Eminem takes the rap in Australia
SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- A wave of moral indignation is sweeping Australia over bad language, aggressive lyrics and a pending tour by the U.S. rap singer Eminem.
Although Eminem's music has been on open sale ever since the young man with attitude began to make his mark, his proposed visit now has anxious parents concerned about what impressionable children may hear and think.
Conservatives are suggesting that the Grammy winner's concerts should be restricted to adults-only, locking out thousands of teenage fans from what they see as violent and anti-gay lyrics.
Even the Australian Prime Minister has aired an opinion, saying that the rapper's lyrics were "sickening and offensive."
"I think we have been silent for too long about the impact of some of these things. You cannot keep bombarding people with violent messages and anti-social messages without them having some impact," says John Howard, who is known to value the traditional family lifestyle of the 1950s.
Debates about morals are not unusual in a country where beach inspectors once barred the bikini, and where classic literature and films have occasionally been forced from the shelves and screens.
While the prime minister finds the lyrics demeaning, others class the fuss as free publicity for a performer who is simply the latest to stretch the boundaries of public taste.
Prodded to offer an opinion, Michael Gudinski, the entrepreneur behind the Eminem tour, said: "Look, I'm a promoter bringing out one of the biggest acts in the world. I wouldn't let my daughter go and see it."
Others were less concerned. Writer Michael Witheford, addressing the debate in Melbourne, said: "For some of us it is a breathtakingly na´ve overreaction bordering on black comedy."
'Evil incarnate in a baseball cap? Hey baby, he's just rock 'n' roll' read a headline in the Sydney Morning Herald.
'Cover our modesty'
"So often has the very moral fabric of society been under threat by musicians that it's a wonder there's enough fabric left to cover our modesty," wrote journalist Bernard Zuel.
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock is now deciding whether Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers III, should be granted a visa for his end-of-July concerts. Being on probation for three gun-related charges may not help Eminem's case.
Coincidentally, the Federal Government is reviewing the classification and labeling of all new CDs and may restrict some sales to over-18s.
Jessica Kaplonyi, 14, is one Eminem fan. But she told a newspaper: "No-one really takes the music seriously. In my opinion, it's all an act."
She would like to go to an Eminem concert but cannot afford a ticket.
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