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Mariah Carey and Eminem Feud: This Can’t End Well

August 2, 2009

“Asymmetric warfare” in a nutshell means violent struggle between combatants whose resources, strategies, and/or tactics differ significantly.  This is how you might describe the Mariah Carey-Eminem feud if she had reacted to his May 2009 diss track “Bagpipes From Baghdad” (NSFW) by ignoring it or brushing it off,  the most effective strategy in such conflicts.  However, she decided to respond with her own cotton ball “diss” track and video, “Obsessed”, in which Mariah dresses like Eminem and calls someone out (again, Eminem) for “lyin’ that you’re sexin’ me”.

That was a big mistake, because Eminem just released “The Warning” (NSFW), a scorched-earth track that escalates the conflict far beyond what is was, and eviscerates both Mariah and her husband, Nick Cannon.  Crude, explicit, and deliberately provocative, “The Warning” is going to catch hell for its vitriol and misogyny.  It’s also going to sell very well.  Conflict and controversy always do.  The best thing Mariah and Nick could do is denounce the song and the feud, starve the beast, and ignore any Slim Shady-related developments.  Do not—I repeat, do not—have Nick, baby-faced host of “America’s Got Talent” and star of “Drumline” and “Shall We Dance” threaten Eminem again.  This will just exacerbate the situation, and Nick probably doesn’t intimidate a guy who grew up in Detroit.

I’m not defending Eminem.  Who knows why he started this whole thing, or why he’s being such an asshole about it.  His allegations of their romantic entanglements are probably false.  It doesn’t much matter now, because Mariah, you don’t do diss tracks.  You do bubblegum pop.  Before you put out another cap-gun response, understand that it’s called “The Warning” for a reason: this is as nice as Eminem’s going to get.  He even tells you in the song: “This is what the f*ck I do!”  A diss war between you and Eminem would be like a diss war between Avril Lavigne and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.  It’ll be a slaughter, and people will think it’s funny as hell.

Maybe this is all about record sales for both of you, and maybe you’ll come out smelling like a rose.  But this is a complex game, Mariah, and you can’t win it this way.  Nick’s tweeted response to the whole sordid affair is pretty apt: “This aint checkers.  This is Chess.”  Yes, it is.  And right now, you ‘re losing.

4 Comments
  1. Pshaw permalink
    August 3, 2009 10:33 am

    …or never get into a gunfight when all you have is a set of nail clippers.

  2. September 4, 2010 2:24 pm

    I think Mariah Carey is a lovey woman and has a great voice and Nick should be lucky he got her and he better treat her right.

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