would be shocked if it could ever tear itself away from The Sopranos.

Eminem (Marshall Bruce Mathers III) is a true phenomenon, embodying the fondest dreams of a contemporary youthful underclass. Blonde and blue-eyed, with fair skin, Marshall Mathers III was born in Kansas City on October 17, 1974.

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