Friday, August 20, 2010

A Bad Thing I Think

My new obsession is the video for Eminem's song, "Love the Way You Lie." I'm not going to post it here directly for fear the video will be pulled, but you can find an article with the vid in it at

I first heard this song in the car, and I was captured by Rihanna's haunting chorus. I figured out pretty easily that it was Eminem doing the rap because he always sounds so angry. But as I listened to the actual lyrics, I was horrified. The song is about domestic violence and is very intense.

Then I came across the EW article and actually watched the video. Oh my god. I'm am utterly transfixed by it. I can't tell you how many times I've watched it.

The question posed - does this video glorify domestic violence - is so very valid. Despite the horror of the situation being depicted in both the song itself and the video, the images of Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan are very compelling, very sexy and do in a way glorify DV by almost excusing it as a by-product of intense passion and all-consuming love. When I imagine the stereotype of a DV situation, it certainly doesn't feature a Hollywood-beautiful couple or the desperate love-making in between the bouts of beating the crap out of each other. Heck, my imaginings don't usually include any "each other" in it always seems to be the husband/boyfriend doing most of the beating. When I hear the words "domestic violence" in the news or other real-world situations, my first and only reactions are sadness, disgust and outrage. So why, then, doesn't this video evoke those same feelings?

Funny, though, how too often it's easy to excuse violence as a symptom of great passion. This video and song makes me think of another violence-turns-to-sex scene. In the sixth season episode "Smashed" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike and Buffy are battling it out with no holds barred when things take a sudden turn. The subsequent heat between them is absolutely electric. I know it's very wrong to find anything about that scenario acceptable - and I certainly do not excuse, condone or accept DV in any real-world situation - but I can't help myself for liking that scene so very much.

I honestly don't understand why.


meljean brook said...

I'm torn on the video. I don't think that it's glorifying DV, and that the overall message that it's trying to send is that it's destructive. But! I agree that the message taken away from it is, "It's a by-product of a deep passion."

So despite all of the destruction and pain that it's showing, I can easily, easily see someone saying to themselves, "Oh, well it's normal that we're like this, because it just shows how much we love each other" ... like that's a *good* thing, and an excuse for staying in a relationship that's really very unhealthy.


I do love that scene from Buffy, though. And I also read several scenes in romances where the beating-up-on-each-other turns into crazy hotness. It always depends on the context for me, and almost all of these scenes are in paranormal/fantasy worlds), but it can work. If I ever saw it in a Harlequin Presents, though, I'd throw the book across the room.

Lynn M said...

I agree the context is key. Particularly important, IMO, is the power balance. In the Buffy/Spike scene the power is equal between the two. They are both wailing on each other before things turn sexy. If it were simply one beating up on the other - the way it happens a couple of episodes later when Buffy takes out all of her anger and self-loathing on Spike - then there is absolutely nothing sexy at all going on.

In the Eminem vid, looks like Megan Fox is giving Dominic a run for his money as far as the hitting goes. If the vid showed Dom beating the crap out of Megan and she just huddles in the corner, the sexy-factor would be in the double digit negatives.