I’ve been bothered by Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” video since it debuted last week. Actually, I’d been bothered by the song since it came out several weeks ago. Is her rapping about, wait, yes, he’s rapping about how he and his wife used to beat the shit out of each other. All righty then. Now, granted, it’s unmistakably catchy. Eminem has always had a way with a hook. Still the song also follows the musical gimmick du jour of having a pretty female vocalist sing a few pretty verses in between all the hip hop. (p.s. “Ghetto Supastar” called and wants its idea back. Oh, and then “Rapture” called and said, “Not so fast with the ‘your idea’ stuff, Pras and Mya.”) But that’s all peripheral when it comes to the video. This video.
The video with Eminem and Rihanna in front of a burning house and Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan burning said house down – metaphorically and plain old literally. The video that features two of the biggest celebrities with high-profile, highly volatile run-ins with domestic violence. The video that shows both Megan and Dominic hitting each other, making out with each other and, yes, catching ablaze with the passionate, crazy, angry intensity of their love for each other. Or is it hate? Whatever, have I mentioned it’s sexy?
The problem with “Love the Way You Lie” is not so much that it glorifies domestic violence as it wallows in the beauty of its rage. The video is pretty. It has Megan Fox and Rihanna, it can’t help but be pretty. The violence is, well, violence. But it’s also all-consuming, yearning and, yes, kind of beautiful. And therein lies the problem. Because through all the punched walls and tonsil hockey, Eminem also raps “If she ever tries to fucking leave again I’m going to tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”
Which, I think we can all agree, is in no way beautiful. There’s too much sex in my violence. Love that burns the house down, that is the real lie.