Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Eminem and ESPN Take a Page From Miley Cyrus and MTV

Remember when Eminem was a cultural figure who generated lots of attention for outrageous words and deeds?

That was a long time ago!

But you can teach an old dog new tricks, which is what appeared to happen tonight on ESPN. Marshall Mathers appeared during halftime of the Michigan-Notre Dame game, ostensibly to be interviewed by Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit and to promote a new video. And then this happened:

Cue freaked-out Twitter, and instant rebroadcasts on Deadspin, Bleacher Report,, Vine, YouTube, etc. (Thanks to Robbie Trencheny for providing me with the first embeddable link for this; the rest of you are all awesome, too.

As entertaining as all this is, though, let’s use Occam’s Razor and assume Eminem knew exactly what he was doing* — he was doing a thing that lots of people would see on TV, and that many more would then discuss on the Internet.

This worked very well for Miley Cyrus and Viacom, and my hunch is that it will continue to work well for quite some time.

And as long as I’m conscious of my role in it, I don’t mind being a cog in this part of the Industrial Infotainment Complex.


* Which explains why Eminem was catatonic and then not (see this extended clip, courtesy Ian Schafer). And also why Eminem, or whoever controls his Instagram account, posted this image tonight:

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google