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New Interactive 
Single Serving 
by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT: 
A biblically-based, psychoSONGanalysis of the song/music video, 
When I'm Gone: by rap artists, Eminem 

As a prelude to the review presented below, hear/download this free one-song "soundtrack": 

When You're Gone (My reply to Eminem's When I'm Gone) 
Words and music by Dr. BLT ©2006 
http://www.drblt.com/music/em.mp3 

Have you ever loved someone so much you'd give an arm for?
Not the expression, no, literally give an arm for?
When they know they are your heart
And you know you are their armor
And you will destroy anyone who will try to harm her 
While other rappers are busy getting rich (or dying trying) by hiding their true selves, presenting a false persona, and rapping about nothing, at least nothing of substance, Eminem is becoming the paragon of authenticity.  In his latest song and in his latest corresponding music video, he is about as transparent, about as personal, and about as deep as a person can be.  When I'm Gone latest deftly depicts a struggle many men have come to know: the struggle between family ties and a fiercely passionate drive to carve out a legacy for themselves.  The agony inherent in this internal conflict is brilliantly portrayed in both the song and the video.  In the video, Eminem appears to be just one of the "addicts" in an NA/AA-type group.  Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are based upon the Jungian notion that lives are transformed by telling ones story and revealing oneself in a group that supports its members holds them accountable.  In this group, Eminem steps up to a mic he is much less familiar with than the typical stage mic.  He bears his soul to the group, and in the process, makes amends to his daughter, Hallie, and to his wife, Kim.  If there was a one-song "soundtrack" to the recent ceremony in which Eminem and his heretofore estranged wife, Kim renewed their wedding vows, this would have to be it.  It is as poignant and revealing as a song can possibly be.      
 
But what happens when karma turns right around and bites you
And everything you stand for turns on you to spite you
What happens when you become the main source of her pain
"Daddy look what I made?"
"Dad's gotta go catch a plane"
"Daddy where's mummy? I can't find mummy, where is she?"
I don't know, go play, Hailie baby your daddy's busy.
Daddy's writin' this song, this song ain't gon' write itself
I give you one underdog, then you gotta swing by yourself
Then to write a rhyme in a song and tell her you love her
And put hands on her mother who's a spittin' image of her
That's slim shady, yeah baby slim shady's crazy
Shady made me, but tonight, Shady's rock-a-by baby 
I held my baby daughter as I saw Eminem's new music video for When I'm Gone, and when I saw the look on Eminem's daughter Hailie's face as he left her for the rigors of the road, it made me never want to stray to far, or be so physically or emotionally distant that it causes her as much pain as Eminem's frequent, prolonged departures have apparently caused his wife and daughter.  It caused me never to want to see that same look in my wife's face either.  Moreover, if you look at the expression in Eminem's face in the video, you can tell that he shares their pain, and deeply regrets not being there for his family.   I never want that expression to appear on my face either. 

This is a song for both men and women.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my patients as a therapeutic tool, or to recommend it to any man or woman feeling the effects of this family/ambition struggle.  The song, and the video can benefit men by helping them clarify their values, helping them to put their lives in the proper perspective, and helping them to get their priorities in order.   The song can also help women appreciate the painful struggle that men go through.  Of course, women are not necessarily strangers to ambition, and many women who have a passion for their work find themselves caught up in the same struggle.  As a way to illustrate this very point, allow me to introduce another Eminem, or, to be more precise, another M&M.  

The story of Mary and Martha is a story of the struggle between task-orientation, and process-orientation.  In this New Testament story, Jesus rewards the behavior of one of these women over the other.  This is where your homework assignment comes in.  What I'd like you to read the following story of M&M (Mary and Martha):

INTERACTIVE SINGLE SONG ACTIVITY 

Luke 10:38-42 (King James Version) 
King James Version (KJV) 

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 
 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 

 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 

 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 

 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 

Answer the questions below, then cut, paste and email your answers to drblt@drblt.com for another free mp3: 

1.      What side of Eminem's struggle does Mary represent?  
2.      What side of Eminem's struggle does Martha represent? 
3.      Which woman's behavior is rewarded by Jesus? 
4.      In what way is Eminem obeying Jesus (whether he realizes it or not) by recently putting his wife and child on top of his priority list, and his drive to achieve below his love for his wife and daughter?  

5.      Are you most like Mary or most like Martha in the way you live your life?  
6.      How can you best apply the underlying message in Eminem's song/video, When I'm Gone, and the underlying message in the biblical story of M&M to your life in a way that will reflect the values of Jesus? 

Once again, cut/paste and email your replies to drblt@drblt.com for an additional free mp3.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 Copyright © 1996 - 2006 The Phantom Tollbooth