#2. The Message of "Stan" Is Completely Lost, Thanks to "Dear Anne"
During the peak of his fame, Eminem took time out from writing about how he hates everybody except his daughter and penned "Stan," a story about an obsessed fan who kills himself and his girlfriend in a fit of road rage because Eminem doesn't answer his letters.
"Letters" were when people would hand-write their emails, stick them in metal boxes,
and let another person deliver them to the recipient by hand. The Dark Ages were weird.
Stan talked about Eminem "24/7," kidnapped his own girlfriend and stuck her in the trunk of his car simply because Em did that in one of his songs, and felt that he and Em "should be together." So he didn't care about Eminem's dope-fresh beats so much as his dope-fresh anal cherry.
When Eminem finally writes back to Stan, he's the voice of reason, because when you write the song you get to do that. He tells Stan to calm down, treat his girlfriend better, and quit fantasizing about hooking up with him. Then he realizes that the dead couple on the news are Stan and his girl, and he simply utters "damn," which is a natural reaction to learning that the creepy stalker you had never met was dead. Well, that and "phew."
Dark as it may be, "Stan" is a fine story with a clear message: Don't be Stan. Be a fan, love and respect (and buy tons of) what the artists put out, but otherwise, leave them the fuck alone.
Yes, there's a sequel, called "Dear Anne." Eminem didn't write or perform it, though; "Dear Anne" is a Lil' Wayne creation, and he doesn't buy that whole fans-keep-away-from-celebs thing. At least not when he's trying to score him some tail.
In "Dear Anne," Lil' Wayne writes to a fan of his, not because she's obsessed with him, but because HE'S obsessed with HER. He spends each verse spilling his guts about his troubles and concerns, including how his current relationship has started "to feel like a chore," which is exactly what you tell a random fan who probably wrote her mailing address on a pair of frilly panties before chucking it on stage.
Wayne throws out Hallmark-worthy lines like this:
I just think of you, then I'm rewarded again
Anne, with you is where my artistry can
Anne, so with you is where a part of me stands
Anne, I hope I see you in the stands
... shortly after calling her "baby." Not once does he consider that this might be beyond creepy, and that any famous person who writes back to a fan and treats it as a full-blown therapy session will quickly be exposed for the psycho he truly is.
Cash Money Records
But he seemed so normal!
But then we get the one line that truly ties this glorified love letter to Eminem: "I'm sorry about Stan." Oh, you are, are you? Then why are you acting exactly like him? The fact that you feel the need to apologize for it very strongly suggests that Anne knew Stan and was quite possibly related to him. All of a sudden she's being stalked by her very OWN Stan? She must be so honored.
If Wayne got some kind of comeuppance at the end, like how Stan got his, that would be one thing. But no. He simply writes his letters and moves on. Anne gets no say and never even writes back. Hopefully it's because she's busy calling the cops and hiring a team of hard-nosed lawyers to help build a case.
If Misery 2 involved a famous author kidnapping Kathy Bates' sister and apologizing for Bates' death while simultaneously acting like the creepiest creep in the history of creepdom.
#1. "A Boy Named Sue" Is Not All He's Cracked Up to Be, According to "Father of a Boy Named Sue"
No way you haven't heard this one. Quickie summary for those who haven't or have drunk enough liquor to forget it: Johnny Cash's character is named Sue by his absentee father. Sue vows to kill him for giving him a girl's name and subjecting him to decades of peer torture as a result. After he finds Dad and beats the tar out of him, Dad reveals that he named him Sue to make him tough, since people would always pick fights with him over the name. Sue realizes the wisdom behind what his father did and all is forgiven.
Unlike the other songs I've been yakking about, there isn't a clear moral or cautionary scenario in "A Boy Named Sue." It's just a silly song about a silly subject, and once you find out that Shel Silverstein, the author of The Giving Tree, wrote it, you're not even that surprised. He's a writer, and writers are supposed to be a little silly.
Silverstein actually wrote two songs about Sue, and the second was told from his father's point of view. That's when you realize that Silverstein wrote way more twisted shit than just a bunch of kiddie books and silly songs.
In "Father of a Boy Named Sue," Sue's dad sets the record straight about everything. As it turns out, he left his son not because of money or problems with Sue's mother, but because Sue "kept screaming and throwing up and pissing in his pants" like he was some kind of toddler or something. So he named his kid Sue "for revenge," then ran away.
Also, the original made it sound like Sue was just a regular guy who happened to be saddled with a girl's name. According to the sequel, however, Sue is an ugly cross-dresser who hit his Dad with a purse and scratched him with long fingernails instead of punching him in the face. Also, he screamed like a girl, because the very best way to deal with something you despise is to embrace it wholeheartedly.
"YAYYY, FUCK FLOWERS!"
But Dear Ol' Dad wasn't done; apparently the whole "I named you Sue to make you tough" thing was pure hokum, a lie that Dad pulled out of his keister to avoid getting shot by Sue. But then he says "I guess he bought it cause now I'm living with him." So all's well that ends well, right? Father and son have made up, just like in the original, right?
Oh sure, they made up. In more ways than one:
Yea he cooks and sews and cleans up the place
He cuts my hair and shaves my face
And irons my shirts better than a daughter could do
And on the nights that I can't score
Well, I can't tell you any more
But it sure is a joy to have a boy named Sue
Lovely, just lovely. So Sue is a manservant to his father who slips him the ol' missing piece whenever the opportunity arises. And now that image is burned into your memory forevermore. You're welcome.
Shockingly, none. Unless there's some cross-dressing incest porn out there. If there is, please let somebody else know, and then have them shot so they can't track me down and tell me about it.
Thanks to Richie Ryan for introducing me to "Father of a Boy Named Sue." You've earned every last therapy bill I'm going to send you.