As of this pre-November 2 writing, the animated video for Eminem's anti-Bush tirade Mosh is enjoying heavy rotation on the internet and is being called one of the most important music videos around. While it is encouraging to see a rap artist deviate from the rump-shaking, Moet-sipping, self-parodying rut that mainstream hiphop videos currently occupy, the outpouring of praise seems a tad excessive.
Animated in a hybrid style that is at times as crude as Scooby Doo and as fluid as Waking Life, the video for Mosh is dark, angry, and brooding. It opens with a plane crashing into a building off screen and the infamous My Pet Goat scene with Slim Shady sitting in for George W. The video quickly progresses to shots of Em banging his fists on a wall that is covered with newspaper clippings with headlines about Iraq, Halliburton, and the Patriot Act. Mosh's most poignant scene shows a soldier returning home to his wife, who holds out a notice that he has been reassigned to Iraq--a simple and effective illustration of the backdoor draft currently in effect. Soon afterwards, the soldier's wife receives an eviction notice while the TV screen shows Bush handing out tax cuts to the wealthy. In scenes like this, it's almost impossible not to leap up and applaud Eminem and the video director's boldness in getting these messages out. From there, the video shows our angry protagonist leading a black hoodied army through the streets, pumping their fists in the air, the perfect image of an angry mob. As the music and the visual tension rises, the horde charges up the steps of the White House, leading to the video's inevitable climax. The door flies open, Eminem removes his executioner-style hood and… registers to vote?
OK, I know that's the correct civil and political move to make, but as far as dramatic constructs go, that was the biggest climatic fizzle since Y2K. As my wife so directly put it after seeing the video for the first time: "I thought he was going to assassinate Bush, at least." And while that may be an inappropriate and unrealistic outcome for a music video, it would at least pack a little more bang than encouraging kids to vote weeks after registration has ended.