Kanye Versus Kimmel
September 28, 2013 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Last week, Kanye West sat down with BBC Radio's Zane Lowe for an hour-long interview, which Jimmy Kimmel promptly spoofed. Kanye has responded angrily via Twitter, writing "JIMMY KIMMEL IS OUT OF LINE TO TRY AND SPOOF IN ANY WAY THE FIRST PIECE OF HONEST MEDIA IN YEARS", among other things. Kimmel responds on his show. More on Kanye, previously.
posted by rcraniac (447 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
The importance of any online conversation is in inverse proportion to the number of capital letters used.
posted by gwint at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh dear. He's only one consultation away from a diagnosis. Hope we can keep this respectful (not that I care about his music).
posted by dash_slot- at 4:58 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Kanye West, I think Jimmy Kimmel's face is funny, and that gag with the kids cracked me up.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:04 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kanye West could do with a few less yes men in his camp. Maybe someone to say "it was just a joke and you have to admit it was kind of funny" and to show him how to turn off the CAPS LOCK on his phone.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:07 PM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


lol yeah, keep it respectful like saying you don't care about his music and calling him crazy.

i really liked what ayesha siddiqi (and some others) had to say about this.
posted by nadawi at 5:07 PM on September 28, 2013 [36 favorites]


DEFKANYE 5 FTW
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 5:08 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why Kanye is Right, And Kimmel emblematic

Kanye West Isn't Joking Anymore.

I think what Kimmel did is simply part of an all too familiar pattern. Time and time again we see attempts to delegitimize and marginalize artists. Paint them as crazy, or angry when often times they have every right to be. Ask them to play nice, have a sense of humor, smile while people with TV shows take shots at them.

I would have less of an issue with Kimmel if he had addressed the substance of Kanye's interview instead if simply portraying Kanye as a child, and not named the skit Kanye's Kids (re)Kreation.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:09 PM on September 28, 2013 [37 favorites]


i don't find it especially funny to take the serious things a black man says and put those words unchanged in the mouth of a child. kimmel might was well have just gone whole hog and called kanye "boy."
posted by nadawi at 5:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [39 favorites]


if your main beef w one of the biggest artists in the world is that he isnt 'humble', you're a racist. WHY should he be? name one reason.

This is not a legitimate contention. There are some other legitimate points in that siddiqi storify, but the idea that being mad that someone isn't humble is racism is bunk.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:18 PM on September 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


They both smell like assholes.
posted by planetesimal at 5:19 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


i don't find it especially funny to take the serious things a black man says and put those words unchanged in the mouth of a child. kimmel might was well have just gone whole hog and called kanye "boy."

But did you find it funny that the white BBC journalist was also portrayed by a child? Reading that particular action as racism seem to be a stretch.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:20 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I thought the joke was that Kanye was saying deluded stuff that didn't make any sense (leather jogging pants?? and then being offended that someone said no to that??), not that he was bragging too much. He did really make himself sound like a child with that one, both with the content and the delivery. I might be wrong though I'm not about to listen to that whole hour long interview to find out.
posted by bleep at 5:21 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Now that it's been pointed out to me why it's offensive I agree. My initial reaction was based on the fact that kids acting self-important like that always cracks me up. I didn't notice the K-K-K thing in the title, and yeah that's a pretty tasteless thing to be doing.

But mostly I was just distracted by Jimmy Kimmel's face, because it is in fact ridiculous.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:22 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ad hominem: "I would have less of an issue with Kimmel if he had addressed the substance of Kanye's interview"

Naming yourself as the biggest "rockstar" in the world childish.
posted by wcfields at 5:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


Going To Maine - i don't think it's a stretch and i said why. there's a systemic thing that happens to black men who dare to speak seriously and refuse to know their place. the bbc reporter was completely incidental to the sketch.
posted by nadawi at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


The part in that that just seems weird and off-base is the "KKK" coding in the title. I can't really figure at all where Kimmel's writers thought they were going with that. But as for the mocking itself being racist; I can't imagine a white entertainer of any kind (musician, actor or what have you) saying the kind of stuff Kanye says who wouldn't come in for similar mockery. It's particularly missing the mark, I think, to huff and puff about how Kanye is a Serious Artist and OMG no one would mock a white Serious Artist. But there has always been enormous anxiety about anyone working in a "popular" artistic field who proclaims serious artistic intent--look at the relentless mockery James Franco has been subject to, for example. We don't like pop stars and movie stars etc. to get ideas above their station and we're nearly always pretty vicious about it.
posted by yoink at 5:28 PM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


leather jogging pants??

The thing is, leather jogging pants actually are a thing. At least in "street fashion". Obviously they aren't for actual jogging, it just refers to the cut. Versace sells them for like 4k.

Naming yourself as the biggest "rockstar" in the world childish.

Well I think he makes the point that rappers are the new rockstars and he is the biggest rapper, which is open to debate I guess but within the realm reality.

Yeah, he could be humble, but where the did being humble get him, back when he used to make jokes on twitter. People made fun of his obvious jokes. So, fuck it.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Leather jogging pants are a legit fashion thing right now. Kanye is talking fashion world which is why it sounds strange to non-fashion people.

There's lots of evidence on the google. Here's some
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:30 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yoink: He could haven been referring to Kanye's use of the KKK's in 'blkkk skkkn head'. Still in poor taste.
posted by sindas at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2013


He could haven been referring to Kanye's use of the KKK's in 'blkkk skkkn head'.

Yeah, maybe--I think that's definitely in the "a black person can play around with that stuff if they want, but a white comic had really better leave it be" realm.
posted by yoink at 5:33 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


the idea that being mad that someone isn't humble is racism is bunk

When it happens once? Maybe. When it happens over and over and over again (see also: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, and Muhammad Ali, just for starters), goddamn right it's racism.
posted by asterix at 5:33 PM on September 28, 2013 [20 favorites]


gwint: "The importance of any online conversation is in inverse proportion to the number of capital letters used."

OK.
posted by boo_radley at 5:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, it's not like this is a new sort of behavior for Kimmel. Not excusing it by any means, but...offensive-comedy talk show host is offensive, eh? I agree he needs to be called on it, just not only because of this particular thing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:34 PM on September 28, 2013


Going To Maine: "This is not a legitimate contention. There are some other legitimate points in that siddiqi storify, but the idea that being mad that someone isn't humble is racism is bunk."

The thing is that Jimmy Kimmell is racist for a bunch of other reasons.
posted by koeselitz at 5:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


He named his kid "North".
posted by Brocktoon at 5:35 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Going To Maine - i don't think it's a stretch and i said why. there's a systemic thing that happens to black men who dare to speak seriously and refuse to know their place. the bbc reporter was completely incidental to the sketch.

As I read it, you were making a very specific accusation - that Jimmy Kimmel was calling Kanye "boy". While it certainly seems reasonable to argue that black men have their social input routinely devalued, calling someone "boy" is a specific racist charge, and it read like you are looking for that particular dog whistle.

Ignoring the BBC reporter as being "incidental" is, arguably, to misread the sketch. Given that both men are portrayed as children, it makes more sense to me to read Kimmel as considering both reporter and rapper to be children and fantasists. Kanye the leader of said fantasy, perhaps, but Lowe as a willing participant, by giving credence to what Kanye says. Let's be a little charitable here, and assume that Jimmy Kimmel simply doesn't get it, that, as noted in this Slate piece, he's simply completely unaware of just how big Kanye is, doesn't realize that leather jogging pants are a thing some folks wear, and that he considers both Kanye and anyone who takes Kanye as seriously as Kanye takes himself to be a fool.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:37 PM on September 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


"North" is an awesome name. Kanye's got plenty problems - everybody does - but good god the world is petty.
posted by koeselitz at 5:38 PM on September 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


Hmmm, tough day for me in privilege self-examination land what with this and the Dave Eggers-alleged-plagiarism-thus-proving-systemic-silencing-of-female-authors business.

This time my gut instincts on both of these things are very much of the "Oh haha no total overreaction that's not what is happening here these people are oversensitive and crazy, perhaps understandably so because sexism/racism respectively, but, no, not seeing it."

Or, basically in other words, I am having THE EXACT REACTION that drives me absolutely up the wall when people are dismissive of things that offend the shit out of me or are otherwise very clear indicators of some big systemic problem.

...I am going to have to sit down and have a think about these, basically, as I am definitely wrong somewhere.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:38 PM on September 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Why are we being moved into this Alien versus Predator arrangement where we either have to side with the smug awful dudebrah comedian or we have to side with the narcissistic egomanaical Zoolander guy? Can't they both suck?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:45 PM on September 28, 2013 [59 favorites]


Holy sweet Jesus.

My interaction with Kanye West has been limited to playing Saints Row The Third and having one of his songs come up on the sound track, but it doesn't seem to me like some big star talking themselves up is all that unusual. So anyway I'm going into the Kimmel video more or less neutral.

KKK? Really? Portraying a black man as a boy? Really?

I'm siding with West, here. Seems like West is just being a big music star and Kimmel is being a racist dick.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:45 PM on September 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


i am absolutely saying that purposefully or not, kimmel (or more accurately, the show) was calling kanye boy. i am aware it's a specific charge, that's why i said it. i don't really have a lot of benefit of the doubt for the former host of the man show.
posted by nadawi at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's a pretty decent comparison to be made between Kanye and RDJ, both of whom are hilariously self-aggrandizing, highly successful men with little visible humility about them, yet one is saluted (or at least tolerated) and the other mocked. It's difficult to see it as not being at least SOMEWHAT related to race. So even aside from Kimmel's shitty schtick, there's already A Thing Going On.
posted by elizardbits at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [23 favorites]


Going To Maine: "While it certainly seems reasonable to argue that black men have their social input routinely devalued, calling someone 'boy' is a specific racist charge, and it read like you are looking for that particular dog whistle."

The term "boy" really isn't a dog whistle. Dog whistles are coded terms designed to reach out to other racists and signal common cause. But "boy" is not an address to other people, historically; people would not say "Malcolm X is a misguided boy." They would call Malcolm X a boy to his face. So I think we have to acknowledge this: it's a slur, not a dog whistle.

And, to be clear - it is a specific slur, rooted in a specific time and place, but it is pretty clear what it means and what it intends. It's a diminutive, lowering grown men who are mature adults to the level of children and marking them as no more worthy of being taken seriously than an eight-year-old boy. And whatever the hell Jimmy Kimmel may think he was saying with his piece, that is precisely what he did.
posted by koeselitz at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


he's simply completely unaware of just how big Kanye is, doesn't realize that leather jogging pants are a thing some folks wear,

Both of those strike me as wrong. Kanye is only worth making fun of because he's a really big star. Kimmel making fun of him is confirmation of his stellar status, not an attempt to deny him that status. If he were some nobody no one at all would care that he's saying any of these things. And the thing about the leather jogging pants is that it works as a joke because it's about an insanely rarified world of elite privilege. It doesn't matter a damn that there actually are people out there wearing these things. If anything, for Kimmel's purposes, that would only make the joke funnier: "OMG, Kanye is so far removed from any kind of normal world that he's actually passionately upset that he isn't getting the credit for inventing leather jogging pants!!!"

If Bono had an interview where he raged against Fendi for not recognizing his genius for inventing leather jogging pants he would be roundly parodied on shows like Kimmel's and everyone on Metafilter would join in the pointing and laughing. And no one would care that there are actually people out there dropping $5k on leather jogging pants.
posted by yoink at 5:49 PM on September 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


bono is a great example. he "speaks out" about things like racism while kanye "rants" - and no one can say with a straight face that it's because bono is less egotistical than kanye.
posted by nadawi at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [38 favorites]


Isn't the "kids recreate things adults say" thing kind of a running bit on Kimmel? I though I'd seen a similar sketch before.
posted by LionIndex at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Regardless of his race or artistic achievements or the relative influence he wields in a specific niche of the pop recording industry, Mr West is clearly having some delusional spells. I don't think those are due to his race, or excusable on the basis of his artistic merits. Sometimes famous people get a little unbalanced. It happens.
posted by perhapsolutely at 5:52 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


However I must say that leather jogging pants are high up on the list of most nonsensical things that could legitimately one day exist, no matter who the creator/designer.
posted by elizardbits at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


bono is a great example. he "speaks out" about things like racism

And your contention is that nobody every says anything bad about or mocks Bono? Because if so, I have an internet full of "Saint Bono" hate to introduce you to.
posted by yoink at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm not a fan of Kanye, but North is a perfectly cromulent name. I find the way some of the media take the persona of the mother of his child as evidence that he is not a credible artist to be both racist and sexist.
posted by dumdidumdum at 5:55 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Isn't the "kids recreate things adults say" thing kind of a running bit on Kimmel? I though I'd seen a similar sketch before.

Jon Stewart used to have a semi-regular bit with kids recreating US political exchanges. I don't watch Kimmel so I don't know if he also has such a shtick.
posted by yoink at 5:56 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's probably what I'm thinking of.
posted by LionIndex at 5:59 PM on September 28, 2013


Tom Hawking's take on the whole dust-up seems to me pretty much spot on:
He plays his own game, and will continue to do so, which is what drives people so crazy about him. As Siddiqi and others point out, white dudes are rarely reprimanded for being egotistical and confident; indeed, their behavior is often tolerated or celebrated outright. But when it’s someone like Kanye West? It’s all rants and meltdowns and arrogance and every other negative cliché you can think of. He has every right to be angry about this and is, in fact, 100% in the right.
If you've ever said to yourself: "Man, Kanye's music is so fantastic. Why is he such a nutjob in public?" you might want to consider that it's the music itself that is Kanye's own authentic voice and his public persona that is our own distorted perception of who that speaker really is.
posted by R. Schlock at 5:59 PM on September 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


Honestly, I think that Kanye's bluster and arrogance is all part of his public image. We know almost jack about what he's like in private. (Well, I know jack, at least.)
posted by SansPoint at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2013


Mr West is clearly having some delusional spells.

Maybe he's just tired of being armchair diagnosed.
posted by elizardbits at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I certainly wouldn't wear leather jogging pants but soon enough you are going to see $49.95 leather jogging pants at h&m or whatever. That is the way it works.

A little background he has been pissed that he believes a clothing line he is associated with, Pyrex, has started various trends which then got knocked off.

I can tell you he claims credit for bringing back snapback hats and inventing super long white tshirts for men. Both of which are like a legitimate thing with real people now.

Fashion has always been part of hip-hop, so it isn't like a rapper suddenly wants credit for something nobody ever gave a shit about before.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:03 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe he's just tired of being armchair diagnosed.

Yeah, you really can't trust armchair diagnoses. That's why I've started seeing my end table.
posted by yoink at 6:04 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


nadawi: "bono is a great example. he "speaks out" about things like racism while kanye "rants" - and no one can say with a straight face that it's because bono is less egotistical than kanye."

The numbers for Bono were pretty low -- I guess he's not really active these days -- so I substituted Lady Gaga, another pop star who's always in the news.

Seems Lady Gaga "speaks out" far more often than she "rants"; Kanye West, however, "rants" more than he "speaks out." (apologies for the shitty 3 minute snipping job)

Yeah I think people are responding to a popular black musician who won't "be humble" in a predictable way: by being kinda racist.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:05 PM on September 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


West's complaint -- the one that Kimmel explicitly mocks, and then literally infantalizes -- is that an example of West not being taken seriously as an artist is that he suggested leather sweat pants to a mainstream designer and was rejected. Kimmel presented it as being self-evidently ridiculous. He's never heard of such a thing, so such a thing must be ridiculous.

West wasn't lacking humility. Kimmel was. He didn't for a moment consider the possibility that he might not know something, and go to Google. No, it is West who is a child, ranting nonsense, not Kimmel, whose entire joke has as its premise the ignorance of its writer.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [27 favorites]


The "rockstar" thing reminds me of a comment that Jesse Thorn made on Jordan Jesse Go. It was something like, "There are two types of people who still think of rock as the most important kind of music: 30-something white men and the people who book musical guests on late-night shows."
posted by roll truck roll at 6:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


God I have got to find an alternative to the scare quote. The sarcastic tilde, perhaps.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


My take on this.

Also, Kanye can blow puppy balls.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:12 PM on September 28, 2013


You know how yall are always lionizing Laurie Anderson to us and then we get there only to discover there's not a whole lot of There there?
Well the thing we thought we'd see when we got there is the trajectory Kanye is actually on.
I like that it pisses people off. Would I wanna hang out with the guy? Who knows. But he's a seeker and he's fussy and restless and I like that.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:13 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know how yall are always lionizing Laurie Anderson to us and then we get there only to discover there's not a whole lot of There there?

This sentence literally does not make sense in English. There is a real possibility of aphasia.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Media Rule #1: when a celebrity calls something about himself "THE FIRST PIECE OF HONEST MEDIA IN YEARS", it's a puff piece and highly inaccurate.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


i never said bono wasn't critiqued. i was saying that the overall reaction to bono discussing inequality is different than kanye discussing it, specifically that one speaks out and the other rants according to mainstream media and popular reaction. gaga is another good example as is pointed out.
posted by nadawi at 6:14 PM on September 28, 2013


One thing I did not expect from this thread was seeing Laurie Anderson thrown under the bus.
posted by gwint at 6:15 PM on September 28, 2013 [29 favorites]


Media Rule #1: Kanye don't play by your bullshit rules.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:15 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Siddiqi is wrong when she says "and if you've ever actually listened to Kanye you'd know he isnt an egomaniac, he struggles w self loathing like the rest of us" - you can be both self-loathing and an egomaniac - but I think she's right about pretty much everything else.
posted by subdee at 6:16 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


West wasn't lacking humility. Kimmel was.

This actually brings up a legit question: what does it mean for someone who is one of the biggest musicians on the planet to act humble? That is to say, I don't think Kanye saying he's the biggest star on the planet is particularly boastful in his case - humility should incorporate honest recognition of your position. On the other hand, calling an interview with yourself "THE FIRST PIECE OF HONEST MEDIA IN YEARS", well, that smacks a bit of immodesty.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:16 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Full disclosure: I am a fan of Kanye's earlier records (College Dropout, Late Registration), but haven't really caught on to the newer stuff.

If I wanted to engage in this discussion earnestly, I would say that I don't think it's a black thing as much as it's a pop celebrity thing. The "naive pop star" trope is as old as pop. If your art is so supremely successful as to be consumed in the kind of quantities Kanye's music is being consumed at, then being made fun of fairly or unfairly is unquestionably part and parcel of that success. Maybe there is the added benefit of Kanye's existing controversial status to give this spoof some traction. Maybe I'm a cynic, but the fact that Kanye responded at all to Kimmel's spoof (and that there is a response to the response) sets off my marketing-dar. I can't help but feel I'm being played somehow.

I'm starting to believe that the constant pro and anti Kanye threads on web fora are a calculated result of Kanye's performance art. Many people seem to agree his "controversial" and "deluded" persona certainly is. Because no one seems to ever be swayed one way or another, I sometimes find these threads exhausting and ultimately grating, but they certainly don't hurt his success.

Of course, I don't mean to imply it's only Kanye. Kimmel himself is a creature of trends. This row is mutually beneficial. Thinking that any of this is legitimately about you as the consumer or critic of their art only makes you part of the installation, making funny faces on the reflective side of the one-way mirror while the audience silently watches on the other side.

Hey, as long as you get some value out of it, it can be fun to participate in the art. Myself, I'll probably continue to enjoy listening to pop music and watching Jimmy Kimmel every now and then. Why not?
posted by donttouchmymustache at 6:16 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I would have less of an issue with Kimmel if he had addressed the substance of Kanye's interview instead if simply portraying Kanye as a child, and not named the skit Kanye's Kids (re)Kreation.

I would have had less of an issue with Kanye if he'd been even slightly coherent. I t took children to point out he wasn't using the same language as the rest of the planet.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:18 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't think Kanye saying he's the biggest star on the planet is particularly boastful in his case

In the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, it's not bragging if you can back it up.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:19 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Media Rule #2: If you're a big enough star, complaints about how the media treat you make for great publicity. If not, it's just whining.

Kanye is WAY past the dividing line.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:20 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everybody knows that a public rumble is just good television.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2013


In the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, it's not bragging if you can back it up.

I think he's being profoundly arrogant, despite his popularity in America, because I'm pretty sure most of China and India don't really give a flying fuck about him and his leather pants.

It was said upthread that the joke could as easily be his random and deluded nature as a reflection of his incredible wealth and privilege. That's pretty much what it's about for me. I also dislike it when people who are not rock stars (in that they do not sing rock music) claim to be rock stars. If this were Jimmi Hendrix, ok. Kanye? He's a rap star. I've always been pedantic though.

The conversation about not taking black men seriously is a very important one, and one that needs to be had, but if Kanye dislikes being infantilized and portrayed as a child, his response to said criticism should probably not resemble that of a 14 year old on Reddit, making image macros and spamming his Twitter feed with profanity. I see self-important musicians get mocked all the time. Both Kanye and Bono have had their own Southpark episodes, and I'd say that the Bono one was quite a bit more vicious. These two conversations should be happening concurrently, not to the exclusion of one or the other.
posted by GoingToShopping at 6:26 PM on September 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


. I t took children to point out he wasn't using the same language as the rest of the planet.

I dunno man. I don't have much problem understanding him.

I also have enough respect to think and try to understand anything I don't.

I'm not saying everyone has to think Kanye is a genius, but for me any time I start to waver I remember the totality of his work everything from Common, John Legend, Jay Z up to recent work with Pusha T, even ignoring all the shit he actually rapped on he's got classics on classics.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:28 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a pretty decent comparison to be made between Kanye and RDJ, both of whom are hilariously self-aggrandizing, highly successful men with little visible humility about them, yet one is saluted (or at least tolerated) and the other mocked.

Eh, no one ever made the claim RDJ is a genius and not recognizing it is a sign of racism. Kanye says and does some silly shit sometimes. It's not the end of the world if some people make fun of him for it. I've compared the guy to the Gallagher brothers, who were also mocked for their grandiose claims and ridiculous attitudes even while they were selling an insane amount of records and getting critical acclaim.

Also yes North is a fine name, I think people find it odd because his full name is North West which makes t seem like a joke
posted by Hoopo at 6:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


donttouchmymustache 

i used to think that college dropout was by far my favorite kanye album, but in the last year i've really sunk my ears into 808s and mbdtf. now i like mbdtf as much as dropout and I'll make the bold statement that 808s is the best breakup album that is actually about a mother's death ever created.

all i can figure is that i just want ready for them when they came out.
posted by nadawi at 6:35 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure most of China and India don't really give a flying fuck about him and his leather pants.

I can't comment on China, but if the amount of coverage he gets in the Times of India and Hindustan Times are any indication, he doesn't lack attention in India.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:39 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]




Oh wow, it's true - if you put 'Liz Lemon' in front of Kayne's tweets, you get Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:41 PM on September 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not sure what the point of parodying KW's interview was. Seemed somewhat mean-spirited and deliberately provocative to me. Kimmel wasn't even being comedic, he was just being a sneering asshole.

Unless the two have some sort of previous feud or something?

Then again, perhaps Kimmel hates black men the same way that Letterman, back in his prime, hated strong, successful women (who, like KW, also take themselves too seriously) like Cher, Streisand and Madonna.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:41 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


This Is What Frustration Sounds Like: Kanye West's Misunderstood Genius and Jimmy Kimmel

Previously: a long tradition of black artists for whom self-love is a political act

I still have flashbacks about that thread.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:44 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


And this is the article from that previously.

In Defense Of Kanye’s Vanity: The Politics Of Black Self-Love
"Kanye West has become a pop-culture punch line, but those who have dismissed him as aimlessly arrogant have missed the point. He is part of a long tradition of black artists who have fashioned a deeply political articulation of what it means to love yourself."
posted by andoatnp at 6:46 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kimmel wasn't even being comedic, he was just being a sneering asshole.

That's kind of his deal. It's interesting to compare him to Jimmy Fallon, who seems to constantly go viral with little videos that seem like acts of joy and celebration, even when they have a satiric edge.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


808s is the best breakup album that is actually about a mother's death ever created.

I don't think I've ever agreed more, with anyone, about anything. You just explained to me why I love Kanye West. I thought I knew, but I didn't, really.

Reading that sentence actually made me cry. Thank you.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


He named his kid "North"

Good point.
posted by grog at 7:04 PM on September 28, 2013


David Bowie named his son Zowie. And both are awesome.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


David Bowie named his son Zowie. And both are awesome.

Bowie's kid didn't appreciate that much and opted to become Duncan Jones instead.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


nori and apple and all the other celebrity kids will get the same chance as duncan/zowie. seems a pretty minor issue, really.
posted by nadawi at 7:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, I hate it when stars are humble or down to earth or just like us. I don't want to imagine Mariah Carrey has to worry about taking out the trash. I want to imagine her insisting that people only speak Elvish when addressing her directly and must always be carefully lowered onto surfaces.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 PM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


Bowie's kid didn't appreciate that much and opted to become Duncan Jones instead.

Well, his name actually is Zowie Duncan Howard Bowie Jones, and, from interviews I have read, he adores his father and simply went by Duncan Jones because he didn't want to trade on his father's name, but make his own way in the world.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:12 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Even if it makes others uncomfortable I will love who I am.
posted by rtha at 7:13 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some people are good at bragging on themselves, while simultaneously endearing themselves to their audience (Muhammad Ali, for example). This is an actual social skill that some people have, and some don't.

Kanye (I say this as someone who cares about his feelings) wants to have that skill, but he doesn't, because he doesn't endear himself to people at the same time in ways that are important. It doesn't have as much to do with race as it does with an insecurity that seems to need validation. That kind of thing never, ever works in relationships in a positive way, as far as I've been able to observe.

I don't know all the reasons that it works for some people and not for others, but the fact that it does work for some people doesn't means that all people shouldn't work on being a a lot more humble, nor that people should continue being surprised when it actually receives a negative reaction.

This isn't about Kanye as much as it is about him not being very skilled socially in a way that he wants to be, and it keeps coming back to bite him.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:18 PM on September 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


To me, Kanye love is one of the most baffling things in modern culture. And I'm not talking about his music. How anyone can listen to anything this man says in interviews and defend it is mind-boggling. He's like the hip hop Bono--they both come across as insecure children begging the world to pay attention to them and then when some people do they get all upset that they're not paying attention to them in the right way.

Mostly I just find the man to be pathetically sad. Though by no means do I seek out his interactions with media, I do find that of everything I've ever seen of him, only once has he come across as a sincere person: when he slagged George Bush. I cheered when I saw that clip the first time. Everything since is just bluster from a terrified child.
posted by dobbs at 7:21 PM on September 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


You know, I hate it when stars are humble or down to earth or just like us. I don't want to imagine Mariah Carrey has to worry about taking out the trash. I want to imagine her insisting that people only speak Elvish when addressing her directly and must always be carefully lowered onto surfaces.

That's fine until you have 2.5 minutes to get them composed and on stage, in which case their fucking swanning around is like homicidal-feeling-inducing. Get the fuck to your mark and get out of the way. I love you too. Tomorrow is the president, and the day after is someone bigger than you.

Kanye too. Sorry, no one, ever, anywhere has justified that self-hype. I'm not Christian, but Jesus seems cool and worthy of lots of hype. From what I hear? Talked about humility. AND a minority.
posted by nevercalm at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would have had less of an issue with Kanye if he'd been even slightly coherent. I t took children to point out he wasn't using the same language as the rest of the planet.

I understood it perfectly fine. Maybe you mean he's not speaking the same language as a very specific portion of the planet.
posted by codacorolla at 7:24 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's a mouthful of a name Bunny, and I don't doubt he wanted to make his own way. But "Zowie" started asking people to call him "Joe" at 13 because he hated "Zowie." (*)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:26 PM on September 28, 2013


Also yes North is a fine name, I think people find it odd because his full name is North West which makes t seem like a joke

Her. North West is a girl.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:27 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


north/nori is nowhere near as weird as zowie or dweezil but everyone acts like it is.
posted by nadawi at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I love Metafilter.

I saw these videos yesterday, and immediately thought: "Hahahah Kanye is such a douche."
I started reading this thread with the same opinion. ( I immediately despised Ayesha Siddiqi's tweets.)

But after reading y'all's comments (and being a little creeped out by the defenses of Kimmel), I've got to admit that I've changed my mind on this one.

That's why i love the Metafilter.
posted by wester at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [31 favorites]


I'm not Christian, but Jesus seems cool and worthy of lots of hype. From what I hear? Talked about humility. AND a minority.

A minority? He was a Jew in a country of Jews. And thought he was the son of God. Neither humble nor a minority.

But "Zowie" started asking people to call him "Joe" at 13 because he hated "Zowie."

I cannot find anything that says that in the article you linked. But, even if true, that doesn't mean North will dislike her name or try to distance herself from it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]




I wish I had a better link for that. I don't think its asking too much to read between the lines that a 13 year old who changes his name probably didn't care for the original, though. I've seen him say in interviews myself that he never liked the name, though.

And yeah, North may end up loving her name. Who knows?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:32 PM on September 28, 2013


The passionate indignation he feels over Fendi's rejection of his $5000 lederjoggenhosen epiphany may not be because he's justifiably frustrated as a sartorial visionary who's demonstrably ahead of his time, but because he's tired of being armchair diagnosed. That makes much more sense. Liz Lemon.
posted by perhapsolutely at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think its asking too much to read between the lines that a 13 year old who changes his name probably didn't care for the original

Well, I have heard him speak live, and explicitly say that his desire was for anonymity, so I think it is too much to read between the lines, especially when it is being used to criticize another artist for something as personal as the choice of name they made for their child.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, the Zowie thing is a bit of a derail, but the North thing is as well, and I regret bringing the former up.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:37 PM on September 28, 2013


I wasn't criticizing Kanye even a little, just being a detail nerd about the Zowie/Duncan thing. And again, I totally believe Jones' adult choice of name comes from wanting to make his own way. But the discarding of "Zowie" came years before. Because he never liked it. (That would be why he stopped using it.)

I'm 100% pro-Kanye.

If anything, I only mentioned the name dropping on Zowie's part because , like nadawi, I don't think North is a fraction as weird as Zowie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:42 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kanye is a pompous idiot. As he says, he's a rockstar, it's part of the job description, he's doing his job. Mocking pompous idiots is part of the comedian job description as well, so really all is well, everyone is doing their job.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


I agree with your point anyway and am on your side, Bunny. I just got caught up in being a pedant. Carry on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I apologize for misunderstanding. We can mutually agree that Moon was an unbelievably great movie, I hope. Let us bond over art.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:43 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Here is a drunken Kanye rant where he calls out "culture vultures" for knocking off stuff from his design company DONDA, Virgil Abloh, the guy behind Pyrex Visions, and some other shit.

If you see the dude on the other side from Pusha T, he is wearing a Pyrex Visions hoodie with a caravaggio image on it, I'm pretty sure that is Virgil Abloh.

So this shit is close to his heart, for better or worse.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:48 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, he speaks out against "culture vultures".
posted by Ad hominem at 7:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever Kanye did to earn people's disapprobation, the fact remains that Jimmy Kimmel is at least a thousand times worse.
posted by koeselitz at 7:55 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


fallon is better in every way than kimmel. ferguson blows them both out of the water. but fallon has the roots so he instantly wins.
posted by nadawi at 8:00 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it's an effort to compare Kanye West to Tracy Morgan's Tracy Jordan character, which has a lot of problems in and of itself.
posted by codacorolla at 8:10 PM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I wonder if this isn't just a manufactured controversy.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:15 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


We should start a militia to protect Kanye West.

If leather jogging pants are part of the uniform then I'm definitely signing up.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:24 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, I hate it when stars are humble or down to earth or just like us. I don't want to imagine Mariah Carrey has to worry about taking out the trash.

I tend to think that post-40 Mariah Carrey is a lot more down-to-earth than her earlier and younger incarnations. There is something that is very accessible and likeable about her that goes beyond charisma and manufactured image.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


any time I start to waver I remember the totality of his work everything from Common, John Legend, Jay Z up to recent work with Pusha T, even ignoring all the shit he actually rapped on he's got classics on classics.

Not sure why people feel a need to defend his obnoxious public persona, but this is pretty much my take (though I don't really use the word "genius" but YMMV). In general I have not enjoyed much of his solo work, but the beats he has made for others are ridiculous. The Numbers On The Boards beat is probably the best I've heard from him in a long time, and is IMO the perfect example of why you'd be crazy to write the guy off based on his Twitter and the gossip pages stuff.
posted by Hoopo at 8:34 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Siddiqi is wrong when she says "and if you've ever actually listened to Kanye you'd know he isnt an egomaniac, he struggles w self loathing like the rest of us" - you can be both self-loathing and an egomaniac

Yeah, this. I'm not getting involved with other parts of this discussion, but it is indeed 100% wrong to say that self-loathing is in any way opposed to egomania. If anything, self-loathing is a fundamental aspect of narcissism.

That said, many great artists are narcissists to one extent or another, so.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:41 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, so, let me get this straight.

1. Laurie Anderson did not invent leather jogging pants, and is thus like Philadelphia.
2. You can make clothes out of Pyrex these days (in my mother's day, you could make cake mix in it. This is definitely Progress). No word yet on borosilicate jogging pants, but I remain optimistic.
3. The whole world knows what BBC Radio 1 is. Cool, but you turned up too late for John Peel.
4. People who make it big in pop music have egos. Hey.
5. TV gives unfunny people comedy shows. Hey.
6. Isn't there supposed to be some music involved?

Ethics are the aesthetics of the future!
posted by Devonian at 8:45 PM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


KokuRyu - ha! yes, maybe some - but the old mariah is still in there as awesome and diva-y as usual. just yesterday i was watching this clip where she tries her damnedest to not show the camera the left side of her face.

Hoopo: Not sure why people feel a need to defend his obnoxious public persona
because not everyone agrees that it's obnoxious. it seems to me that what he says in public very much matches what he says in his songs.
posted by nadawi at 8:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lost in translation with a whole fucking nation
They say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation
Well that’s a pretty bad way to start the conversation
posted by koakuma at 8:58 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jimmy Kimmel doesn't care about black people. I'm with Obama on this one; Kanye is a jackass. Sarah Silverman is funnier. How much pussy is too much? That is the true measure of a man. And a woman.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:00 PM on September 28, 2013


Ugh, so racist I just can't even. And this fact is completely unrelated to how talented or not Kanye is; personally I don't think that's a very interesting or worthwhile discussion in this context.
posted by threeants at 9:11 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: Not sure why people feel a need to defend his obnoxious public persona
because not everyone agrees that it's obnoxious. it seems to me that what he says in public very much matches what he says in his songs


You're assuming that people don't consider the personality he projects in his songs to be obnoxious. I'm pretty sure that plays into it.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:14 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


nope, not assuming that at all.
posted by nadawi at 9:17 PM on September 28, 2013


This whole brouhaha is probably about as real as professional wrestling.

Look, here we are, a whole thread talking about this particular rapper and this particular talk show host.


Kanye might be a lot of things, including maybe crazy, but he's not stupid. All the ranting is part of his persona. He's bitching all the way to the bank.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm astounded by this community whenever a Kanye thread comes up.

Members show up just to hate on him for things which are not even part of the of the conversation. And mods allow it.

This mirrors exactly what I see in the media; what's acceptable against Kanye is unacceptable against others. I mean it's not like it would be acceptable to call out Mefite favorite Laurie Anderson as a song and dance hoe.

I just don't understand why there's such a visible double standard everywhere. He's just a dude that makes music.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:25 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kanye might be a lot of things, including maybe crazy

This shit.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:30 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Laurie Anderson might be a lot of things, including maybe crazy."
posted by Going To Maine at 9:33 PM on September 28, 2013


Actually, is Laurie Anderson someone the site loves? A quick search suggests that Kanye is winning in terms of number of threads and number of comments.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Members show up just to hate on him for things which are not even part of the of the conversation.

THE FIRST HONEST METAFILTER COMMENT IN YEARS
posted by Hoopo at 9:40 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's bitching all the way to the bank.

any other rapper and I would believe this. Almost any other rapper would have held off and dropped a track addressing it. Jay z fucked around and dropped Open Letter when something similar happened. He got Swizz and Timberland on a jet and made a track that night.

Kanye is and always has been Emo.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kanye might be a lot of things, including maybe crazy

This shit.



So normal people interrupt award shows and announce that the winner shouldn't have been the winner? If you don't want to be called cray don't act cray.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


One thing I did not expect from this thread was seeing Laurie Anderson thrown under the bus.

This is the thread./The thread that takes./Here come the buses./They're American buses.
posted by jonp72 at 9:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


So normal people interrupt award shows and announce that the winner shouldn't have been the winner? If you don't want to be called cray don't act cray.

recently a tape surfaced of Kanye west at dinner discussing awards shows. I don't have the link handy as I'm on mobile but he said he would step up and disrupt a show for a couple different artists, Justin Timberlake and Eminem were among them as well as Bey.

he saw it as a legit injustice and was determined to speak out.

someone please link it, it is called like Kanye West secret dinner tape.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:00 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


recently a tape surfaced of Kanye west at dinner discussing awards shows. I don't have the link handy as I'm on mobile but he said he would step up and disrupt a show for a couple different artists, Justin Timberlake and Eminem were among them as well as Bey.

he saw it as a legit injustice and was determined to speak out.

I'm... not sure this makes him sound less crazy.

Look, there are a ton of excellent points being made here about double standards and how Jimmy Kimmel is an asshole, but I feel like people are also at pains to deny that Kanye takes himself very seriously and occasionally appears to be detached from reality, both of which are traits that make him exceedingly ripe for legitimate satire.
posted by eugenen at 10:08 PM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well ok. The way I see it is that he demands people give credit where credit is due. After hundreds of years of appropriation and marginalization he wants originating artists to get credit. That is why he takes leather pants so seriously. Before anyone knew any better rap made millions for everyone but the artists working in the medium.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:20 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


But that's not the measure of his success. How much good pussy he can get is his metric. But that's cool, right? Totally cool, I shouldn't let that color my opinion of him because that would be racist.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:26 PM on September 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


That this is even a debate is utterly baffling to me. Everybody's known that Kanye West was an egomaniacal prick since the Taylor Swift incident. And a self-obsessed hyper-materialistic prick at that.

Kimmel is a comic. A big part of a comics job is to take the wind out of the biggest windbags around. Kimmel did his job.

And in many other bits, he does the exact opposite of Kanye's schtick. Kimmel mocks himself, often.

If the pop culture of the day demands that pop musicians present themselves the way Kanye does, the pop culture of the day is fucked.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:27 PM on September 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


I just assumed Kayne was Ray Smuckles entering our reality, said as someone who has often daydreamed of being Ray Smuckles.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


But that's not the measure of his success. How much good pussy he can get is his metric.

What does this mean?
posted by Hoopo at 10:33 PM on September 28, 2013


I do find that of everything I've ever seen of him, only once has he come across as a sincere person: when he slagged George Bush. I cheered when I saw that clip the first time. Everything since is just bluster from a terrified child.

I cheered, too, but I would be seriously pressed to think of any prominent slagging that was more childish.

My first reaction was actually that it was genius, because he was speaking at W's level. But that was before I heard all the other things he's said.

And much as I hate to pull out any Bushism, I really think the accusations of racism smack of "the soft bigotry of low expectations." RDJ and James Franco get away with it because they can laugh at themselves. If you want a white Kanye West, try Donald Trump.

And it doesn't matter that West has talent and Trump doesn't. Nobody's shit smells like roses, and the people who think theirs does are only tolerable to the extent that they realize how ridiculous that idea strikes everybody else.
posted by bjrubble at 10:38 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


is that an example of West not being taken seriously

No one is obligated to take West seriously. He's a musician and a windbag. People have been taking the piss out of self-important artists forever, even when those artists were very good. Kimmel is a comic, his job is to poke fun at famous people when they say grandiose things.

If someone wants me to take them seriously, they probably shouldn't call Kimmel "evil" over a sketch or claim it was racist.
posted by spaltavian at 10:40 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "Kimmel is a comic. A big part of a comics job is to take the wind out of the biggest windbags around. Kimmel did his job."

The thing is that Jimmy Kimmel is a jerk who does these things in an incredibly jerkish way. I mean - there's probably a way to do a segment sort of poking fun at a celebrity but pulling your punches, so it's all in fun. He doesn't do that, not at all. He never has. He's always been a sneerer and a mocker, which is, in my mind, the lowest of low comedy, something society would be better without. It would be different if there were some dimension to what he's doing beyond just simply mocking, but there isn't. And this weird insistence in this thread that this is the "job" of comedians strikes me as remarkably ill-considered. If this is the "job" of comedians, then we shouldn't have comedians. But I would suggest that this particularly thing is most emphatically not the calling of comedians.

Just last month he was sneering about how he "ended" twerking - apparently anything having to do with black culture is too tedious or terrible to be borne, and must be "ended" with an idiotic spoof video or stupid viral inanity. This is what he's best at: looking down at people, playing crude pranks in which the lowness of their culture or their intelligence is revealed so that he and his audience can laugh the laughter of haughty superiority. There is an element of racism to this, an element of classism too, but most of all it's just characterized by crudity and cruelty.

Brocktoon: "But that's not the measure of his success. How much good pussy he can get is his metric. But that's cool, right? Totally cool, I shouldn't let that color my opinion of him because that would be racist."

You're the one who chose to open with what he named his kid, which is not at all an offensive or even stupid thing. That is not a defense of Kanye West - I find him tedious and frankly pretty offensive at this point, mostly for the reason you're giving. He's sexist, and the fact that he's ironical or self-aware or something doesn't excuse it.

But note this: Jimmy Kimmel is one of the guys who created "The Man Show." It's funny, because "The Man Show" was also an instance of "it's ironical, but also isn't it fun that we're allowed to do this?" sexism. The difference is that the sexism of "The Man Show" is establishment sexism. It's acceptable. It's two white guys gawking at a bunch of white girls. See? Harmless fun. Kanye West? Dangerous, subversive, evil, out to get us. Bad sexism. We're fine with sexism, so long as it isn't this other bad kind of sexism. Like, for example, rappers being sexist.

I don't think either of these things are okay. In fact, I think they're both terrible. I think we need to work to get rid of both. But you can take a guess as to which I think is more dangerous and more difficult to eliminate. Hint: it's not the kind spouted by the guy who thinks he invented leather jogging pants.
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 PM on September 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hoopo: "What does this mean?"

One of Kanye's responses to Kimmel was something to that effect.
posted by koeselitz at 10:47 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I should add that I totally buy the plausibility of the story that Kanye invented leather running pants and they got ripped off.

The world can be racist and your ideas can be pointless and stupid at the same time.
posted by bjrubble at 10:49 PM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm... not sure this makes him sound less crazy.

If anything it makes him perhaps a bit naive or idealistic. But crazy? I think that's overstating it. It's not as if Kanye is the first entertainer ever to pull some shenanigans at a live show. Fair to say it was disrespectful and entitled but it's really not that crazy within the milieu of Kanye's world (that world being showbiz).

There's another thread going on here about when Costello pulled a stunt on SNL and while there's some contention about whether it was a dick move and highly unprofessional, absolutely nobody has floated the idea that Costello was "acting cray". What about when Sinead O'Connor did it? What about when Billy Joel did it?

It's odd to me, because I don't particularly have a dog in this fight; I'm neither a huge fan of Kanye's --although I have enjoyed his music-- nor really into Kimmel --though I have laughed at some of his comedy-- so going into this as neutrally as possible, watching bits of the interview and comparing them to the sketch and Kimmel's responses...man he really does come off as a bit racist and a lot asshole. And I definitely get why this was upsetting to Kanye.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:50 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


bjrubble: "The world can be racist and your ideas can be pointless and stupid at the same time."

Yep. And guess which one of those things people will want to talk about at length, and which one they'll want to ignore?
posted by koeselitz at 10:51 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let me provide a list of interruptions at Award Ceremonies:

2013: MTV movies award-winner Will Ferrell was interrupted by Aubrey Plaza, who attempted to steal his award
2010: Producer Elinor Burkett takes the stage and interrupts director Roger Ross Williams' Oscar speech
2004: During Evanescence's acceptance of Best New Artist, 50 Cent just strolls through the group
2000: Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine refuses to leave the stage, scaling the set, when Limp Bizkit wins best rock video
1998: Old Dirty Bastard takes the stage to interrupt Shawn Colvin when she won song of the year
1994: MCA of the Beastie Boys takes the stage in costume to protest when Michael Stipe wins for best direction

There's more, of course; this is just a list of the most recent and most famous. People interrupt awards show -- heck, I wouldn't watch them otherwise. Kanye had the benefit of being both entertaining and right when he did so.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


Just last month he was sneering about how he "ended" twerking - apparently anything having to do with black culture

Plainly false; he was playing off the recent, well known performance of a white performer and the resulting media obsession with sometime they didn't know about the previous week. The idea that Kimmel's goal is to mock black culture is ludicrous.

To people who don't live on the internet, Cyrus' dancing didn't seem like "white person doing a black thing", it was "latest thing the kids are doing".

The thing is that Jimmy Kimmel is a jerk who does these things in an incredibly jerkish way.

So you think it's possible that someone may think Kimmel's persona is jerkish. Is Kimmel not permitted to think West's persona is jerkish?

But note this: Jimmy Kimmel is one of the guys who created "The Man Show." It's funny, because "The Man Show" was also an instance of "it's ironical, but also isn't it fun that we're allowed to do this?" sexism. The difference is that the sexism of "The Man Show" is establishment sexism. It's acceptable. It's two white guys gawking at a bunch of white girls. See? Harmless fun. Kanye West? Dangerous, subversive, evil, out to get us. Bad sexism. We're fine with sexism, so long as it isn't this other bad kind of sexism. Like, for example, rappers being sexist.

Okay, this hypothetical person you've invented is hypocritical regarding this terribly minor thing.
posted by spaltavian at 10:58 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, I'm in a "hip-hop bar", people going down memory lane playing old Jay Z. A good 75% was produced by Kanye. I think people underestimate how big an impact his music has had and how much it means to people. I mean izzo is like an immutable part of my youth. Of couse we got Ja Rule on now. Where is Ja when you need him to make sense of shit?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:06 PM on September 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's more, of course; this is just a list of the most recent and most famous. People interrupt awards show -- heck, I wouldn't watch them otherwise. Kanye had the benefit of being both entertaining and right when he did so.

Actually, I think time has demonstrated that that Beyonce video was pretty forgettable. But then, so was the video by Taylor Swift. (Okay, not totally true. I remember the Beyonce video precisely because Kanye said it was good. Otherwise? Meh.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:09 PM on September 28, 2013


I don't listen to Kanye, but not because he's a bad musician or anything. I just don't cross his work musically, and if I do, I haven't stopped there, so I can't comment intelligently about his musical contributions.

At the same time, most of what I know of him is from how he appears in the media, which is in and of itself fraught with trouble because that means I only notice when he does something, well, meme-worthy.

The North name is more funny to me because, well, his kid's name is a play on words "North West", but I went to school with a Candy Apple and Adam Apple, so there is that. I think it's silly, but plays on words are usually silly, so I don't think Kanye would be too upset about my feelings if he found them out.

Everything about his interruption during the awards ceremony has already been said. As much as you can say you're fighting the powers that be, when you stand up in front of someone and declare publicly that they don't deserve the award that they're about to get because someone else was better, you're being an ass. You may or may not be right, but you're still being an ass.

If you get upset about the entire concept that you could be mocked, I think you're taking yourself a bit too seriously (the first piece of honest journalism is a slam to a lot of people that do amazing journalism that we on metafilter have said, "Hey, this is really good!"). I guess that's my problem with Kanye's self-importance is because it's not harmless. To raise someone else up (sometimes him, sometimes others) he denigrates everyone else, and acts as though nothing good existed until him. Other artists do this, and it does bug me. It's not the arrogance that does it (plenty of artists are arrogant), but the thoughtlessness of it. I think Kimmel is an ass a lot of times, but I think Kanye is one too. There's other times when they both seem fine.

Alright, and here's the final thing that makes him an ass: he basically goes back to the whole concept that he is better than Jimmy Kimmel because he's got more pussy. He flat-out said that. He used the old misogynistic notches on the belt metric of self-worth in a public comment. If anyone else had used that standard, if anyone else would have defaulted to such an ugly, patriarchal rendering of women as body parts to screw and collect, they would be crucified here. How on earth his works and his music buy him enough good will that people ignore that in 2013 is beyond me.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:31 PM on September 28, 2013 [38 favorites]


Kanye had the benefit of being both entertaining and right when he did so

I don't know how you're going to say Kanye was more entertaining or right than ODB:

"I don't know how y'all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children, we teach the children. You know what I mean, Puffy is good but WU-TANG IS THE BEST!"
posted by Hoopo at 11:32 PM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


If anyone else had used that standard, if anyone else would have defaulted to such an ugly, patriarchal rendering of women as body parts to screw and collect, they would be crucified here.

You're right. That's why David Foster Wallace is so hated among mefites.

"We learn about DFW’s womanizing, about his book-tour fondness for 'audience pussy,' and that he once wondered aloud to Franzen about whether his only purpose in life was “to put my penis in as many vaginas as possible.”
posted by hal_c_on at 11:45 PM on September 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think this is the sort of situation for which the phrase "a pox on both their houses" was coined.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:46 PM on September 28, 2013


I've been trying to rack my brain for the last few days to determine who might actually be a bigger "rockstar" in the world right now. And I think it's a cop out to take the he doesn't play rock music card. "Rock Star" I think the general usage of that word is widely accepted.

I'm sure there's an obvious answer I might be blanking on, but I think you could make a pretty strong case for Jay-Z/Beyonce and Kanye/Kim Kardashian pretty much occupying a very narrow perch at the top of the celebrity pyramid right now.

The thing about the whole "Kanye is crazy/a windbag/horrible person" schtick that bugs me the most is that he's being discredited for not giving plastic, cliche empty statements and interviews. Most of the celebrity interviews you see are PR massaged within an inch of their life to sell an image, and give no insight to the actual person saying the words.

What looks normal on TV is actually freakish in real life and vice-versa. Kanye is a PR person's nightmare because he always seems to be speaking extemporaneously, and has very little filter between his brain and his mouth. But for the most part he sounds exactly how passionate, brilliant creative people sound when they get all wound up. Especially ones that have been successful enough that they don't have to ever tone down their creative energies in order to deal with regular people shit like jobs and grocery store cashiers.

Sure, Kanye might want to develop a sense of humor about himself. But It also doesnt take too much of a filter to listen to that interview and see past his mannerisms to the point he was making. Happens to be a point that I 100% agree with. I honestly think if he finds a way to break past the barriers he feels he's running up against, he might actually be deserving of the pedestal that he's placed himself on. From what i've seen, chances are better than good that he actually is as talented as he thinks he is.

Also, Brad Pitt says weird shit all the time, and also fancies himself an amateur architect, and has a bizarre public spectacle marriage, and despite being singled out for mockery on occasion is never called crazy or held to the level of derision that Kanye gets. Kanye is no more ridiculous than Mick Jagger or Keith Richards or Jimmy Page or (insert rockstar here) were in their day. And again, those guys were also mocked regularly, but but there was always seemed to be a level of respect equal to their level of accomplishment.

Whether you feel like acknowledging it or not, there is vicious problem in our society when it comes to popular acceptance of anyone other than white men at the center of any narrative. The reaction is always ugly. There are still glass ceilings and walls everywhere. I feel like what Kanye was talking about is the same thing Mindy Kaling talks about in this Parade interview

“There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them,” she says. “But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art.”

...“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’” she says. “I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”


Of course she said it better than Kanye because she's Mindy Kaling and she's awesome.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:57 PM on September 28, 2013 [45 favorites]


I just assumed Kayne was Ray Smuckles entering our reality
posted by The Whelk

That is one of the greatest comments OF ALL TIME.

Said as someone who has a lot of respect for both of them, though I imagine they'd both rather drink some Stellas with each other than with me :(
posted by hap_hazard at 12:19 AM on September 29, 2013


To people who don't live on the internet, Cyrus' dancing didn't seem like "white person doing a black thing", it was "latest thing the kids are doing".

To white people whose opinions you're aware of who don't live on the internet
posted by titus n. owl at 12:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


So... assuming Kimmel meant that "KKK" thing because he's incredibly racist, and assuming that Kimmel is only making fun of West because he's black and demanding respect, is it still acceptable to retaliate with rampant misogyny? When he goes on Twitter and says to Kimmel "your sexual partners are not good pussy," he is walking up to Silverman and saying "you're not good pussy, and that is the only thing that can make you, a woman, valuable." When he goes on Twitter and tells Kimmel "Sara Silverman is funnier than you," he's projecting his own rampant sexist beliefs, that women aren't funny, that a man has to be better at everything than his romantic partners in order to be a success, and that women are valuable solely as objects of sexual desire. His shitty little twitter image macro war and dickish flailing about at any assumed weak point of Kimmel are beyond pathetic. They are NOT the things a genius does, they are things that idiots, insufferably puerile, and insecure ones do. The whole "Taylor Swift" thing and everything else? That's what an alcoholic does, so it's kind of a separate issue, just icing on the cake.

If he's unaware of the fact that massive, unimpressed swathes of the global population don't give two shits about him and his art, and are furthermore staunchly unimpressed by it, that makes him a huge douchebag and a justly targeted object of mockery. At least with someone like Bono, he's striking out at AIDS, war, and gross injustice, not just whining about getting his "unnecessary bullshit for rich people" ideas ripped off. Yes, they're both assholes, but at least when Bono did his hyper-moral grandstanding and self promotion, it was under the pretense of helping dying people in Africa.

I couldn't care less about any art (his music) or "art" (his ludicrously expensive plain white tshirts) West has ever produced. This makes me no more racist against black people, for not caring about hip hop or hip hop culture, than feeling the same way about country music makes me racist against white people. Racial issues are a critical target of discussion and consideration, and many many important conversations are being had here, but calling Kanye West a worthless asshole is not by definition related to his race.

The only thing shocking I find about Metafilter's reaction to West is how many people are willing to ignore the very serious problems he introduces to our global culture, just because America is still rife with racial issues and assholes that perpetuate them. The only person in this entire conversation that comes out not looking like a worthless oxygen thief is, in my opinion, Sara Silverman, and even she has the ignominy of being previously romantically involved with Jimmy Kimmel.

So...yeah. This is just a giant turd sandwich with dicks for bread.
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:04 AM on September 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


Love Kanye. Parody was obviously racist. My wife and I wonder if he's on the autistic spectrum. The highly focused interests, the way he expresses his formidable intelligence, and comments that seem to come at right angles to what people with conventional models of what others think all feel familiar to us.
posted by mobunited at 1:10 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Comment deleted. Vibrissae, do not start another calculated shitstorm here.]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:52 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm 100% pro-Kanye.

I can't believe I'm reading this here. Let us all declare allegiance in the dumbest argument in metafilter history.
posted by hellslinger at 1:55 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


calling Kanye West a worthless asshole is not by definition related to his race.

It's weird that apparently social-justice-related language earlier in your comment is followed up by this... I thought that part of the whole point of that area of thought is that for a black guy in America, every fucking thing he ever does is or becomes somehow related to his race.

The only thing shocking I find about Metafilter's reaction to West is how many people are willing to ignore the very serious problems he introduces to our global culture

The thing that kinda shocks me about it is how many otherwise apparently reasonable people take the opportunity to go on long profane diatribes about how this insignificant, talentless individual, otherwise worthy of nothing but our scorn, is somehow responsible for all the misogny. Makes sense to me!

It's too bad y'all aren't famous, I'm sure your twitter feeds are just scintillating.
posted by hap_hazard at 2:19 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Folks, do not make this personal. There are people participating here who are passionate fans, and people participating here who are passionately critical, and you're all going to have to find a way to talk to each other without heads exploding. In aid of that, please help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:25 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


ruh-roh! Yeah, it's late and important parts of my brain are apparently asleep already, I'm done.

I'm just here for the battle raps anyway. There will be battle raps, right guys?
posted by hap_hazard at 2:43 AM on September 29, 2013


dobbs: "To me, Kanye love is one of the most baffling things in modern culture. And I'm not talking about his music. How anyone can listen to anything this man says in interviews and defend it is mind-boggling. He's like the hip hop Bono--they both come across as insecure children begging the world to pay attention to them and then when some people do they get all upset that they're not paying attention to them in the right way.

Mostly I just find the man to be pathetically sad. Though by no means do I seek out his interactions with media, I do find that of everything I've ever seen of him, only once has he come across as a sincere person: when he slagged George Bush. I cheered when I saw that clip the first time. Everything since is just bluster from a terrified child.
"

"We got this new thing called classism. It’s racism’s cousin. This is what we do to hold people back. This is what we do. And we got this other thing that’s also been working for a long time when you don’t have to be racist anymore. It’s called self-hate. It works on itself. It’s like real estate of racism. Where just like that, when someone comes up and says something like, ‘I am a god,’ everybody says, ‘Who does he think he is?’ I just told you who I thought I was! A god! I just told you. That’s who I think I am. Would it have been better if I had a song that said, ‘I am a n***a? Or if I had a song that said, ‘I am a gangster’? Or if I had a song that said, ‘I am a pimp’? All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a god, especially when you got shipped over to the country that you’re in, and your last name is a slave owner’s. How could you say that? How could you have that mentality?"

Yeah, he sounds so insincere, totally begging for attention.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:57 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "That this is even a debate is utterly baffling to me. Everybody's known that Kanye West was an egomaniacal prick since the Taylor Swift incident. And a self-obsessed hyper-materialistic prick at that.

Kimmel is a comic. A big part of a comics job is to take the wind out of the biggest windbags around. Kimmel did his job.

And in many other bits, he does the exact opposite of Kanye's schtick. Kimmel mocks himself, often.

If the pop culture of the day demands that pop musicians present themselves the way Kanye does, the pop culture of the day is fucked.
"

"Go listen to all my music, it’s the codes of self-esteem. It’s the codes of who you are. If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself. You will believe in yourself. I’m just the espresso. I’m just the shot in the morning to get you going, to make you believe you can overcome the situation that you’re dealing with all the time."

So egotistical, who does he think he is?
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:01 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


here it is

He says Taylor Swift can't win because "can't be no more motherfucking elvises".

Honestly I think he is the bravest and the most honest pop culture figure. This is the kind of shit that has been said for years behind the scenes but nobody brought it to the forefront before.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:04 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Go listen to all my music, it’s the codes of self-esteem. It’s the codes of who you are. If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me, you’re a fan of yourself. You will believe in yourself. I’m just the espresso. I’m just the shot in the morning to get you going, to make you believe you can overcome the situation that you’re dealing with all the time."

Yeah, a SMART egotist. Kanye knows exactly what he's doing; he's deconstructing himself in a way that shows off his deconstruction as something unique, and "if you are my fan you are so cool that I can tell to not to be like me - and you will follow me even more! This is the same schtick used by phoney gurus who use the phrase "If you meet Buddha on road, kill him" to heighten their followers while they fleece them for everything they have.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:09 AM on September 29, 2013


He says Taylor Swift can't win because "can't be no more motherfucking elvises".

Honestly I think he is the bravest and the most honest pop culture figure. This is the kind of shit that has been said for years behind the scenes but nobody brought it to the forefront before.


Said with due respect: This is what happens when a smart pop star figures out a newer, keener, way to get into the heads of his fans. I'll give Kanye this: he has learned how to perfectly time his self-criticism - and phrase it - in such a way as to appear humble and brilliant at the same time - with the result that his narcissism keeps getting fed. And, as long as people are talking about him - no matter what they're saying - he's juicing on that. Also, 100-1 he's high on the sociopath scale, and probably off the charts on the narcissism scale. I feel sorry for his kid.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:15 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


kanye west fans sure sound a lot smarter than beliebers, but share the same uncritical adulation and hyper-partisan defensiveness.
posted by stavrogin at 3:21 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Kanye is a genius. But Obama was right; he's a jackass.

Kimmel is a total dick, as is his friend Adam Carolla.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:21 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Said with due respect: This is what happens when a smart pop star figures out a newer, keener, way to get into the heads of his fans.

Well, it has been almost 25 years since Fight The Power when Chuck D said "Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant shit to me you see Straight up racist".

When people say no more elvises, people know what they mean.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:27 AM on September 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


When people say no more elvises, people know what they mean.

When "people" say it? I know what Kanye West means when he says it: he means: "this is another way for me to increase the adulation by my fans; they will love the way I used such a clever reference". This is the way of the pure narcissist.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:41 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know Vibrissae, you almost have me convinced Kanye is some kind of talentless huckster. I just wonder how he got credit on all those albums before he even rapped.

This really has very little to do with Kanye. It is about a significant portion of America's willful ignorance. There are plenty of people who love Kanye West, yet Kimmel treats him like a joke. The dominant culture as typified by Kimmel is more than happy to infantilize anyone that doesn't bow and scrape. Kimmel was kow-towing to the basest among us. Scoring laughs off unreconstructed racists. I'll give Kimmel a pass because he has to eat, but not anyone who defends him.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:05 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know what Kanye West means when he says it:

You are (I'm guessing) not a psychiatrist, and certainly not Kanye West's. You are not a psychic.

Your argument hinges upon your claim that the words of someone you have never met have a secret, esoteric meaning that you can discern and reveal to the rest of us.

And this proves that Kanye is the narcissist?
posted by kewb at 4:09 AM on September 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


It is also fine to take issue with Kanye, or rap, on the merits. God knows Kanye has issues. I don't think it ok to discount him out of hand, with total disregard to any of the issues he raises.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:18 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always kind of thought Kanye was a genius-level troll.
posted by dogheart at 4:36 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there are rappers who troll. Gucci Mane and Tyler the Creator are the biggest I think. I don't think Kanye does.

As an aside, Gucci Mane threw a shit fit on twitter way way bigger than Kanye ever has recently. He ended up getting arrested for brandishing a gun at cops or something then said his codine addiction fucked him up and ended up apologizing.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:43 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It occurs to me that the intersection between Jimmy Kimmel's audience and the Radio 1 audience is pretty small. There aren't that many people watching late night American TV who would have heard the interview. "Let's re-enact this with kids" can be funny and not simply mocking (well maybe), but that relies on the audience knowing the original.
posted by hoyland at 4:48 AM on September 29, 2013


Oh, that reminds me.Jay Z interview with Zane Lowe. I'll STFU now.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:03 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I find myself wishing for his own sake that Kanye had "better" instincts about self-control and self-editing on the PR front. But those are not, and will probably never be, his greatest skills.

I truly understand why his temper/ego turn a lot of people off from even being interested in what he's doing professionally and artistically, or in his commentary on our culture. Sure. That's their prerogative. But, if they DON'T find themselves holding Russell Crowe, Steve Jobs, Alec Baldwin, John McEnroe, James Cameron, Christian Bale, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, John McCain, Mel Gibson, Quentin Tarantino, Sean Penn, etc. to that same standard... yeah, it seems fair to wonder if there's something subconscious going on about race.
posted by argonauta at 5:42 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


gucci mane apologizing to everyone but the women he slagged off. hope he finds his way to peace but he's maybe got a few more sorrys before that happens.


To people who don't live on the internet, Cyrus' dancing didn't seem like "white person doing a black thing", it was "latest thing the kids are doing".

nicki minaj and ellen discuss how when a white girl acts black everyone notices - the ellen show seems a lot closer to mainstream than the internet. also the idea that regular people or whatever the fuck don't view miley twerking as a black thing and instead as just what the kids are doing goes right back around to prove kanye's point - there's a white girl getting all the credit and headlines for something black culture made. elvises everywhere.


Actually, I think time has demonstrated that that Beyonce video was pretty forgettable.

lol. really? then how do you explain stephen merchant reenacting the video on fallon just a few days ago?
posted by nadawi at 5:43 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Previously
posted by Artw at 5:52 AM on September 29, 2013


So normal people interrupt award shows and announce that the winner shouldn't have been the winner? If you don't want to be called cray don't act cray.

They only thing saner than interrupting an award show is ignoring them.
posted by srboisvert at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just...

So Jimmy Kimmel uses kids to highlight how ridiculous a portion of an interview sounds like and is called racist. Ok..... The title letters - KKRKKWI - but are called out as KKK by quite a few people on here. Ok.... Kanye West gets mad at being called childish and then... posts the very childish responses on Twitter... Ok...

A part of me wonders if this isn't just a ploy by Kimmel and Kanye to highlight the BBC 1 interview and boost ratings?
posted by enamon at 6:25 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The title letters - KKRKKWI - but are called out as KKK by quite a few people on here

Um, have you seen the skit being discussed here? The title card is at 1:42.

(Personally, I think Jimmy was just trying to poke fun at Kanye's association with the Kardashians, but somebody should've caught it anyway.)
posted by argonauta at 6:35 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually, I think time has demonstrated that that Beyonce video was pretty forgettable.


That song is played at practically every wedding in America. If that video was forgettable, why does everyone in the room try to do this?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:38 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came into this thread thinking that Kanye West is a good musician and a terrible person, left it thinking he is a great artist and a misunderstood genius.
posted by 256 at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Kanye’s metaphor of himself as vanellope von schweetz is so genuinely good at communicating the whole idea that this interview is about that it’s like blowing me away, like the whole concept of an outside authority laying down artificial constraints on her world and forcing her out of the game and giving the public explanation that her unpredictability will be volatile and dangerous if revealed to the public because they’re expecting the game’s regular rotating cast of slight variations of the same stock character.

the whole idea of her taking it into her own hands and throwing herself into the race by force and it turns out her unpredictability gives her an edge that the other racers don’t have, and that it’s only dangerous when introduced to the public if you’re looking from the perspective of the authority that’s built on foundations that crumble if the game changes under it. the idea of her literally having changed the game. " (via disinfest)
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Came into this thread thinking that Kanye West is a good musician and a terrible person, left it thinking he is a great artist and a misunderstood genius.
posted by 256 at 9:54 AM on September 29 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Kanye threads are kind of awesome that way. Also I tell this story a lot but I ha a brief interaction with him once and he was nice to me. Very brief.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let me provide a list of interruptions at Award Ceremonies:

Soy Bomb!
posted by box at 7:08 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Blue light is flickering
Through the city streets
One billion tv sets
Glowing off concrete
One day closer to death
I know that I don't have too long
Whatever happened to Soy Bomb
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The east coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and Death Row?"
posted by box at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


This really has very little to do with Kanye. It is about a significant portion of America's willful ignorance. There are plenty of people who love Kanye West, yet Kimmel treats him like a joke.

I just don't understand this allegiance thing, even from people who normal are far more nuanced about their allegiances to everything else. Talking about his public persona is in no way dismissing his artistry (that once again, I can't personally speak to, but hell, a lot of people think he's really good, so there's probably some truth there).

He does things that are dickish from time to time. So did Raphael. That doesn't mean he's not a great artist, but being a great artist doesn't absolve him from being a jerk to people. When he said about there doesn't need to be more Elvises, he was talking about how he personally punked someone on national television, taking away someone's moment of achievement and dismissing it. It wasn't a harmless action. When he reduces women to "pussy", this isn't just some harmless self-love political statement; this is an attack not only directly on one person (Sarah Silverman), but an attack on every woman out there, and a society that's been trying to move beyond the macho bravado that he was showing there. It's alright to call him out on that and say that's not cool.

Hell, I think John Scalzi got more flak here for problematic feminism than Kanye got from straightout misogyny. You can think his opinions have validity and that he's a talented man without approving of every action he does. And you can do this without being racist or classist. Kanye West is not so big that it's impossible to have honest criticism over his words and action, and if Kanye is too big to fail, I wouldn't mind a regulatory agency breaking him up into smaller pieces that are allowed to be commented on.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:40 AM on September 29, 2013 [18 favorites]


you can also think it's ok to critique him or make jokes about him and still find kimmel's skit to be racist.
posted by nadawi at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Kimmel is a comic.

Kimmel is a panderer. He does stuff that gets his white bro audience fired up, just like his more explicitly racist friend Carolla. Do the white bros want to see an outspoken black man? No, they want their black men to be entertaining but to not demand serious consideration. This is how they tried to cast Chappelle, and he wasn't having it.
posted by ignignokt at 7:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


GoingToShopping: "So... assuming Kimmel meant that 'KKK' thing because he's incredibly racist, and assuming that Kimmel is only making fun of West because he's black and demanding respect, is it still acceptable to retaliate with rampant misogyny?"

The most racially problematic thing about this thread, and about this conversation in the culture in general, is the fact that people can't resist the temptation to ignore everything and anything that anyone else has said or done and focus solely on Kanye West. But this is not about Kanye West, this is not about whether you or I love him or hate him, this is not about whether his misogyny is "acceptable" (of course it's not). It's about something else we all willfully and happily ignore because that something else has nothing to do with the crazy black man.

This is not about Kanye West. I say that as much to the people talking about they love him as to the people talking about how they hate him. I think he's said and done some disgusting things he's going to need to atone for, but one thing he has said consistently is true: people sure do love to focus on him as a bugaboo when other, more pernicious bugaboos are staring them right in the face. And it's odd how unwilling we are to see them. They're hidden in plain sight.

Lord Chancellor: "I just don't understand this allegiance thing, even from people who normal are far more nuanced about their allegiances to everything else. Talking about his public persona is in no way dismissing his artistry (that once again, I can't personally speak to, but hell, a lot of people think he's really good, so there's probably some truth there)."

Fuck his "artistry." Talking about him at all is missing the point of what's going on. He's a celebrity - so what? He is not the only celebrity involved here.

People love to talk about Kanye West because he gives almost everyone an excuse to confirm their own prejudices. Sometimes I think that's why hip hop artists in general suddenly became popular in the mainstream over the past fifteen years. This is the service they provide to us white people: no matter where we stand, whether we're bleeding hearts or moral crusaders or anything in between, they give us an opportunity to confirm our prejudices by talking about them endlessly - and that's pleasant for us, because if we weren't confirming our prejudices by talking endlessly about black celebrities, we'd actually have to confront the shit lying just below the surface of our "normal" mainstream society. And that would be just awful, wouldn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 7:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


not excusing the pussy comment, because ugh, but it's a stretch to suggest he wrote that to insult silverman - he said silverman was funnier than kimmel, kimmel is the one that drew the direct line to silverman wrt the pussy comment right after bringing up kim's porn. how is kimmel getting a pass for his misogyny?
posted by nadawi at 7:56 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's very true, Nadawi, that in no way does being serious about critiquing Kanye somehow take Kimmel out of the picture. I don't think Kimmel is being racist here, but I do think that he's latched on to a few things that sounded absurd in this hour-long interview and mocked them. On one hand, it's what he does, he's a comedian, but on the other level, you can't immediately rely upon previous tropes of "Kanye is crazy!*" and apply them to comedy if they're not true in the instance. It makes it sound more like you have a beef with a specific person than are commenting about things that are actually pretty funny. I though the leather jogging pants thing was odd, but in a different way than Kimmel ran with it. In the end, I think Kimmel was pretty lazy with his comedy, but then . . . everything else happened.

*I don't think Kanye is crazy at all, except in the "Wow, that guy put a lampshade on his head during a party! Craaaaazy!" that we all do from time to time. As said, I think he acts like an ass, but there's a lot of rock stars and celebrities that do that. I certainly wouldn't think of him as crazy as in mentally ill or narcissistic personality disorder or any other armchair psychiatric BS.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:00 AM on September 29, 2013


And Kimmel does NOT get a pass from me for his entire history of casual misogyny. He has constantly felt entitled to a lot based on the fact that he's a man. It's softed somewhat over the last decade, but I'm not sure if that's because he's grown up slightly or because he has to be somewhat better behaved for his current TV audience.

By the way, did Kanye delete all of his offending tweets? I tried to go to the official source and it seems he's retracted both his statements and the pictures-meme tweets. Is this correct?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:08 AM on September 29, 2013


The thing is "this is what comedians do" is not mutually exclusive with criticising whether or not Kimmel's attempt at humor hit the mark or was misguided. I mean, we all understand Kimmel was trying to be funny. I don't think that's up for debate. To me, it was pointless sneering of decontextualized remarks made during an interview, made all the more cringe-inducing by Kimmel's self-admitted ignorance of the artist and depicting him as a child. And looking back, yeah, my own anecdotal experience has been that a black artist attempting to speak philosophically about their life and work is almost always mocked and ridiculed as "kinda crazy", while white artists get nods of respect for showing their "deep" side.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


kanye often deletes tweets. i wouldn't consider it a retraction.
posted by nadawi at 8:15 AM on September 29, 2013


Ah. I wonder if Kimmel and him have made up or anything.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:18 AM on September 29, 2013


i wouldn't read too much in to it, he just deleted some tweets.
posted by nadawi at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2013


Fair enough. I guess we'll see. I'm predicting they'll make up in the near future. Seems they have a lot of shared acquaintances and friends, and I think both Kanye and Kimmel want that whole snafu to be over with.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:24 AM on September 29, 2013


i dunno - from things i've read around, kimmel is having a lot of fun bringing it up and gleefully cackling over his "rap beef" while interviewing other people on his show. something tells me he'll ride this just as long as he can. as for kanye, he's presently being made fun of on the internet for daring to be upset that a paparazzi was harassing him at 4am in his garage while he was trying to get his partner and child to the airport for their trip to paris.
posted by nadawi at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of an interesting split we find here - those of us who know that Kanye is a straight genius because we've, well, actually listened to his product, and those of us who only know him as mediated through the memescape.

There is a lot of truth to the way Kanye is treated differently than white, male rock stars of the past - how he is dismissed as crazy and unhinged, while Keith Richards is just eccentric and 'living the rock star lifestyle'. I hate to think how people would react if Kanye actually trashed a hotel room - I imagine he would never hear the end of it.

However, just because the media narrative is inherently biased, I don't think we necessarily have to treat every single thing Kanye says as gold. Kimmel's shtick with the kid is a pretty old tv-satire trick - the Daily Show used to do it all the time with politicians - and while it may have been ill considered for the racial implications, I don't think it's necessarily fair to excoriate him for this joke alone.

Yes, Kanye is awesome, and part of his awesomeness is saying some completely bonkers things because he thinks a lot and he thinks aloud, sometimes in front of a microphone. We know that. But no matter the unfair treatment he receives at the hands of the white establishment, I hope I'm never in a place where I don't find the idea of leather sweatpants inherently funny.
posted by Think_Long at 8:34 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's kind of an interesting split we find here - those of us who know that Kanye is a straight genius because we've, well, actually listened to his product, and those of us who only know him as mediated through the memescape.

And those who think he's an asshole that makes good beats.
posted by Hoopo at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


He says Taylor Swift can't win because "can't be no more motherfucking elvises".

Beyoncé won best video-the big prize, best choreography, and best editing for that song at that same awards show. Elvises?
posted by Hoopo at 8:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hate to think how people would react if Kanye actually trashed a hotel room - I imagine he would never hear the end of it.

I can't see this happening, but I can see Kanye hiring people to trash the hotel room for him and then recording a song with a verse complaining about what a bad job they did and how much they charged.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:23 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


i really liked what ayesha siddiqi (and some others) had to say about this.

It's a race thing now? I saw it as a satirical comment on an attention-seeking blowhard with an over-inflated sense of self importance. To describe him as a "genius" in any context just adds to the hilarity.
posted by panboi at 9:25 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


panboi: "i really liked what ayesha siddiqi (and some others) had to say about this.

It's a race thing now? I saw it as a satirical comment on an attention-seeking blowhard with an over-inflated sense of self importance. To describe him as a "genius" in any context just adds to the hilarity.
"

Close. Now, as in the here and now, it's related to race, because it's not happening in a vaccuum.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:31 AM on September 29, 2013


Ok...now, I get it: Kanye West is every bit a Rock Star Genius as Axl Rose, and henceforth, I shall treat him with the same respect...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Damn, it's pretty gross how many of my fellow white people are using this whole thing as an excuse to be sneeringly dismissive of black experience. I need a shower.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a race thing now? I saw it as a satirical comment on an attention-seeking blowhard with an over-inflated sense of self importance. To describe him as a "genius" in any context just adds to the hilarity.

Did you read the rest of the thread where your same joke has been made repeatedly by other users and then seriously discussed at length by people who have more familiarity with West's artistic contributions to hip-hop and pop culture? Or did you just decide to drop on by with your bit of ignorant snark so you could get right on to patting yourself on the back?
posted by schroedinger at 10:12 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


yeah, it seems fair to wonder if there's something subconscious going on about race.

It's amazing to me how despite the explicit and well-documented of Black people in america, we still have to pretend like racism is some cloudy nebulous concept that actually might just be a wacky series of well-meaning misunderstandings.

Also, while I personally hate the trashing of the term "genius" in modern society, it's always seems shitty to me when people use that gripe to debase otherwise extraordinary talent and accomplishment.

There are a lot of interesting and valid criticisms of Kanye in this thread. But the flat out dismissals are really falling kind of flat at this point.

But most of all, love him or hate him, Kanye is always an interesting topic of conversation.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is about a significant portion of America's willful ignorance.

Hey now, don't forget us willfully ignant foreigners!

There are plenty of people who love Kanye West, yet Kimmel treats him like a joke.

He is a joke. That doesn't mean he's not a talented musician.

I'm an awesome retail clerk. I'm a complete failure in every other regard. Pointing out the latter doesn't negate the former.

No one who thinks Kanye's an ass cares how talented he is because it's irrelevant to determining if he's an ass. If you don't understand this, you're not having the same discussion as the people who think he's an ass.

The thread topic is Kanye and Kimmel's ass-ness, not Kanye's flow.
posted by dobbs at 11:21 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thread topic is

Kanye is correct, Jimmy Kimmel's face is laughable.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to compare him to Jimmy Fallon.

All the way through this thread, I've been thinking 'What a load of horseshit. How can that guy who has ?uestlove on the show every night be a racist?'

So it's a different guy? Then fuck him.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:53 AM on September 29, 2013


I don't really like either of these people very much and they both generally come off as smug jerkasses. Though both of them will occasionally say something funny or dead-on point once in a while, so there's that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:04 PM on September 29, 2013


I am with Kanye in this thread, and am generally inclined to like him for daring to speak truth (or at least what he feels in his heart) when he probably knows it will make certain people laugh at and hate him. But I AM squicked out by his casual reduction of a man's worth to how much good pussy he gets, and I know that my acceptance and admiration of West despite his casual misogyny is at least partly a reflection of the rampant misogyny in rap culture that I accept as a given and starting point. I do wish West would grow out of it.

I also have a genuine question about Jimmy Kimmel's face, because it does strike me as odd whenever I see it. Is it the result of plastic surgery or Botox? Or is that his natural face? I don't mean to be insulting about this, I am just genuinely curious about what is going on there, if anything.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:38 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kimmel's shtick with the kid is a pretty old tv-satire trick - the Daily Show used to do it all the time with politicians

Turning a black man into a black boy for the purpose of a sketch, even if it does also have a white man turned into a boy is always racist; ignorant at best, intentional at worst. It's disrespectful not just of Kayne West, but all black men. Just because it's done in such a way that the people doing it could pretend this wasn't what was intended, doesn't mean that we should believe them. It couldn't have been more nasty than if they sat down and thought of the worst thing they could possibly do to West.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: People love to talk about Kanye West because he gives almost everyone an excuse to confirm their own prejudices. Sometimes I think that's why hip hop artists in general suddenly became popular in the mainstream over the past fifteen years. This is the service they provide to us white people: no matter where we stand, whether we're bleeding hearts or moral crusaders or anything in between, they give us an opportunity to confirm our prejudices by talking about them endlessly - and that's pleasant for us, because if we weren't confirming our prejudices by talking endlessly about black celebrities, we'd actually have to confront the shit lying just below the surface of our "normal" mainstream society. And that would be just awful, wouldn't it?

I like the way that koeselitz puts this, because he makes my point, perfectly. Essentially, those who appear to look at everything through the lens of racism in an almost obsessive way, find what they want when someone criticizes Kanye West, or mocks him, or outright dismisses him. They don't see to be able to hear that people just don't like West, and that they are appalled by his behavior. Sure, the dude has a a few songs that make you want to bob your head, and he does have some musical talent - no doubt.

The same can be said for someone like Madonna, re: her talent and some of the messages that she has put across over the years. Some see her as a leading feminist voice who shills for complete sexual freedom and control over one's own body. Others see her as someone who has - like Kanye - used socially hot issues to raise consciousness, but they see a lot of damage being done in the way that message is delivered.

Guess what? Just because Kanye's or Madonna's work is called "art", doesn't make it immune to criticism, and just because it's called "art", doesn't mean it gets a free ride on the train that keeps it from being called bullshit. Also, just because it's called "art" doesn't mean that by-and-large, and overall, there isn't more harm done from the way these half-assed egotists put their stuff out there, compared to the so-called "good" that their message delivers.

As far as Jimmy Kimmel goes, calling him a reflection of white racism or condemning people who watch his stuff or laugh at his jokes is representative of the same unfair treatment that some here are claiming as they go all hagiographic on Kanye West.

Personally, I think Kimmel is kind of a lightweight, but he's an entertainer. Same goes for Kanye West. That said, it makes both of them fair game for attack from any number of perspectives, but what I see here is that the one perspective that keeps popping up is the racism perspective. Perhaps some of that perspective has value, and we can learn from it via discussion, but to claim it's the sole perspective - from either side of the argument, is not correct.

A lot of people grok West; same with Kimmel. ON BOTH sides, some of them are racist, some not.

Where I come down on Kanye West is (besides his music just not being my cup of tea - a purely subjective thing) is his antics; is what I consider to be the fucked up way he presents his messages. The same could be said for Kimmel, or Madonna, etc.

In general, the modeling of real empathy and careful understanding of difference via these media whores is virtually absent. They do whatever they can to feed their egotistic, narcissistic, and too-often apparently sociopathic, borderline personality selves. Kimmel and Madonna and Kanye West are among the the LAST group of people our young people should be looking up to as models for behavior; for models about how to get along in the world, or even change the world in a good way.

Many will disagree with what I say, so be it. World culture has been made more communicative by technology, but it has also been made more accepting of increasingly outrageous behavior, to feed the money machine. Look at MIA and the Superbowl. Was it cool to give the finger at halftime when millions of kids are watching the game? "Oh, cool! Did you day that? Oh MIA is so cool!" bullshit. And, anyone who does stuff like that; who uses a popular media venue to degrade the sensibility of difference, or model crude messaging about change that alienates the other, is a bullshit user - never mind whether that manipulative user mentality comes from a misogynistic, narcissistic asshole like Kanye West, or not.

What amazes me is that people don't see through the way that West has appropriated their critical thinking skills by using the scam of self-deconstruction in a lot of what he does to create followers. THis is a common cognitive trick - i.e. "don't follow me, I'm no good" AFTER you have the attention of your mark. Really, really clever. Kinda reminds me of Bob Dylan, who was not as conscious in his manipulations, but didn't give a shit about the "issues" he sang about. He was, in his own mind, just an entertainer, and he took it all the way to the bank. Kanye West is just an entertainer, and he has used misogyny, racism, and anything else he can put the sacred beat to, to increase his bank account, and has also cleverly managed to keep people who would otherwise be appalled at his behavior - if it was separated from the world of music - as the work of a manipulative marcissist that they wouldn't let their kids near (or hear) with a ten-foot-pole.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:08 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thread topic is Kanye and Kimmel's ass-ness, not Kanye's flow.

Can I get a 'lol', ladies and gentlemen?
posted by Sebmojo at 1:13 PM on September 29, 2013


Turning a black man into a black boy for the purpose of a sketch, even if it does also have a white man turned into a boy is always racist; ignorant at best, intentional at worst. It's disrespectful not just of Kayne West, but all black men. Just because it's done in such a way that the people doing it could pretend this wasn't what was intended, doesn't mean that we should believe them. It couldn't have been more nasty than if they sat down and thought of the worst thing they could possibly do to West.

How about if they'd turned him into a girl?
posted by Sebmojo at 1:15 PM on September 29, 2013


It is about a significant portion of America's willful ignorance. There are plenty of people who love Kanye West, yet Kimmel treats him like a joke.


They are plenty of people who couldn't care less about West. His fans do not own culture, and no one owes it to you to care about the same things you do. MetaFilter is really at the point where if you don't like Kayne West's music, you are "ignorant".

It's disrespectful not just of Kayne West, but all black men.

Of course it's disrespectful of Kayne West, it's satire. Disrespect is not racism, and Kanye West is not "all black men".
posted by spaltavian at 1:27 PM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


For better or worse it is currently acceptable in America's political discourse to hold the opinion that God does not approve of homosexuality. You are allowed to go onto respectable television programs and to espouse the argument that the 'fact' that God does not approve of homosexuality means that homosexuals should be denied rights that the rest of heterosexual population has. However, it is not currently acceptable to go around saying "God Hates Fags" on tv; Fred Phelps is roundly despised by nearly everyone, he isn't given a spot at the discussion table, and his opinion is considered an embarrassment even by the people that are sympathetic to his basic stance. The reason why is simple: it's not just the message. It is how you say it. It is who is saying it and why they are saying it.

This whole thing is not a reductive binary where either Kanye is a jack ass or the media is racist for portraying him in a way that is dismissive. He can be right about his points but people can legitimately not want to hear him out because he said them in an irritating way (ie in all caps on twitter). Even if he's wrong about all of his points other people will defend him because they respect the fact that he represents a different viewpoint from the mainstream and because he spoke authentically from the heart. Maybe people judged his comments before they heard them because they don't want to listen to a person they find bombastic or misogynistic, or maybe they pre-decided to be on his side because they love his artistic work or because he represents a long line of system-challenging black intellectual shit-talkers in the mold of the Black Panther Party. What he's doing is all of those things at once, in a way, because his message, his medium and his method of speaking inside that medium aren't coordinated well.

To me it ultimately comes down to the fact that Kanye has been behaving in the same way for about a decade now, going back at least to 2005 and the George Bush hates black people moment after Hurricane Katrina, and he's been getting called on the carpet for it ever since. He doesn't seem to be learning to pick his battles, and the fact that he gets hell-bent on fighting unwinnable wars (and picking a battle with a comedian like this is pretty much unwinnable as far as I can tell - I can't remember a single time that a celebrity picked a fight over a joke at their expense and came out looking good) - well, that means that he's doing himself a legitimate disservice even if the system is also predisposed against him for racist reasons.

As time goes on, I'm less and less sympathetic to him and less interested in his opinions because he doesn't seem to be evolving in his presentation, and in fact, seems to be devolving in many ways. If he hasn't learned from these controversies and mockeries and hullaballoos yet then I doubt he's ever going to really learn, which makes every new flap he gets into increasingly tedious for me because most of them seem unnecessary, and being right doesn't really matter if you go about being right in the wrong way. After all there are a lot of people in this country that think that Fred Phelps has a point but they want him to shut up because he's embarrassing himself and his viewpoint by being too confrontational and crass about it.
posted by Kiablokirk at 1:28 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The importance of any online conversation is in inverse proportion to the number of capital letters used.

Narratives from adolescents just discovering e. e. cummings or early Bob Dylan liner notes aside, that is.
posted by y2karl at 1:43 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the way that koeselitz puts this, because he makes my point, perfectly

Based on the rest of your comment we took completely different things from the same comment. You seem to take it as confirmation that race can be ignored; I read it as saying some number of us will take any opportunity to act like race can be ignored, even when doing so means deliberately ignoring relevant context and history.

Maybe we're both wrong.
posted by rtha at 1:43 PM on September 29, 2013


Of course it's disrespectful of Kayne West, it's satire. Disrespect is not racism, and Kanye West is not "all black men".

Oh, it so is racism when you directly infantilise a black man, tapping into a rich not quite history of white people doing this to black men.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:44 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the way that koeselitz puts this, because he makes my point, perfectly.

So perfectly that you had to add ten more paragraphs of farting about media whores and our young people and the sacred beat, eerily similar to the long rants you post in every thread about Kanye West. Go ahead, get it off your chest. Pardon me if I think our young people are better served by enjoying the pop culture they like than they are by listening to finger-wagging gloom merchants myopically railing week-in, week-out about their unrighteous heroes and their horrible taste in pop stars.

You are taking part in the Kanye controversy industry. You could be doing lots of other things, reading and writing about all sorts of constructive aspects of pop or other culture, but you choose instead to breathe on Kanye and his fans, making it clear how much you despise them and him. It's stale.

You could be writing about Public Enemy. You could be writing about righteous social movements. You could be writing about pop stars who conform to your ideologies. You could be writing about Jimmy Kimmel's face.

You're writing about Kanye, again.

He gotcha, again.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:44 PM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Previous comment to be omitted. Man, this is what I get for reacting to the first thing I read.
posted by y2karl at 1:50 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Earlier, ArmyOfKittens noted that, according to Google, Kanye appears to rant more than speak out, while Lady Gaga appeared to speak out more than rant. Also, Bunny Ultramod provided a list of award show interruptions by folks who weren't Kanye & hadn't been subsequently (or at least, as memorably) called out for being crazy.

One of the interruptions noted was by 50 Cent, back in 2004. This got me a little curious, so I did a Google search.
50 cent rants: about 9,240,000 results
50 cent speaks out: about 22,000,000 results
posted by Going To Maine at 2:11 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I don't get why West complained that Swift winning instead of Beyonce would be like having another Elvis. I don't think of Swift appropriating black culture in any significant way -- am I missing something? Did he just mean that white people will always get attention and acclaim in the entertainment business even when black people are more deserving, and not really alluding to Elvis stealing from black culture?
posted by onlyconnect at 2:26 PM on September 29, 2013


Oh, it so is racism when you directly infantilise a black man, tapping into a rich not quite history of white people doing this to black men.

Kimmel isn't very original; he's been using kids is skits his entire career, so spare me the lecture on context. Regardless of Kanye's talent (which is obvious), his interview contained adolescent bragging. Kanye's immaturity is not only well known, it's something he struggles with in his own art. Your personal celebrity icons are not immune from parody.


Actually, I think time has demonstrated that that Beyonce video was pretty forgettable.

lol. really? then how do you explain stephen merchant reenacting the video on fallon just a few days ago?


Are you serious? Yes, no one will forget where they were the day Ricky Gervais' writing partner make a joke about a music video with a C-minus SNL guy.
posted by spaltavian at 2:28 PM on September 29, 2013


taylor swift did a song with t pain.
posted by nadawi at 2:31 PM on September 29, 2013


Regardless of Kanye's talent (which is obvious), his interview contained adolescent bragging. Kanye's immaturity is not only well known, it's something he struggles with in his own art.

Right, but a person can have basic human failings, like bragging too much, and still be a brilliant person with important ideas.
posted by 256 at 2:33 PM on September 29, 2013


Speaking of award show interruptions - Jarvis Cocker interrupted Michael Jackson of all people during a performance. Of course this was almost twenty years ago and at the Brit Award, but still.

That said, both Kimmel and Kanye West are obnoxious. Most of the time I'd be happier not having to hear about either, although at least Kanye has some interesting points mixed in with the obnoxiousness.
posted by madelf at 2:34 PM on September 29, 2013


i don't think anyone is saying he's immune from criticism, but that the details surrounding this specific critique had some racist shit, whether intentional our not. pretending that the defenders of this position are just wide eyed fans eager to dismiss the faults of their hero is straight up bullshit.
posted by nadawi at 2:37 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right, but a person can have basic human failings, like bragging too much, and still be a brilliant person with important ideas.

I don't disagree. Kayne is obviously intelligent and talented. He's also really famous and says some pretty funny stuff on the microphone. Especially when his self-created persona is a struggle between self-loathing, doubt and megalomanical swagger.
posted by spaltavian at 2:41 PM on September 29, 2013


Are you serious? Yes, no one will forget where they were the day Ricky Gervais' writing partner make a joke about a music video with a C-minus SNL guy.

Seriously? That Merchant lip sync video was one of the best things I have gotten out of this thread. And if your position is honestly that Beyonce is not a cultural touchstone, then I think we are from different cultures.
posted by 256 at 2:44 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


retending that the defenders of this position are just wide eyed fans eager to dismiss the faults of their hero is straight up bullshit.

What's "bullshit" is this strawman. I never said his fans were dismissing his faults. What you are clearly doing is calling someone racist of poking fun at those faults. What you want is for everyone to acknowledge how "serious" West is; but no one owes that to you or him. There are people outside of your life experience, people who really don't remember that Beyonce video, people who maybe don't even watch music videos. Some guy who's really full of himself sounds pretty funny to people who aren't into that particular corner of celebrity, even if that artist is intelligent, talented and meaningful.
posted by spaltavian at 2:46 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am not sure who those people are who are simultaneously totally ignorant of Beyonce, Kanye West, and music videos, but are devotees of Jimmy Kimmell. Somehow I think they are perhaps smaller in number, and remarkably less diverse in background than the rest of the world who is more than passably aware of these things.
posted by schroedinger at 2:49 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some guy who's really full of himself sounds pretty funny to people who aren't into that particular corner of celebrity, even if that artist is intelligent, talented and meaningful.

The guy in question is also African-American and his art and persona can not be easily separated from the historic context of Africans in America.

Saying "I would feel the same the way about a white dude pulling this shit" is really missing the point.
posted by 256 at 2:52 PM on September 29, 2013


Seriously? That Merchant lip sync video was one of the best things I have gotten out of this thread. And if your position is honestly that Beyonce is not a cultural touchstone, then I think we are from different cultures.

Similar to Kanye West, I'm not talking about the quality of the work. But using Jimmy Fallon, of all people, to prove a particular music video is important is absurd. We're a decade past music videos having much relevance, so Beyonce might be around for a very long time, but that video won't. I never said anything about her being a cultural touchstone, nadawi was talking about that specific video.

As for Beyonce, sure, she's a cultural touchstone for a huge segment of culture.She'll probably have a career with as much longevity as Madonna. I doubt my parents could name more than two Madonna songs. I don't think I could name three or four Beyonce songs. No matter how big you are, most people don't care about you.
posted by spaltavian at 2:53 PM on September 29, 2013


We're a decade past music videos having much relevance.

LFMAO, Lady Gaga, Psy.
posted by 256 at 2:59 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The guy in question is also African-American and his art and persona can not be easily separated from the historic context of Africans in America.

What's your point? Kayne West is not blackness personified, not liking him or his music is not the disrespecting the history of Africa Americans.

You also overstate your case by orders of magnitude. West has a lot of things to say about race in this country. He also has a lot to say about the fairly boring melodrama of celebrity, and about his struggles with his ego and self-worth. While that can be interesting, it's not very different than, say Trent Reznor.

If you want to say West is incredibly profound, that's your prerogative, but even being the singular most meaningful artist of your time doesn't shield you from someone taking the piss out of you.
posted by spaltavian at 3:00 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


LFMAO, Lady Gaga, Psy.

Contrary to popular belief, people don't stop existing at 26. Just announcing how important you are doesn't make you important to everyone. The Backstreet Boys sold a lot of records too.
posted by spaltavian at 3:02 PM on September 29, 2013


that video is still a huge deal, lots of people are still doing the dance in clubs, and flash mobs, and other such things. it's honestly not even up for debate. it's a different argument than some people don't care about pop culture. it was said that the single ladies video has been shown to be forgettable. in the context of pop culture that's just wrong. it's also wrong to say videos don't matter anymore.
posted by nadawi at 3:02 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


the point of listing those artists is that they're mainly video artists. there's a reason that youtube views count towards single play counts.
posted by nadawi at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2013


nadawi, you seem unable to fathom that culture is not a unified thing. Unless you are at the club, no one gives a fuck what's going on there.
posted by spaltavian at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


You could be doing lots of other things, reading and writing about all sorts of constructive aspects of pop or other culture, but you choose instead to breathe on Kanye and his fans, making it clear how much you despise them and him. It's stale.

Sorry you feel that way. Some people want to "believe", no matter what. Read Eric Hoffer. Incidentally, your post is a perfect example of someone helping to make my point. And, just to help you a little bit in your future, you might try not putting words into people's mouths. Who said I "despise Kanye's fans"? I sure didn't. You're probably a very nice person.

I choose to provide counterbalance to the "true believer" status that this media narcissist has in the world of pop culture. I happen to think that people like West are toxic, in that they model entirely inappropriate behaviors as they manipulate the sensitivities of their followers all the way to the bank.

Would you want your kid to behave like West? I sure wouldn't. And, if you don't like to see someone drawing a line in the sand and saying "enough", relative to the bullshit that Kanye perpetrates - and his dysfunctional modeling of behavior to youth - that's unfortunate, because guess what? There are people who disagree with you, and who could care less if you think their argument is "stale". I would ask you to examine your own hagiography re: Kanye, and to stop personally attacking people who disagree with you.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Backstreet Boys sold a lot of records too

And I may not like their music but The Backstreet Boys and N*Sync still were an important moment in music history. Your personal feelings about a musician does not dictate their effect on culture at large. Seriously, you sound like the people who argue Nirvana didn't mean anything because they don't listen to their music.
posted by schroedinger at 3:06 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


you seem to be purposefully missing my point, in the context of pop culture single ladies is still a big deal. that is all i am saying.
posted by nadawi at 3:07 PM on September 29, 2013


Your personal feelings about a musician does not dictate their effect on culture at large.

That was my point.
posted by spaltavian at 3:07 PM on September 29, 2013


Spaltavian: I'm not sure which orders of magnitude you're talking about; maybe we do math differently. Anyhow, I feel like we're basically in agreement except that I think your second point is relevant to your first one.

West speaks heavily, perhaps primarily, about the experience of being a talented black man. As such, I think he has earned/created a paradigm where criticisms of him have to be viewed through a racial lens.
posted by 256 at 3:10 PM on September 29, 2013


> What you are clearly doing is calling someone racist of poking fun at those faults.

You can also poke fun at someone without using racially charged digs. Hey, Tina Fey can skewer deeply absurd and distasteful woman without being sexist.

I ignored the twitter drama until this thread, but dang: Kimmel did the black-man-as-boy thing and titled the skit so that the initials were KKK? And this was mocking an interview in which Kanye complained that he as a black man is dismissed or cherry picked in exactly that way? No wonder Kanye was pissed.

Also, I've seen
#NODISRESPECTTO[X]
#ALLDISRESPECTTO[Y]
start to become a thing, so there's that.
posted by postcommunism at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2013


nadawi, you seem unable to fathom that culture is not a unified thing. Unless you are at the club, no one gives a fuck what's going on there.

But this is not just "at the club" -- not at all. I don't know what you'll hear at the club, but in 2013, it probably won't be "Single Ladies," for years a staple of mainstream radio and something you're likely to hear at wedding receptions, dentists' offices, or TGI Fridays. This is about as unified as culture gets.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, you sound like the people who argue Nirvana didn't mean anything because they don't listen to their music.

Funny you bring up Nirvana, because there were plenty of parodies of them. I'm sure people in the scene thought those parodies were from people who didn't "get it", didn't understand how important Nirvana and were marginalizing an important movement. The difference is, to my knowledge, Cobain didn't call Weird Al "evil".
posted by spaltavian at 3:13 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like Kanye, jackass that he is, but if his reaction to being spoofed on a late night talk show is to make a comment comparing the quality of pussy he and Kimmel get, then he *is* a child.
posted by rocket88 at 3:16 PM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


there are plenty of parodies of kanye that aren't problematic. to a lot of people, this isn't one of them. and not that it really matters but weird al gets the permission of the artists he parodies.
posted by nadawi at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Non-problematic Kanye sketch:

Kanye as literal music god somberly handing down beats from a recording studio in the clouds. Beats keep getting more and more esoteric and difficult and his audience more and more puzzled until finally Kanye himself comes down from above and announces that he will change music forever. He presents 3 seconds of a chipmunked Lorraine Ellison sample played backwards over a space shuttle launch. Audience is visibly confused. Kanye plays it again, this time adding a "haaangh." Audience tries to dance, fails. Pitchfork gives it a 10.0.
posted by postcommunism at 3:41 PM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad I don't have to pick sides in the Kimmell vs Kanye war, but I will happily plant some IEDs around the Pitchfork encampment.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:51 PM on September 29, 2013


I choose to provide counterbalance to the "true believer" status that this media narcissist has in the world of pop culture.

Thank goodness you're here, Vibrissae--there's a thread about Miley Cyrus that cries out for your iconoclastic brand of speaking truth to power. Or is this something that you only do in posts about Kanye West, hip-hop music and the 'getto culture' of football?

I don't even like Kanye West, and you make me want to stick up for the guy.
posted by box at 3:57 PM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


We should start a militia to protect Kanye West.

If leather jogging pants are part of the uniform then I'm definitely signing up.


Just when I think Metafilter couldn't get any dumber, some one posts a link like this...

...and totally redeems this site!
posted by codswallop at 4:17 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about if they'd turned him into a girl?

*shrug* Probably still racist.

I'd like to see a surrealist sketch where they kept cutting away and everytime the cut back he was something else. A moai, a traffic cone, THREE Kanye West's, a small asian guy with Wushu eyebrows, four toddlers in a trench coat, etc.
posted by codswallop at 4:28 PM on September 29, 2013


Incidentally, your post is a perfect example of someone helping to make my point.

Incidentally, your post is a perfect example of someone helping to make my point.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:40 PM on September 29, 2013


Thank goodness you're here, Vibrissae--there's a thread about Miley Cyrus that cries out for your iconoclastic brand of speaking truth to power. Or is this something that you only do in posts about Kanye West, hip-hop music and the 'getto culture' of football?

If you would take the time to non-selectively read what I've posted on mefi, you would probably find that you agree with me more, than not.

I don't even like Kanye West, and you make me want to stick up for the guy.

Be careful about that kind of logic, because it can later be applied universally, to any person whose arguments you strongly disagree with. btw, football is a kind of "ghetto culture", in that the ghetto of violence that lies in all our hearts - to some degree - is fed by the pap that professional football has become. When double-dgit IQ ex-jocks-turned-announcers keep talking about "Smash mouth football", or "he almost took his head off!", or "look at Koep's cool tattoos", they promulgate more and more of what I see as a ghetto of impropriety that has infected our culture. Disagree if you will, but please don't change your mind to spite me! That would be your tragedy, and yours alone.

Most commercial hip-hop is horribly misogynistic and sexist; makes it's point in the most disrespectful ways; urges fans to think short-term; and, models incredibly poor behavior for a civilized culture, and especially youth. Furthermore, Kanye West is one of the last people I want to see American - or any other kid - model himself/herself after (there are others in that group, but we're talking about West, today); he's a jerk in the way that he portrays himself - and btw, so is Miley Cyrus; thanks for bringing her up!

It's a sad thing to see American culture sink to the depths where someone like West is honored as an inspired artistic voice - so low as to include phoney, all-about-the-money-narcissists like Cyrus and West who are anything but "great" in any sense of the word - other than in their ability to use the media and hot issues and the sacred beat to enrich themselves as they further degrade culture. You may not agree with that - so be it. Have a nice day.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:31 PM on September 29, 2013


I'm taking the opposite stance to most people here: I think Kanyes interview was brilliant but a little silly, while Kimmel's making fun of him was clever but a little cheap, just like their entire careers.

If I had to choose between them, I choose this:
"2004: During Evanescence's acceptance of Best New Artist, 50 Cent just strolls through the group"

∞lols
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]




"look at Koep's cool tattoos" ... a ghetto of impropriety

You don't like tattoos either? I never would've guessed.
posted by box at 5:53 PM on September 29, 2013


kanye is ok for white people
posted by nadawi at 5:55 PM on September 29, 2013


kanye is ok for white people

Man, when John Darnelle said that thing about how George W. Bush only cared about black people, he sounded dumb.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:57 PM on September 29, 2013


I wouldn't trade one Beastie Boys song for Kanye's entire back catalog. Plus, the Beasties had a sense of humor.
posted by w0mbat at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, when John Darnelle said that thing about how George W. Bush only cared about black people, he sounded dumb.

Er... oops. Put that thing down, flip it, and reverse it. Serves me right for wanting to be snappy.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:07 PM on September 29, 2013


I'd trade every hardcore song the Beastie Boys ever recorded plus 'Girls' for just 'Touch the Sky.'
posted by box at 6:17 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just listened to my first Kanye West song (Touch the Sky). I loved that retro sounding brass groove. Thanks box.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:29 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, if anybody wants to disagree with that counterfactual, I'd love to hear their reasoning, with examples of it happening to white entertainers

I suppose it depends on what you think "the same tone" would be. (Honestly, this thread seems to be chock-full of a variety of opinions about Kanye.) However, if you're looking for other white artists who have been portrayed as being crazy, I would suggest considering Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, & Tom Cruise as possible starting points. (Note that I am very much not providing any specific counter-factual here. However, if you wanted to think about such, these would be folks you could work with. Bono was also mentioned earlier in the thread.)
posted by Going To Maine at 6:31 PM on September 29, 2013


Sure thing--it's a Curtis Mayfield sample.
posted by box at 6:34 PM on September 29, 2013


[If we could have this conversation in a way that doesn't involve putting super racist words in other people's mouths, it will go better.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:41 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't trade one Beastie Boys song for Kanye's entire back catalog. Plus, the Beasties had a sense of humor.

Yeah but to be fair there was a fair amount of misogyny tossed in the mix as well. And when they felt like it, they could do "humorless scolds" along with the best of them. And yes, I know they apologized for their earlier immaturity. But I think it's interesting to note that they were given the benefit of the doubt in their attempts to grow and mature in the public eye beyond their initial persona as drunken party animals.

Going to Maine: I've been racking my brain all day trying to think of what White artist I would compare to Kanye in this context. I don't think any of the examples you list, despite having been soundly painted with the crazy brush, have ever been wholly dismissed in the way Kanye seems to be. The closest being Mel Gibson. But he was not at the height of his career when the crazy came out, and his brand of crazy was far worse than anything Kanye's done.

The closest direct comparison I can make to Kanye is Sean Penn. Married Madonna, punched a few paparazzi, unpopular political ideas, continuously chafing against the same celebrity system that he also worked pretty hard to remain a working part of. But again, I never recalled him being as wholly reduced to "just crazy, nothing else to see here" as Kanye seems to be.

Put as simply as possible, I think it's really hard to argue against the idea that there's a double standard in the culture wherein Women and persons of color get tossed straight into the crazy bucket for behavior that white men get passes for, if not outright praised.

Russell Brand is another example that pops into my mind. He's every bit the smug jackass Kanye is. Even when he's right, his timing and approach always seem to be of the taking a gun to a knife fight variety. It's always a scathing rebuke when a simple aside would have sufficed. And most of his supposedly raw and honest takes on things are at about the level of precocious 8th grader. And he's mocked plenty, and plenty of people don't like him, but I don't se him being dismissed wholesale as a complete loon.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:57 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just ordered my $120 Kanye plain white tshirt. I plan to display it next to my KISS memorabilia.
posted by crank at 7:28 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Russell Brand is a jackass, but he also knows how to fuck with the morons on Fox News.

Kanye's problem is that he's too thin skinned and out of touch. Leather jogging pants? we're allowed to make fun of anybody who thinks them up, wears them, sells them for hundreds of dollars, or buys the knockoffs at H&M. And stylists who think they're cool and above laughing at heartily.

And Kimmel's problem is that he's trying to engage a guy who takes himself too seriously. And his other problem is that he's friends with ppl like Adam Carolla which makes him look stupid. And I suspect his ignorance is on par with that of Chelsea Handler's.

This whole thing is stupid.
posted by discopolo at 7:28 PM on September 29, 2013


Oh yes, Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin are nutbuckets. I love Alec Baldwin but his behavior and narcissism is worthy of being mocked a ton.
posted by discopolo at 7:31 PM on September 29, 2013


I think it's interesting to note that they were given the benefit of the doubt in their attempts to grow and mature in the public eye beyond their initial persona as drunken party animals.

I don't think they were, actually, except by those really paying attention. The Beasties weren't as big as Kanye for as long. It wasn't for something like 8 years and 3 albums later they had another #1 after their first album. Also all their biggest hits were just goofy songs with good videos after the first album--Sabotage and Intergalactic. They are as likely to have had an entirely new audience as they are to have been given the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Hoopo at 7:49 PM on September 29, 2013


Would you want your kid to behave like West?

No. But I want them to grow up in a world where someone did.
posted by 256 at 8:36 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just spent the evening listening to tracks that this dude either rapped on or produced and, basically, if you don't think this dude is bigger than the Beatles, then you need to listen to more new music.

How would you react to John Lennon saying he was bigger than Jesus?
posted by 256 at 8:47 PM on September 29, 2013


Vibrissae: "Most commercial hip-hop is horribly misogynistic and sexist; makes it's point in the most disrespectful ways; urges fans to think short-term; and, models incredibly poor behavior for a civilized culture, and especially youth."

OK, so you're spouting stuff that ignores the pyrical content and messaging of lots of popular music, unfairly singling out hip hop, untruly using hip hop, and drop the whole civilized nugget in a discussion regarding race.

You're saying uninformed AND ra cist things! Good job.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:51 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Making this about race is disgraceful. A rich, privileged white guy is a racist because he pokes fun at an even richer, even more privileged black guy? This has nothing to do with race, except that Kanye is using race to try and win points. If Kanye was still struggling on the mean streets of Oak Lawn or Aurora, IL, maybe he'd have a point. But he's not. He is very well rewarded for his talent.

And the comparison to Bono is ridiculous as well. Bono rants to bring attention to other people's problems, or to complain about other people's behavior. Kanye rants about people not giving him the respect he imagines he deserves. His rants are self serving.

And also, word-salad nonsense. Have you actually listened to the shit he was saying? I did, and much of it made very little sense.

He's not self-hyping like Ali or going on political rants. He is being a whiny child having a temper tantrum.
posted by gjc at 8:59 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Siddiqi is wrong when she says "and if you've ever actually listened to Kanye you'd know he isnt an egomaniac, he struggles w self loathing like the rest of us" - you can be both self-loathing and an egomaniac - but I think she's right about pretty much everything else.

Self-loathing is all about ego-mania and narcissism.
posted by gjc at 8:59 PM on September 29, 2013


/And also, word-salad nonsense. Have you actually listened to the shit he was saying? I did, and much of it made very little sense.

Made sense to me.
posted by sweetkid at 9:06 PM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just spent the evening listening to tracks that this dude either rapped on or produced and, basically, if you don't think this dude is bigger than the Beatles, then you need to listen to more new music.

He might have bigger numbers or more music produced. I have no way to compare the numbers. (Quick googling says that the Beatles outsold him by two orders of magnitude, but I can't back that up.) But bigger as a cultural phenomenon? No way.

Here is a link that I assume is correct. Mr. West is nowhere near the top. There are lots of black people above him.

How would you react to John Lennon saying he was bigger than Jesus?

I'm not sure how I'd react to that, because he is dead and he never said that. He said they were more popular than Jesus Christ, which was not outside of the realm of possibility at the time. The world is only 30% Christian. It would not be hard to show that more people liked the Beatles than they did Christ.
posted by gjc at 9:14 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


gjc Here is a link that I assume is correct. Mr. West is nowhere near the top. There are lots of black people above him.

Exactly: I would entertain a long bet as follows: In 40 years, Kanye West's music will be played and heard at a rate that does not exceed 1%, compared the amount of Beatles music that is played and heard; this includes derivative scores, including purely instrumental derivatives of both artist's entire opus. Also, apply that same bet to many other artists on gjc's link.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:30 PM on September 29, 2013


Made sense to me.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/09/23/kanye_west_bbc1_interview_with_zane_lowe_watch_part_1_and_read_the_best.html


Really? I know those are pull quotes and might be missing context, but jeez. I'm not going to pretend to diagnose him with anything, but it sounds to me like he at the very least needs to switch to decaf.

I can only speak for myself, but it has nothing to do with his talent or his ego. It is his entitlement. He seems to think that other popular musicians and water bottle designers are just cruising through their lives, having their riches and popularity handed to them on silver platters. He seems to ignore any of their talent and hard work, all the while crying about how people don't recognize HIS talent and hard work.

He is just a whiny crybaby who couldn't hold Tupac's jock. And he knows it, and that's why he doth protest so much.
posted by gjc at 9:31 PM on September 29, 2013


I just ordered my $120 Kanye plain white tshirt. I plan to display it next to my KISS memorabilia.

HA! Well done. You win the internet for today.
posted by gjc at 9:33 PM on September 29, 2013


yes really.
posted by nadawi at 9:42 PM on September 29, 2013


How would you react to John Lennon saying he was bigger than Jesus?

This is a good question that hits an interesting, comparative point. I think I'd probably figure that this was some star blowing off his mouth about how big he was. I'd also think that it would be totally appropriate for a major television host to lampoon him.

That said, the idea of comparing Kanye to the Beatles directly is somewhat silly. The music industry is vastly different than it was in the '60s. The Beatles possessed more cultural power than Kanye because the way that culture is disseminated has changed.

In a parallel, we might note that no newscaster gets the audience that Walter Kronkite got, but it would be silly to deny the fact that TV shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad haven't had a significant impact on the medium. Market share and critical opinion go hand-in-hand in telling us what matters.

Denying that Kanye West has had a transformative effect on a genre of music strikes me as silly. The genre's major players acknowledge it, his sales figures acknowledge it - give the man his due as a game changer. (On the flip side, giving Kanye his due as a leading musician should also allow us to evaluate the obsession with opulence present in his lyrics as, perhaps, a serious problem within hip-hop culture.)

I can only speak for myself, but it has nothing to do with his talent or his ego. It is his entitlement. He seems to think that other popular musicians and water bottle designers are just cruising through their lives, having their riches and popularity handed to them on silver platters.

An interesting extension of this whole thing that this thread hasn't approached: what does Fendi, or whoever Kanye approached at Fendi think about this whole thing? Kanye presents himself as being obsessed with design and fashion, and as wanting to be taken seriously as a designer and fashionista. But is he? Does the design community reject him because they think he's trying to force himself into their community, or because his ideas are terrible, or because of racism, or because of some combination of the three?
posted by Going To Maine at 9:42 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


he sat front row in paris this weekend. his relationship with the fashion world is a complicated one.
posted by nadawi at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2013


Kanye presents himself as being obsessed with design and fashion, and as wanting to be taken seriously as a designer and fashionista

Leather jogging pants? Looks like a clear indicator that he is getting ideas from his narcissist spouse, who has contributed to sweat shop culture, environmental degradation, and just plain waste as she whores out her name to every designer brand who wants to make a fast buck. Look, anyone who thinks a company like Fendi - or any serious design brand - would be interested in leather "Jogging Pants by Kanye" is so out of touch with the design highly competitive world of fashion design, that he should be roundly put down as "out of touch".
posted by Vibrissae at 10:01 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kanye's line (or one of them, anyway)

Comments on Kanye's 2011 Paris fashion debut:
New York Magazine: What Kanye West Got Right and Wrong With His First Paris Fashion Week Show
The New York Times: Kanye West, Designer (Yawn)
The Daily Beast: Kanye West’s Paris Flop

Similarly, three recent-ish Vogue blurbs that are substance free but provide some tone:
Kanye’s Message To The Fashion World: I Am A God
Has Kanye Enlisted Decarnin For His Comeback
Kanye West: Hedi Slimane and Me

From the Gloss, which is maybe a reputable fashion source (not my area of expertise): Kanye Thinks the Guy Who Ruined Balmain Will Revive His Fashion Line

Not being an expert on fashion, if someone has better source material it would be welcome.

And, incidently, here's Amos Barshad at Grantland on the interview: Nobody Give Kanye West Money to Run a Fashion Line (not quite what you'd think)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:07 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Vibrissae, you sure have a lot of confidence in what you're saying for someone who knows so little about hip-hop culture and its general influence on the larger world. I'm guessing you're what parents sounded like in the 60s when they were yelling that the Beatles were just hoodlums making noise.
posted by schroedinger at 10:12 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


bono is a great example. he "speaks out" about things like racism while kanye "rants"

No doubt this has already been mentioned upthread at some point, but Bono gets made fun of ALL THE DAMN TIME, TOO. In (more or less) the same ways.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:41 PM on September 29, 2013


How would you react to John Lennon saying he was bigger than Jesus?

Oft-overlooked fact about Lennon's statement: it was more of a "lament" than a "bragging point."

(and it was apropos, if not entirely accurate)
posted by ShutterBun at 11:42 PM on September 29, 2013


From gjc's link:

"I am a product person. Not just clothing, but water bottle design, architecture, everything, you know, that you could think about. And I’ve been at it for 10 years, and I look around, and I say, wait a second, there’s no one in this space that looks like me, and if they are, they’re quiet as fuck. So that means, wait a second, now we’re seriously, like, in a civil rights movement.”

Okay, someone is going to have to explain his subtle brilliance to me, cause I sure as hell don't see it.
posted by bjrubble at 12:38 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


you're spouting stuff that ignores the pyrical content

We're not still burning rappers at the stake, are we?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:52 AM on September 30, 2013


you sure have a lot of confidence in what you're saying for someone who knows so little about hip-hop culture and its general influence on the larger world. I'm guessing you're what parents sounded like in the 60s when they were yelling that the Beatles were just hoodlums making noise.

Your assumptions are incorrect. I'm no hip-hop expert, but I know more than "a little". And, even if I didn't know squat about hip-hop (which isn't the case) I have confidence that my observations about Kanye are valid - i.e. even if someone didn't know squat about hip-hop, s/he would be able to see what a self-prepossessing, misogynist, narcissistic, "fuck-everyone-I'm-greater-and-prettier-and-smarter-and-more clever-and-more-in-tune-with-what's-down-and-I-could-be-Jesus-Christ" asshole Kanye West is. Yeah, he cries and shits and eats just like you and me; he's a human being and I do have some empathy for his raging insecurities - but on balance I think he's a stain on the larger world of music and art (and that's WAY larger than hip-hop), and a pathetically poor model for youth. And, he's not the only one, but today is about Kanye.

I hope his kid survives the empty, gaping, yawning hole at the center of Kanye's personality - the empty narcissistic hole Kanye tries to fill up with praise from anyone, no matter what it takes, no matter the cost. I wish him well and hope he gets the motivation to change - unfortunately, a small possibility given his rabid fan base, his money, his hanger's on, and the unfortunate general tendency for pure narcissists not to seek help, even if they gain self-knowledge about their lack.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:03 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sheen, people. Charlie Sheen is the white equivalent to Kanye West. Not James Franco, not Robert Downey Junior, not Bono. Charlie fucking Sheen.
posted by Demogorgon at 1:55 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And here's a clip of Kimmel roasting Charlie Sheen (not that the two are necessarily equivalent, given Kimmel's fraught and tasteless portrayal of West as a boy).
posted by Demogorgon at 2:08 AM on September 30, 2013


The most racially problematic thing about this thread, and about this conversation in the culture in general, is the fact that people can't resist the temptation to ignore everything and anything that anyone else has said or done and focus solely on Kanye West.

See, this is really quite untrue, and something I was (perhaps ineffectually) trying to point out with my post. This is all a giant shit sandwich with two dicks for bread, but as I also pointed out, there are multiple conversations being had here. The big problem is that people are getting hyper defensive and assuming things, incorrectly extrapolating viewpoints, that absolutely are NOT being said.

As I think Vibrissae said upthread, mocking Kanye West is not somehow inherently insulting every black person in America. It MIGHT be doing that, but it's not automatic, it's dependent on the way it's done. Why people give their sympathy to West is absolutely beyond me. You know how Kanye West cries himself to sleep every night? On a giant pile of money. You know what's underneath that pile of money? Apparently "good pussy," which excludes Sarah Silverman, because as it would seem, her vagina is a bottomless pit of STDs, shark teeth and sandpaper, a morass of sorrow and pain.

This is not a "persecution olympics" here. We can be aware of and criticize both racial issues and feminist issues at the same time. This is exactly what happened with the recent thread on rape jokes; one camp was saying "comedy is super important and must be allowed to be offensive," and the other camp was saying "good comedy punches up, not down, and these comics who make rape jokes are almost always shitty comics and even shittier people." Nobody was actually disagreeing with anyone, but everyone somehow thought they were!

I haven't seen any significant critical mass of comments that ignored ANYTHING important about this (these) issue(s). I've seen a lot of people talking past each other for absolutely no good reason. It's really frustrating to see so many smart people do such a fantastically crappy job at communication. I'm pretty sure that if we all just went along and highlighted every single sentence we agreed with, we'd have at least 80% light blue.
posted by GoingToShopping at 5:33 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


most of the white men that people can mention who are like kanye (mel gibson, charlie sheen, etc) are criminals who have beat, shot, or otherwise mistreated their women. weird, isn't it that a black man who you think says silly things is on that same level?

No doubt this has already been mentioned upthread at some point,
yep, and discussed back and forth about how it is or isn't the same. also people have mentioned many times that it's not that kanye gets made fun of - it's this specific "joke" of turning kanye discussing racism into boy that has people upset. but by all means, don't read the thread and just jump to the bottom for your snark.


Looks like a clear indicator that he is getting ideas from his narcissist spouse,
kanye was into fashion long before he was dating kim (who isn't his spouse, so your deep knowledge is showing its holes). also as has been pointed out many times, leather jogging pants are actually a thing whether you think it's silly or not.
posted by nadawi at 5:55 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


i still think kanye's pussy comment is dumb and ugh, but kanye complimented silverman, kimmel drew the connection of the pussy comment to silverman (he basically ignored the compliment but made sure to point out that he fucked silverman) while bringing up kim's porn - but his misogyny is safe, i suppose so not as big of a deal to most.
posted by nadawi at 5:58 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


most of the white men that people can mention who are like kanye (mel gibson, charlie sheen, etc) are criminals who have beat, shot, or otherwise mistreated their women. weird, isn't it that a black man who you think says silly things is on that same level?

Randall Roberts of the LA Times.
Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone
Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork
Peter Tabakis of Pretty Much Amazing
Me

I could go on, but your comment doesn't really deserve to be refuted.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:00 AM on September 30, 2013


Wait -- I apologize. I misread your comment.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:01 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bunny - i was so confused! but if you're the next kanye, send me a mixtape!
posted by nadawi at 6:03 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


[I apologize for calling out a user by name, but by now I feel not to would be to play coy. Vibrissae, we've asked you to be mindful of how you come across. Everyone, we've asked you not to make it personal. And yet I find myself having to remove several ad hominems and metacommentaries in the past couple of hours. Vibrissae, you are welcome to address the issues at hand but please consider what you'd like to see accomplished in a discussion: if people feel that you're using a thread as a soapbox then it tends to suck the air out of the room and stifle other voices. Regardless of the content and how it's received, that's not fair to other participants. Everyone, I appreciate it can be difficult not to make it personal, but please be civil and engage each other on content. For metacommentary: the contact form and MetaTalk never close. Thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:03 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


but his misogyny is safe, i suppose so not as big of a deal to most

I think I missed the comments that were defending Kimmel in any way shape or form. I've seen a massive torrent of people complaining about him and calling him a sexist, racist asshole, and approximately zero saying otherwise.

I also think it's going a bit far to suggest that West was unaware that Kimmel and Silverman were at one, extended point, dating. Though, I suppose, if he missed the whole "I'm fucking Matt Damon," we should all feel only pity for him.

That was a good bit of Intertainment.
posted by GoingToShopping at 6:46 AM on September 30, 2013


GoingToShopping: “I think I missed the comments that were defending Kimmel in any way shape or form. I've seen a massive torrent of people complaining about him and calling him a sexist, racist asshole, and approximately zero saying otherwise.”

The same can be said on the Kanye West side of it – nobody here is defending his misogyny, and everybody is acknowledging it. And yet this is mostly a thread about how Kanye is crazy, totally ignoring the important issue here and focusing solely on the crazy black guy. I agree that there are probably a lot of reasons for that that don't involve everyone being a Nazi, but it's still problematic.

As I tried to say above: Kanye West says a lot of dumb shit, but the smartest thing he ever says is that it's ridiculous that we pay so much attention to him. He's right. And yet people love him – hating on him is their favorite thing in the world. Vibrissae and I had a long, painful argument about him last time his name came up on the blue, and I basically gave up. The fact is that people love hating Kanye. They adore it. They absolutely will not shut up about how much they hate Kanye. And the same thing is happening in this thread. He's like the favorite cultural bugaboo; and the obsession with which people focus on him goes way past bordering on pathological.
posted by koeselitz at 7:00 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


s(And you can see this in the progression of this thread, which always comes this close to actual reasoned debate before the next wave of people who haven't read any of the comments come in and drop another context-free "Kanye is an awful narcissist and represents everything bad about our culture" comment.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:01 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is the reasoned debate that you want to see? It would be nice to see that stated plain, simply so you can make it happen. I'm also somewhat suspicious that by "debate" you really mean "conclusion".
posted by Going To Maine at 7:14 AM on September 30, 2013


i'm somewhat suspicious that you keep reaching to the worst possible interpretations of comments. i thought koeselitz was pretty clear - the thread chugs along, including participation by you when you're not suspicious, actual discussion is happening - and then someone quotes something from the first 20 comments and then repeats a retort that's shown up multiple times (with ensuing discussion) making it at least appear that they didn't read anything else in the thread because they just couldn't wait to get their oh so funny shot in.
posted by nadawi at 7:19 AM on September 30, 2013


And yet this is mostly a thread about how Kanye is crazy, totally ignoring the important issue here and focusing solely on the crazy black guy.

I think some people started there in this thread (from laziness), but I think most people still participating in the conversation who are "anti-Kanye" are more stating that he's an ass rather than crazy. While craziness diminishes what people say, being an ass doesn't. In fact, Kanye can comfort himself if reading this that many of the powerful, talented, and elite in history are seen as raging jerks.

Still, not something strive for, but there is that.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:53 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Going To Maine: “What is the reasoned debate that you want to see? It would be nice to see that stated plain, simply so you can make it happen. I'm also somewhat suspicious that by ‘debate’ you really mean ‘conclusion’.”

Well, of course every person here has their own perspective that they think is right. But whatever "reasoned debate" may be, I feel like people can agree that it isn't dozens of dozens of people saying how much they hate Kanye West over and over and over again.

Heck, maybe the best thing is for this conversation to just end.

Incidentally, there is no I in "team," but there is one in John Darnielle's name. Ghana is a great collection of tunes, anyway. Wish he'd do "Golden Boy" in concert, but apparently that's a foregone conclusion now.
posted by koeselitz at 7:56 AM on September 30, 2013


"I am a product person. Not just clothing, but water bottle design, architecture, everything, you know, that you could think about. And I’ve been at it for 10 years, and I look around, and I say, wait a second, there’s no one in this space that looks like me, and if they are, they’re quiet as fuck. So that means, wait a second, now we’re seriously, like, in a civil rights movement.”

Okay, someone is going to have to explain his subtle brilliance to me, cause I sure as hell don't see it.


Are you saying you don't understand this statement? Because it's clear as day to me...

As long as there are are still industries where people of color are underrepresented, the work of the civil rights movement continues. And he's goddamned right. The world of high fashion is very comfortable appropriating the styles of black youth for their own gain. Not so much when it comes to actually letting people of color enter and succeed in that world on a professional level. It's a racist, classist, misogynist industry. That's no major revelation, and I don't understand why Kanye is considered "crazy" for saying it.

It's purely a tone argument, and that's problematic.

And just because you may not personally care about the world of fashion, doesn't mean it's unimportant. If you're a kid with a specific talent and dream to succeed in that industry, you should have every right and opportunity to pursue that dream as anyone else.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:07 AM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


No doubt this has already been mentioned upthread at some point, but Bono gets made fun of ALL THE DAMN TIME, TOO.

Sure. Bono also gets to meet with popes and presidents and be taken seriously by them. Kayne West meanwhile is called a jackass by black America's scold in chief.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:40 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


MartinWisse, perhaps you are unaware of this, but there is a trope of "famous black person denounces what they perceive to be black culture" in America. Bill Cosby gets this knock a lot.

Barack Obama does not do this. You are picking one instance of him answering a question about one specific instance. To call him "black America's scold in chief" is either dishonest or ignorant bluster. Barack Obama is the president of the entire country, not just black people, and is not known to "scold" black people or culture. An uncharitable reading of your post would be that you just called the President an Uncle Tom. I don't think you are doing this, but I have seen people do this with other public figures using almost the exact same words.

To think that just because Obama had an opinion on a very public action by a black guy is an example of him "scolding" is offensive. I think Obama said that as a man and a public figure, not from some self-imagined role as Arbiter of Blackness, and I think you actually need a reason if you want to continue to make that claim.
posted by spaltavian at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2013


Sure. Bono also gets to meet with popes and presidents and be taken seriously by them.

Again, no one owes it to West, or you, to take him "seriously".
posted by spaltavian at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been racking my brain all day trying to think of what White artist I would compare to Kanye in this context. I don't think any of the examples you list, despite having been soundly painted with the crazy brush, have ever been wholly dismissed in the way Kanye seems to be.

I can think of a British example that might fit the bill: Boy George. A key figure of the New Romantic pop movement, androgynous, gay, who with Culture Club was the first band since the Beatles to get three US top ten hits with their debut album, regular hit scorer throughout the eighties and routinely monstered and ridiculed by the British press for, well, being gay and not confirming to gender expectations. Even at the height of his popularity he wasn't taken seriously and being called weird and crazy somewhat similar to how the popular press treats Kayne West now.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2013


Again, no one owes it to West, or you, to take him "seriously".

Dude, I would stop trying to mind read, as you did in your previous comment, if what you took from that comment was a plea for Kayne to be taken seriously. If you're that bad at reading text, stop trying for subtext.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2013


Dude, I would stop trying to mind read, as you did in your previous comment

So you think Obama has earned the title of "black America's scold in chief" from this single incident? Either you do, or you are not so-subtly implying a lot of things about him that I think are beyond the pale. Really can't believe you are just going to try to tiptoe around that.
posted by spaltavian at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2013


So, Kanye is basically John Lennon with a Twitter account, is what I'm seeing here. #NODISRESPECTTOKANYE #ALLDISRESPECTTOJOHNLENNON
posted by The World Famous at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2013


So, Kanye is basically John Lennon with a Twitter account, is what I'm seeing here. #NODISRESPECTTOKANYE #ALLDISRESPECTTOJOHNLENNON

Except that Lennon was not a gross misogynist; massive woman-insulter; or pretending to be the greatest genius at every little interest he took a liking to - whether it be architecture, fashion, or whatever.

What gets me is that people like Kanye and Miley and Charlie and Kim are where they are in the consciousness of Americans. When I see otherwise intelligent people excusing the overt gross behavior of certain celebrities, and then using an analysis of that artist's life, or whatever as an excuse for that gross behavior, my 'cult" alarm bell goes off. I hate cults.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2013


So, Kanye is basically John Lennon with a Twitter account

Well, specifically, Kanye has not gotten nearly as much flak for comparing himself to Jesus Christ as John Lennon did for a single comment in a press conference. Times have changed.

And Obama is not "black America's scold in chief" since his comment about Kanye was an exception to his usual practice. Another point off for Mr. West.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:07 AM on September 30, 2013


Just wait 'til they find out who's been calling himself Jehovah.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2013


Except that Lennon was not a gross misogynist; massive woman-insulter; or pretending to be the greatest genius at every little interest he took a liking to - whether it be architecture, fashion, or whatever.

This is a joke, right? Please?
posted by The World Famous at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


lennon was a pretty gross misogynist, and unlike kanye, he actually beat his woman.
posted by nadawi at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


But he's getting better all the time.
posted by The World Famous at 11:43 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love the Beatles and I think Lennon was pretty fucking smart, but calling him not-a-misogynist and not-a-woman-insulter makes it sound like you don't know very much about him. You sure got opinions, though!
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


i'm somewhat suspicious that you keep reaching to the worst possible interpretations of comments. i thought koeselitz was pretty clear - the thread chugs along, including participation by you when you're not suspicious, actual discussion is happening - and then someone quotes something from the first 20 comments and then repeats a retort that's shown up multiple times (with ensuing discussion) making it at least appear that they didn't read anything else in the thread because they just couldn't wait to get their oh so funny shot in

Hah. It's a fair cop - my being 'suspicious' was unfairly snide, and to the extent that such things can be done, I recant it. I suppose my issue is that the only momentum this thread really does just seem to be about fighting over Kanye. I mean, the framing itself was on the controversy. (I imagine the thread would have gone differently had it been shaped around the interview, with a chaser mentioning that Jimmy Kimmel had made a dumb joke.)

When I see otherwise intelligent people excusing the overt gross behavior of certain celebrities, and then using an analysis of that artist's life, or whatever as an excuse for that gross behavior, my 'cult" alarm bell goes off. I hate cults.

Thousands of teenage girls screamed themselves stupid over the Beatles - surely they should be tripping your cult alarm too. Plus the above mentioned points regarding the wife beating...

Well, of course every person here has their own perspective that they think is right. But whatever "reasoned debate" may be, I feel like people can agree that it isn't dozens of dozens of people saying how much they hate Kanye West over and over and over again.

Well, that's true. But, again, the framing invites that. The next time someone crafts a Kanye thread, it should probably just forgo the controversy.


Incidentally, there is no I in "team," but there is one in John Darnielle's name. Ghana is a great collection of tunes, anyway. Wish he'd do "Golden Boy" in concert, but apparently that's a foregone conclusion now.


Oh, I can never spell that man's name. Actually, the last two times I saw him he played The Sign at one show and Golden Boy at the other. So keep hoping! There's always a chance.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love the Beatles and I think Lennon was pretty fucking smart, but calling him not-a-misogynist and not-a-woman-insulter makes it sound like you don't know very much about him. You sure got opinions, though!

Good points! I willingly recant my comments about Lennon after checking into facts I was unaware of. You? Seems like Lennon was almost as much of an asshole - maybe worse - than Kanye! That doesn't change the fact that Kanye's an asshole, and that his pathetic behavior is conveniently overlooked by his fans - i.e "forgiven" as a necessary part if Kanye having to express his "genius".

I was never a John Lennon grokker, btw, but his music will live on far longer than Kanye's. I'm taking bets on that. Anyway, I'm pretty much done on this thread, and as for having opinions, it's pretty darned interesting to see so many apologists for Kanye on a place like mefi - and the insulting opinions about the personal qualities of anyone who challenges his pathetic behavior in uncompromising terms. What are you afraid of? If Kanye wasn't singing songs that make people bob their heads to the beat, he would be reviled for the asshole that he is, in almost every other way. Instead, fans love to find "excuses" for his behavior, like a recent thread about why his narcissism is a necessary component of his "art'. BS!! Same with lots of other pop artists and "famous" people in Kanye's category (btw, regardless of race!)
posted by Vibrissae at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I've figured it out, everybody. Hold onto your hats:

Vibrissae is Kanye West!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:55 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except that Lennon was not a gross misogynist; massive woman-insulter; or pretending to be the greatest genius at every little interest he took a liking to - whether it be architecture, fashion, or whatever.

This is a joke, right? Please?


No, not a joke, a perfect example of the point with regards to race: when you are vilifying Kanye West by saying he is worse to women than John Fucking Lennon, because you believe hip-hop as a whole is grossly misogynistic as opposed to fucking rock music, it is very difficult not to see a racial subtext. Indeed, when one is criticizing his "spouse" for "whoring" out her name for a fast buck (unlike whoever is selflessly giving "Imagine" to all those not-for-profit commercials), it is hard not to see the accusations of misogyny as outraged cover for whatever the real problem is, sort of the same way people go on and on about the rampant homophobia in black culture, because of course white culture is so notoriously tolerant of the same differences.
posted by Errant at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


[Comment removed. Cut it out.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


i think most people in america would make the same assumptive statement about john lennon being less misogynist than kanye because american culture is racist in exactly the way Errant describes and thus we are not culturally informed about john lennon's issues the way we are culturally informed about kanye's. whether a specific individual is being purposefully racist in saying such a thing is a separate question, but it's a racist thing at its core regardless
posted by titus n. owl at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, not a joke, a perfect example of the point with regards to race: when you are vilifying Kanye West by saying he is worse to women than John Fucking Lennon, because you believe hip-hop as a whole is grossly misogynistic as opposed to fucking rock music, it is very difficult not to see a racial subtext.

Did I do that? I don't think I did that.

Indeed, when one is criticizing his "spouse" for "whoring" out her name for a fast buck (unlike whoever is selflessly giving "Imagine" to all those not-for-profit commercials), it is hard not to see the accusations of misogyny as outraged cover for whatever the real problem is, sort of the same way people go on and on about the rampant homophobia in black culture, because of course white culture is so notoriously tolerant of the same differences.

Huh. See, I think there's actually a pretty compelling case for the Yoko/Kim comparison, but I don't think it has anything to do with race.
posted by The World Famous at 2:40 PM on September 30, 2013


TWF - pretty sure those comments were directed at Vibrissae, since he's the one who said the thing about the spouse and whoring.
posted by nadawi at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2013


Ah. Got it.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on September 30, 2013


Vibrissae: “... it's pretty darned interesting to see so many apologists for Kanye on a place like mefi - and the insulting opinions about the personal qualities of anyone who challenges his pathetic behavior in uncompromising terms.”

You did this last time. It was just as annoying then. Why do you insist on loudly shouting down everyone who disagrees with you as a "Kanye apologist," no matter how much they may dislike him or disapprove of his music or his stated sentiments?
posted by koeselitz at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good points! I willingly recant my comments about Lennon after checking into facts I was unaware of. You?

What facts have I asserted here that are incorrect?

You have so cornered the market on fucks-to-give about Kanye West that even if I wanted to give some fucks about him they'd be on back order for months and this thread would be closed.

But I await your answer regarding facts I have stated here that are incorrect.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, The World Famous, that was meant to be the general "you" and not "you" the person whose statement I was quoting, but I did not compose that well at all. My apologies.
posted by Errant at 3:40 PM on September 30, 2013


You have so cornered the market on fucks-to-give about Kanye West that even if I wanted to give some fucks about him they'd be on back order for months and this thread would be closed.

If you need a few, I know a guy.
posted by The World Famous at 4:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today, I'd like to announce that because I've been hanging out with rappers, I am one, and plan to release a multiplatinum record. Why are you all telling me I'm not a rapper. I listen to it all the time since two years ago. Over, and out!
posted by Vibrissae at 6:17 PM on September 30, 2013


Dude, everyone plans to release a multiplatinum record. Good luck though.
posted by Errant at 6:45 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The funniest thing i just realized is that I am currently working with two architects. 4 if you count their junior who handle most of the day to day work.

i am only one architect behind Kanye! Without having ever released an album!

Seriously though, I've been a creative professional in other fields (illustration, graphic design, software, advertising) my entire adult life. I have spent the past few years of planning, researching, and designing the new locations of my business, and it has been one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my life. It's an easy thing to get really nerdily obsessed with. I've even taken roadtrips to small midwestern towns just to physically experience some great buildings. I totally get why folks like Kanye, and Brad Pitt, and lots of other creative people who find themselves with the resources to design their own environments become architecture groupies.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2013


Today, I'd like to announce that because I've been hanging out with rappers, I am one, and plan to release a multiplatinum record. Why are you all telling me I'm not a rapper.

This would make sense if he wasn't integral to the production of many multiplatinum records and some of the best modern hip-hop albums. Unfortunately for you, he was!

I think this conversation would be more productive if the detractors of West would do a bit more research about him and his work before posting. Right now refuting the arguments is like shooting fish in a barrel.
posted by schroedinger at 8:34 PM on September 30, 2013


I think the point he's making is that hanging out with rappers no more makes you a rapper than hanging out with architects makes you an architect. Not to put too fine a point on it. And sorry if you were only pretending to miss the point in order to make your own point about how easy shooting fish is. Or something.

Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
posted by perhapsolutely at 10:02 PM on September 30, 2013


Bingo!
posted by Vibrissae at 10:40 PM on September 30, 2013


"I am a product person. Not just clothing, but water bottle design, architecture, everything, you know, that you could think about. And I’ve been at it for 10 years, and I look around, and I say, wait a second, there’s no one in this space that looks like me, and if they are, they’re quiet as fuck. So that means, wait a second, now we’re seriously, like, in a civil rights movement.”

Okay, someone is going to have to explain his subtle brilliance to me, cause I sure as hell don't see it.
Are you saying you don't understand this statement? Because it's clear as day to me...

It looks clear as a crayon drawing to me.

I'm looking for someone to demonstrate the "formidable intellect" and obvious genius that so many people here claim to see, because what I see is someone expressing simple thoughts with a lot of bluster. "Oh no, people aren't buying my stuff, this is exactly like being attacked with dogs and firehoses!"

It's not that the sentiments aren't worthy of consideration -- in fact, it's that those same sentiments are expressed with so much more power and nuance and conviction by so many others. Making Kanye the voice of any sort of philosophy strikes me as an insult to the people who really do think deeply about it.

Now, none of his issues are really my issues -- I'm white and don't care much about either music or fashion. But I think that makes me a much better test case than someone who's really invested in whatever world we're really talking about here. I'm the naive public, and I'm open to (in fact very inclined to agree with) his arguments, but the way he makes them is -- well, I have enough of my own issues to notice, on a fairly regular basis, someone with a big microphone drop a giant intellectual turd supposedly in "service" of something I care about. And this looks exactly like that. And it doesn't matter whether that's their "persona", or they're too brilliant for mere mortals to understand, or they're doing a service by bringing attention to it, or you really have to appreciate their art to see where they're coming from, man. It's a fucking turd, it's counterproductive, and if the person dropping them doesn't realize that (or doesn't care) then by simple definition they are stupid (or an asshole).
posted by bjrubble at 10:57 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, seriously, are there Mefites who actually look to popular musicians for thoughtful commentary? Wouldn't any sane person put that near the top of their "list of occupations most overflowing with self-serving bullshit"? This thread is like entering Bizarro World.
posted by bjrubble at 11:04 PM on September 30, 2013


"Oh no, people aren't buying my stuff, this is exactly like being attacked with dogs and firehoses!"

no people buy plenty of his stuff, like the music you claim to have no interest in but of course that makes you a better test case. more like "people who decide who gets to make the stuff aren't considering my ideas even though my first and only shoe was being sold for $90k on ebay, but that doesn't matter b/c anything more complicated than a tshirt requires funding and production capability, and the pants that are popular now i tried to push 6 years before they happened-- this is kind of like an extension of the civil rights that i watched my parents fight for my whole life b/c i don't see any people of color in the true decision-making chairs" but you're white and you can speak better to that as well.

fwiw i surprised myself by listening to the entire interview so i understood his comments in the context of everything else he said in that hour. there is a lot of bluster there for sure (which does usually bother me and i consciously decided to listen to the actual argument before i judged it), and i read him as someone with a lot of curiosity, passion, and drive to succeed in other areas that he's passionate about. he did some yelling in the interview and in the back of my head i kept thinking some are going to hear this as arrogant angry crazy black man and they're not going to hear anything else.

the reason i decided to start off with a charitable reading of his comments/behavior is b/c though i too am part of the naive public i've slowly come around due to these kanye shitfest threads. i don't remember having a huge negative reaction to the taylor swift thing, and i think my impression of him was basically slightly negative but on balance he seemed harmless. the only song of his i really know was golddigger and it was catchy but i hated the lyrics. and the few songs i heard off his new album sounded a little weird.

so count me in amongst the people who've changed their minds on kanye b/c of these threads (and the hip hop threads too). thanks ad hominem, nadawi, shawnstruck, and other folks i can't remember atm. i'm not remotely a fan, but the topic is more complicated than what is presented in pop culture and the media.

i really wish the discussion could've included more about what he said during the interview. way more interesting than the racism retread that happens in every hip hop thread. i'm curious as to whether he could, as an obvious non-expert, have actual ideas that are unique and fresh. billyfleetwood your experience reminds me of my old boss who had a lot of input on the restaurant she built. didn't finish high school, came into this country with nothing, put in long hours working shit jobs, eventually put enough money together to open 2 restaurants, the second of which i was there from the beginning. i watched her meet over and over with architects and contractors and saw how much input she was giving, poring over blueprints, picking materials. a definite non-expert with ideas.

incidentally the last taylor swift thread also made me come around on taylor swift. and jimmy fallon! ahhh fuck it all, bunny ultramod, you made me come around on jimmy fallon. metafilter is much better for me when it makes me interested in things than when it makes me hate things.

(and fuck the sexist pussy comments. it'd be nice if his next thing is meeting with 4 feminist scholars every day.)
posted by twist my arm at 5:32 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


bjrubble: "Now, none of his issues are really my issues -- I'm white and don't care much about either music or fashion. But I think that makes me a much better test case than someone who's really invested in whatever world we're really talking about here."

... Are you for real? You can't know the hardships a black man goes through vs. a white man, you don't care about music, and yu don't care about fashion... so that makes you a better judge of these things because you don't know about any of them?

"Hello, Nobel Prize Committee? Yeah, I don't care about science, and I know nothing about physics. That's why I'm perfect to be on your committee, as I bring a fresh perspective to-- hello? Hello?"
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:37 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


more like "people who decide who gets to make the stuff aren't considering my ideas even though my first and only shoe was being sold for $90k on ebay, but that doesn't matter b/c anything more complicated than a tshirt requires funding and production capability, and the pants that are popular now i tried to push 6 years before they happened-- this is kind of like an extension of the civil rights that i watched my parents fight for my whole life b/c i don't see any people of color in the true decision-making chairs" but you're white and you can speak better to that as well.

The difficulty with noting that people are buying Kanye's fashion is that plenty of people purchase things in bulk that don't have particularly high quality. Both music critics and the hip-hop community laud Kanye's skills. If we use the same bar for his fashion outing, it seems like fashion critics and the fashion community are having a more mixedreception. This could be racism (it would be silly to pretend that that isn't mixed up somewhere), but it could also be annoyance that this guy is just a dilettante who has forced himself into the room on his ego. Just because he has a lot of passion we shouldn't assume that he has a lot of talent.

(On a totally personal note, Air Yeezys are hideous, hideous shoes. But sneaker culture isn't my thing, so my opinion is probably not worth a hill of beans here.)
posted by Going To Maine at 6:06 AM on October 1, 2013


i don't assume he has any credibility in any of those areas and i defer to people who give a shit about those things. my response was a restatement of what kanye was actually saying vs what bjrubble said he said. and there has been precious little discussion of his actual fashion line, most of it has been "racism? y/n?" and "i hate this guy b/c reasons, lolcelebrities."

i would've much rather had people who like clothes talking about how awesome/ugly his clothes are. that would've been fair. a lot of people don't seem to realize his impact on music (myself included, thank you hip hop threads) and thus aren't even willing to give him credibility where you expected him to have it. i'm willing to let people try and fail rather than get in on the ground floor of telling them why they couldn't possibly have anything to contribute.

nor do i think passion equals talent. that was a response to the "he's crazy and/or this is marketing/staged." going back to the black people rant and white people speak out issue.

i agree with your caveats and especially about the shoe. i mean honestly wtf. but i haven't seen pretty basketball shoes since i was a kid, which probably has a lot more to do with me than with shoes. that's not going to stop people who don't like shoes or young people's fashion or saggy pants or thug athletes from hating on the shoes. witness the lolleathersweats. (which i also didn't know anything about-- thank you this thread)
posted by twist my arm at 6:40 AM on October 1, 2013


the idea that the fashion world doesn't accept non-experts doesn't really follow though if you look at all the famous pretty women who are given seats at the table - jessica simpson is the one that comes immediately to mind, but she's just one of a big long line.
posted by nadawi at 6:51 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm looking for someone to demonstrate the "formidable intellect" and obvious genius that so many people here claim to see,

Just to be clear: Kanye's genius is as musician, not as an interview-giver.
posted by Think_Long at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2013


Hm. Google suggests that Jessica Simpson seems more to be at the low end of fashion? That is, I'm seeing lots of links for her stuff on Zappos, at Macy's, some maternity clothes, etc. In contrast, Kanye seems to have really been going for high fashion (Paris debuts, etc.) It also doesn't seem farfetched to suggest that allowing a woman known for having an attractive body into the clothing industry is patriarchy at work. & correspondingly, the idea that racism is keeping Kanye out is also hardly crazy.

That said, it really does seem like Kanye has a seat at the table in the fashion industry - that New York magazine piece on his Paris debut suggests that he's definitely mingling with the right people & has made the right connections. Rather, they just don't like his stuff.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:01 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


sometimes when a big thread like this is going on it sticks in my mind while poking around at other things, which is what happened when i came across a story about celebrity entitlement. can you even imagine the reaction if this story was about kanye west?
posted by nadawi at 8:11 AM on October 1, 2013


no people buy plenty of his stuff, like the music you claim to have no interest in but of course that makes you a better test case.

... Are you for real? You can't know the hardships a black man goes through vs. a white man, you don't care about music, and yu don't care about fashion... so that makes you a better judge of these things because you don't know about any of them?

Really, it does. I'm not looking at it as "Kanye's stuff" and infusing it with my appreciation (or active dislike) for other work he's done, or mixing it with some notion of making a political statement.

My point is that he (and I think a bunch of people here) are making all these claims of multi-disciplinary genius that appear to build entirely upon, or be visible only through the lens of, his musical genius.

And that's not how it works. Most geniuses are not polymaths, and their attempts to demonstrate otherwise are usually (and rightfully) met with ridicule in places like Metafilter.

look at all the famous pretty women who are given seats at the table - jessica simpson is the one that comes immediately to mind

Because Metafilter gives Jessica Simpson huge props for her fashion work.

Just to be clear: Kanye's genius is as musician, not as an interview-giver.

I don't disagree on either point, but some people here appear to be making the case that he's a brilliant interview-giver (with, in honesty, a ridiculous mishmash of justifications), and then throwing a bunch of vitriol at people calling bullshit on that.

can you even imagine the reaction if this story was about kanye west?

Seriously, if you're arguing that the proper point of comparison is Justin Bieber, then I'm not going to dispute that.
posted by bjrubble at 8:49 AM on October 1, 2013


why does metafilter's opinion of jessica simpson matter in the context of whether or not she gets to sit atop a 750 million dollar brand?

re: bieber - i wasn't arguing that (or anything in that comment).

honestly, you seem to be missing the point behind a lot of comments. like, you read a sentence and just draw it to the place it fits in your argument. it's kind of bizarre.
posted by nadawi at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Respect to those in this thread who have typed in all lowercase the whole time. Best metacommentary ever.
posted by The World Famous at 8:58 AM on October 1, 2013


my metacommentary contains multitudes heh

also, Going To Maine - i get your point about simpson - better examples would be posh spice, gwen stefani, mary kate & ashley olsen, etc.

really - i see him more saying "why don't people who look like me sit in decision making chairs?" which is a fair question no matter what the industry (especially true in an industry where who you know matters so much).

i gave 10 years of my life to a company where a large majority of the lowest end worker were women, but every step up introduced less women and more men, until to you get to the actual important positions and there are no women and all men. it might have been silly for me to say that i should be the ceo, but it's not silly to point out that under the current system i probably couldn't be the ceo because of my vagina.
posted by nadawi at 9:06 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Because Metafilter gives Jessica Simpson huge props for her fashion work.

I just want to say re: Jessica Simpson's clothes that Jessica Simpson seems to design for people who have the same body type as her - short waisted, short, small frame, narrow hips, boobs- and if you happen to have that type (I do) you put on her clothes and lose all shame about it because wow it's crazy how well this fits me.
posted by sweetkid at 9:42 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


really - i see him more saying "why don't people who look like me sit in decision making chairs?" which is a fair question no matter what the industry (especially true in an industry where who you know matters so much).

If he simply said what you just said, I'd completely agree. And it's not hard to see this question underneath his words, but it appears to be obscured behind layers upon layers of ego.

And that's totally bog-standard for a modern celebrity. I haven't seen any of Kimmel's adults-played-by-kids skits, but it sounds like a perfectly apt method of parody -- celebrities as a rule are comically enamored of their own brilliance and prone to making trite and self-aggrandizing observations as though they were cosmically deep thoughts. (Politicians, too.)

But the claim I've seen repeated in this thread is that this was unfair, because apparently Kanye doesn't fall into this mold -- he really is a genius, and the things he does are terribly important, and the people who make fun of him are either racist or just incapable of appreciating his genius.

But when I asked for evidence of this genius, the best defense I heard is that you can understand what he's saying. Literally, his words meet the minimal definition of "intelligible." So, yeah, color me just a bit unimpressed.
posted by bjrubble at 4:23 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


i'm not trying to convince you. i'm not teaching a kanye 101 class. the way you keep restating things in a not aligning with reality way makes me less inclined to even start. i don't care whether or not you feel the label of genius is justified - it doesn't matter if you think he's like justin bieber or einstein.

i will say again, plainly, that my problem with the skit is that, obscured by ego or not, kanye was talking about racism and kimmel's reaction was to take his words and put them in a boy's mouth. whether intentional or not, this specific caricature has a history in this country that i (and others) can't easily ignore. and because it's coming from a shitstain like kimmel i am inclined to give zero benefit of the doubt.
posted by nadawi at 4:33 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


You don't have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Put adult words into a kid's mouth is not a new thing for him. You won't engage that because it demolishes a desperate attempt to paint Kimmel as racist. West said childish things; Kimmel had a kid say those things. Not exactly brilliant satire, but this "I just can't imagine another reason why he would do it, it must be racism" pearl-clutching is transparent.
posted by spaltavian at 4:39 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I just can't imagine another reason why he would do it, it must be racism"

well, that's not what i said. so...
posted by nadawi at 4:49 PM on October 1, 2013


Kimmel is, at the very least, clueless and inexcusably insensitive to the obvious racist overtones in the skit, particularly given the triple-K in the title of the sketch.

Now, personally, I have some very complex views on Kanye's rich-and-famous-so-I'm-a-visionary-renaissance-man nonsense that I've opted not to expound upon in this thread, none of which have anything to do with his race. But the fact is, Kimmel's sketch is, at very best, tone-deaf and racist beyond any reasonable excuse, and at worst, overtly and intentionally racist.

But let's not be naive - the sketch was written by and approved by a big staff of writers and producers. Kimmel's entire organization is to blame here, not only Kimmel personally. I mean how does that sketch - with that name - make it past that many people and onto the air?
posted by The World Famous at 5:06 PM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


particularly given the triple-K in the title of the sketch.

You know exactly where that name came from. I'm done here, there's no point in engaging with this dishonesty.
posted by spaltavian at 5:08 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, actually. I don't know exactly where that name came from. Where, exactly, did that name come from?
posted by The World Famous at 5:10 PM on October 1, 2013


there are racist connotations to depicting a black man as a boy
there are racist connotations to naming things KKK especially when directly related to a black man
the fact that there you can think of alternative reasons or excuses for doing such things in any specific instance has absolutely zero effect on the existence of the racist connotations. those exist on a societal level no matter what.
posted by titus n. owl at 7:51 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my experience people do not "look" for racism. It's already there. People who do not need or want to really think about racism make accusations like "looking for" or "dishonesty."
posted by sweetkid at 7:58 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


the fact that there you can think of alternative reasons or excuses for doing such things in any specific instance has absolutely zero effect on the existence of the racist connotations. those exist on a societal level no matter what.

Simply because a racist connotation exists does not mean racism should be inferred. A cigar can just be a cigar. This is, of course, the same thing that comes up in some threads about sexism. Disagreement over this appears to be the fundamental driver of this thread (& quite a few others). It also appears to be irreconcilable.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:08 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you really manage to create a skit about a black man and put the letters KKK in there AND you are not a card-carrying racist, then your other option is you're too fucking stupid to make skits for national TV. IMO.
posted by rtha at 9:27 PM on October 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


And does the Kimmel show not have a single black person on staff who could have noticed that and raised a red flag before it aired? It boggles the mind.
posted by The World Famous at 10:01 PM on October 1, 2013


90% of ads and shows on TV involve "normal" white people being amused/annoyed by and/or killing/saving other people, often non-whites or "foreigners". The punchlines to many commercials for a wide range of products have racist overtones or lean heavily on racial stereotypes for a humourous conclusion.

One utility for racists is "the N Word", because as long as you don't say it, you can always hide behind humor to promulgate racist stereotypes and tropes. Even if many lazy comedians don't necessarily "mean" to be racist, or have any sort of consciously vested interest in racial disharmony, their use of those cheap laughs is a still a form of white supremacy. The KKK thing is hard to even contemplate, it's insanity and I agree with rtha.
posted by cell divide at 10:23 PM on October 1, 2013


"...then your other option is you're too fucking stupid to make skits for national TV"

I think this is a point that everyone will grant you. We're pretty much all unanimous in our estimation of Kimmel's lack of intelligence and awareness. For me, I certainly DON'T give him the benefit of the doubt in this, that he's smart enough to say "wait, that alliteration will almost certainly be taken as racist," instead of "hur hur alliteration I'm a comic genius."

There's an important difference between people who are racist (I mean that in the non-existential way, that is, they are willingly and knowingly racist and think that it is a defensible proposition in the modern world) and people who do racist things. The reason this difference is important is that it tells us whether we should bother reaching out to that person and trying to open a dialogue about the importance of acceptance.

I really have no idea how I feel about this specific thing, the use of KKK, and honestly do believe that Kimmel and everyone he hangs out with are stupid enough to miss that. I also wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it came out that Kimmel did it on purpose because he thinks racism is just as hilarious as sexism.
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:41 AM on October 2, 2013


I have to say I think Kimmel did something dumb and racist here but this video he did (he has someone ask white people who their favorite black person is/how much they like black people) is some really great subtle social commentary or rather, really getting people to reveal some shitty prejudices that are perpetuated by media. Note especially 1:16.
posted by sweetkid at 7:22 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was a video about Kanye, using kids. It would be fairly difficult to come up with a descriptive title for the bit without having at least two words starting with K.
Alliteration being common in comedy circles, I see three possible explanations:
1. The use of KKK wasn't on purpose, and nobody noticed.
2. The use of KKK wasn't on purpose, somebody noticed but they chose not to change it.
3. The use of KKK was on purpose.

#3 is inexcusable, and #2 almost as bad. But the truth is, there's zero evidence pointing to what really happened. Just speculation. And the speculation is almost entirely based on your pre-existing opinions of Kanye and Jimmy Kimmel.
posted by rocket88 at 8:09 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was a video about Kanye, using kids. It would be fairly difficult to come up with a descriptive title for the bit without having at least two words starting with K.

Child Actors As Adult Children

That wasn't difficult at all. In fact, I think I can safely say that my descriptive title is the best descriptive title of all time . . . meaning . . . OF ALL TIME IN THE HISTORY OF RAP MUSIC, PERIOD.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2013


In a bit of a crossover tie between this thread and the recent M.I.A. thread, it seems that M.I.A. and Versace have a fashion line.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:14 PM on October 7, 2013


Kanye West will appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" tomorrow. This should be really interesting!
posted by Going To Maine at 4:52 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are on right now. Kimmel seems like he is trying to repair some bridges. Kanye extremely sincere and practically crying early on I thought. Says something like, me doing this interview is pretty badass because people would expect me to bow down to the cameras and the producers. I could care less about that shit. I care about my family, and my daughter, and about making a difference and making beautiful art." or something like that.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:12 PM on October 9, 2013


West: (says he thought his tweets with Kimmel were pretty funny and he thought it was cool to be having this fight with Kimmel in the open, because when you're a celebrity you're supposed to be afraid of doing that.) "I feel like the media does everything it can to break down artists and creatives, and I do everything I can to break the media." Says some very reasonable stuff about the glass ceiling in fashion and Paris, then things get sort of disjointed.

The audience doesn't seem to know what to make of him, and in the latter part of the interview only claps and supports him when he talks about wanting respect for entertaining people when he is walking around, that paparazzi and people shouldn't ask him offensive questions on the street because they should never forget he is from Chicago. There were other points to clap about I think, but not this.

Kimmel never addresses potentially racist overtones of his sketch.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:44 PM on October 9, 2013




The guy just went off on classism and cultural hegemony on a late night talk show.

Y'all can't fuck with Ye.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:18 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked what he said about classism being the new racism, and white people having to school Paula Dean because she was doing it "old school" and that's not the way people discriminate (openly) anymore. He made a lot of good points. Certainly didn't feel that Kimmel's audience was with him on anything but sort of the weakest stuff, like Kim Kardashian deserving a Hollywood star.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:15 AM on October 10, 2013


i've just read a transcript - can't wait to watch it later - seems like a great interview - or, i guess, a great platform for kanye to speak because it doesn't seem like a lot of interviewing happened.
posted by nadawi at 6:26 AM on October 10, 2013


while i hope a behind the scenes conversation about it was more in depth - i do feel like kimmel brought up the racist overtones without calling them that - he at least brings up the main complaint and then says 'we weren't doing that' but, in his way, seems to admit that he understands how kanye might read it that way. kimmel was never going to stand up there and apologize for racist overtones - it wasn't part of the mainstream story.

I’ll be honest with you, I only saw parts of the [Zane Lowe] interview. (Kanye: yeah, that’s what I thought) In fairness, we took it out of context. We had little kids reenact it…I didn’t think it’d be something you’d be bothered by. The truth is…the main reason I did that is because I like to see little kids curse. I think it’s funny. (*Kanye laughs*) I think some people think we were positioning you as a child, but that’s not true. In fact, we’ve done this to other people, like Lady Gaga…But this is not something you knew.
posted by nadawi at 6:31 AM on October 10, 2013


I can see your POV, and I agree that Kimmel acknowledges that West could have had reason to be upset by the sketch since West had no context for it in the same way Kimmel had no context on the West interview, but to me that's a loooooooooong way from a mea culpa for the real problem. He doesn't mention the KKK thing at all. I mean, I can understand why, but I'm not sure he's going far enough to clear the air.

Here's the other thing that bothered me about Kimmel. As the interviewer he has a lot of power on his stage in determining how the audience is going to react to the person being interviewed. You can get your audience on board with praise or restating their points in a way you think the audience will like more, or you can subtly undermine them. When the interview started I thought Kimmel was trying to get his audience to like West. He said some sincere things about wanting to clear the air, and he showed the picture of West with his father and made a point of complimenting West for traveling a long way to do him a favor and come to a wedding with Kimmel's relatives, and makes a big deal about how West treats regular people with respect and dignity and isn't a diva like many celebrities. So, great, I thought they were on the same team, and Kimmel was trying to get his audience on West's side.

BUT. Then West starts talking about the glass ceiling in fashion and classicism as the new racism and comparing himself to Bill Gates and Michaelangelo and the audience starts laughing at inappropriate moments and you look over at Kimmel and it sort of looks like he is laughing at West, too. He certainly isn't doing much in the way of breaking down what West is saying to make it more palatable to his audience, and the audience in its turn is definitely not subscribing to West's newsletter except for the bits about Kim K getting a star and West having carte blanche to beat up paparazzi since he's from Chicago. Maybe it is a small thing since Kimmel's early signaling about West to his audience was actually pretty generous, but I feel like Kimmel deserted West midway through the interview when West really could have used him as a translator to white America. But Kimmel wasn't brave (or smart? Or in agreement?) enough to go out on that limb.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:22 AM on October 10, 2013


oh i can totally see that read. like i said, i just read the transcript so far - i'd say that kimmel wasn't smart enough to know what kanye was saying to be able to translate, and maybe disagreed, and maybe felt like it was all getting too serious for his show. i still pretty much think kimmel's the jerk who got famous by standing next to adam carolla doing a shit sexist show, so i don't have much benefit to extend to him. i'm not defending him, just saying that the early signaling makes me think that maybe that conversation happened off air and also that kimmel was never going to apologize for racism he wasn't accused of on extra/e!/entertainment tonight/etc.
posted by nadawi at 7:39 AM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really empathize with Kanye in a lot of ways. I, too, am a creative genius. To tell you otherwise would be lying to you and lying to myself. And I have definitely experienced the glass ceiling he's talking about - maybe even worse than he has, because everyone from the top music producers in the world to the top architectural firms to the top fashion design houses simply refuse to even schedule a meeting for me with their top people to talk about my ideas, let alone implement them and pay me hundreds of millions of dollars. It's outrageous.
posted by The World Famous at 11:28 AM on October 10, 2013


Which is not to minimize the very real racism in the industry that Kanye certainly faces and experiences on a regular basis. But he doesn't seem at all in tune to the fact that the primary reason for the popularity of things he comes up with and that have his name associated with them is that audiences and markets respond strongly to ideas and products presented to them through well-established channels, such that any given product presented as something coming Kanye is automatically going to have more credibility and popularity than exactly the same product or idea presented by someone nobody has ever heard of. At a certain point, it does become impossible to know whether an idea is popular because it is a great idea or whether it's popular because a tastemaker presented it to the market and influenced the market's choices. The power of Kanye's personal brand at this point is far greater than the strength of the ideas themselves, and that's not even getting into the question of how much of what he's doing is crafted and shaped by people other than him. But he doesn't seem to get that. He doesn't seem to understand or acknowledge, for example, that, the contribution of the people who mix and master his music and the impact that aspect of production has on how good the music sounds, nor does he seem to understand or acknowledge the effect his fame has on how his current art is received.
posted by The World Famous at 11:44 AM on October 10, 2013


He doesn't seem to understand or acknowledge, for example, that, the contribution of the people who mix and master his music and the impact that aspect of production has on how good the music sounds

this might be generally true about popular music but it's completely off base about kanye specifically. he always has a lot of props to give to everyone in the chain of making the music he's involved in.
posted by nadawi at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yea as a producer himself I'm sure he understands and acknowledges those contributions.
posted by sweetkid at 12:33 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


and not just his history as a producer, but he also has mixers and engineers and such that have been working with him for years, some going all the way back to before the go-getters.
posted by nadawi at 12:42 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It'd be nice if he actually openly acknowledged them while he's proclaiming himself a genius.
posted by The World Famous at 1:01 PM on October 10, 2013


he acknowledges them all the time, especially when the interview is about the music. i normally agree with you when you climb on this hobby horse, but kanye openly supports his team way more than most mega stars.
posted by nadawi at 1:11 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying he doesn't. The point is that, in his long rant to Kimmel, he is pretty explicitly giving all the credit for the popularity of things he does to his own genius, which I think is ridiculous.
posted by The World Famous at 1:28 PM on October 10, 2013


He did mention Mike Dean on Kimmel didn't he?. Dean did mixing on College Dropout and Late Registration along with Craig Bauer.

Maybe he could have mentioned Baur and Young Guru for WTT. But really, what musician mentiones even one of the people behind the scenes on a late night talk show.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the mix/master example was a poor one because it can so easily lead to a different conversation that I didn't intend to start. The point is, more than anything, that Kanye, of all people, should understand the extent to which fame is self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating, and that the market appeal and ongoing fame and success of an artist depends heavily (I would argue almost entirely) on public perception and acceptance that is formed and nurtured by that individual's fame. As they say, nothing succeeds like success.

Sometimes, a famous person is a genius. Sometimes they are even famous because they're a genius. And sometimes their genius has something to do with what they're famous for.

But sometimes, a famous person is not famous for being a genius or being really good at something. Sometimes, some event or events thrust them into the public eye and they happen to catch that wave and ride it, becoming famous primarily for being famous. And if they or their handlers are savvy marketers with good (and lucky) timing, they can ride that wave of fame and success, branching out into areas and markets not associated with that initial lucky break. (See, e.g. Jessica Simpson's fashion industry work.) And maybe they'll even be good at that thing. Or maybe they won't. (See, e.g. Paris Hilton trying to be a DJ.)

But, as far as I've been able to tell, all or nearly all people who are famous and trade on their fame to build success are somewhere between those two extremes. In fact, I'm not sure anyone is truly at either of those extremes.

It surprises me that Kanye seems oblivious to this. Of all people, I would think he would be uniquely qualified to understand that some people are just famous for being famous and build on their fame to make more fame - and that, although those people might fairly be described as extremely savvy marketers or business people, they are not creative geniuses.

On the other hand, describing himself as a creative genius in all aspects of media, art, and human endeavor is really a huge part of his personal brand, and part of what makes Kanye Kanye. So the even more cynical cynic in me recognizes that we are not watching the actual person, Kanye West, give a heart-to-heart honest interview there, but watching Kanye the brand assert itself in its purest form. Perhaps part of Kanye's genius is the understanding - conscious or not - that Kanye must assert that Kanye is a creative genius and that Kanye must be incredulous that someone of his vast genius is not invited with open arms as a luminary in all aspects of human endeavor. If he failed to do so, he would cease to be Kanye.
posted by The World Famous at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2013


I know I’m a hip hop, and I’m a rapper and everything, but I’ve got ideas that could mean something if I could put the proper production around them….So when I do the Nike Yeezy or a Louis Vuitton shoe, the production is the same as when I do my CD, when me and Rick Rubin or Mike Dean are working together.

I think he is saying he provides direction and Rick Rubin or Mike Dean provide execution and he wants to collaborate with the Rick Rubin and Mike Dean of the fashion world.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think he is saying he provides direction and Rick Rubin or Mike Dean provide execution and he wants to collaborate with the Rick Rubin and Mike Dean of the fashion world.

He also seems to be saying that it's outrageous that he has not been handed virtually unlimited resources to engage in such a venture, given that he is a creative genius in all areas of human endeavor, such that it is patently unjust for the Rick Rubin and Mike Dean of the fashion world to fail to recognize his genius and embrace him as their chief luminary.
posted by The World Famous at 2:21 PM on October 10, 2013


He doesn't seem to understand or acknowledge, for example, that, the contribution of the people who mix and master his music and the impact that aspect of production has on how good the music sounds, nor does he seem to understand or acknowledge the effect his fame has on how his current art is received.

As others have said, this is completely ridiculous. West started out as one of those people, actually getting his own album was something he had to fight for as most people in the music industry wanted to stick him in the background as a producer because he didn't fit the image of a rap star. Like most of the criticisms of West I've seen in this thread, they're completely groundless and based in ignorance of his work and history.
posted by schroedinger at 2:29 PM on October 10, 2013


Hey, maybe read my subsequent comments before telling me I'm completely ridiculous.

Like most of the criticisms of West I've seen in this thread, they're completely groundless and based in ignorance of his work and history.

West did not start as a mixing or mastering engineer, did he? I'm fairly familiar with his background, and was not aware if he did.
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on October 10, 2013


i think we just heard different things. i didn't hear him saying that it's outrageous that he's not given everything immediately - what i was hearing on zane lowe and what he's saying here is that when trying to go that way, when doing what felt obvious to him, he saw that there were no black men at the end of the runways in paris, and that it was so ridiculous to a lot of people that he'd even care about fashion that he gets made fun of just for showing up to watch the show. he gets skewered on both sides for trying to break into that world. on rap boards people are still clowning him about wearing a kilt. he's been called gay his entire career mostly because of fashion and being seen as an emo rapper.

and i think it's also important that the topic of how black men are pigeonholed into a couple of forms of celebrity and fame, that there are only a couple of lanes for them to drive in, is something he's been talking about from the beginning. he used a lot of i statements in the interview with kimmel, but he says many of the same things when speaking in we statements.
posted by nadawi at 2:49 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


such that it is patently unjust for the Rick Rubin and Mike Dean of the fashion world to fail to recognize his genius and embrace him as their chief luminary.

Ha, this whole thing started over his complaint that they stole his ideas while shunning him publicly, so they maybe they have embraced the idea he is some kind of luminary.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:51 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha, this whole thing started over his complaint that they stole his ideas while shunning him publicly, so they maybe they have embraced the idea he is some kind of luminary.

I think Kanye sees that he is so famous and popular that he can influence or even start trends, and mistakes that influence for actually being a luminary. Sitting where he is, it's probably an easy mistake to make. That they seem to have stolen his ideas does not, in my opinion, have much of an effect of that analysis.

nadawi -

I heard all that, in addition to the other issues. He has definitely experienced and continues to experience severe racism in those ways.

Black men are, indeed, pigeonholed into a couple of forms of celebrity and fame. It's true, and it's unjust.
posted by The World Famous at 2:57 PM on October 10, 2013


I think Kanye sees that he is so famous and popular that he can influence or even start trends,

I think that his ideas seem to be successful, even when they are not attached to his name, tends to prove his point.

He didn't just show up and demand the be put in charge. He actually did try to work his way up. He worked at Fendi and and Luis Vuitton. He says he was a student of Louise Wilson ,and that she now denies it.

It seems like he works with anyone who will work with him. He did his APC line, and did some work with Giuseppe Zanotti

I dunno, maybe he is just a bad designer anyone here have an opinion on his actual work in fashion?
posted by Ad hominem at 3:41 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I think Big Sean showing up on Kimmel had to be a quid-pro-quo. He's been with Kanye for a while and never gains any traction on his own.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:46 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and 2 Chainz is on GOOD music too! That is two of Kanye's artists on Kimmel in one night!
posted by Ad hominem at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


He didn't just show up and demand the be put in charge. He actually did try to work his way up. He worked at Fendi and and Luis Vuitton. He says he was a student of Louise Wilson ,and that she now denies it.

I don't doubt his sincerity in his desire to do fashion design, that he is extremely driven and hard-working, or even that he has good ideas. But his account of what he actually did in an attempt to "work his way up" is simply bizarre - so much so that I'm not sure it's possible to extrapolate what he actually did. But I have not been able to find any account of his fashion experience that could fairly be characterized as "trying to work his way up." If I take his word for what he did, it looks like he was super driven to expand into that creative arena, recognized that he lacked even a basic background necessary to work in it, and that he worked super hard to try to learn what he could and gain some really weird experience to get up to speed. My hat's off to him for that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:01 PM on October 10, 2013


... I told Kanye that [before Wednesday's show] my dad sent me an e-mail like, "Hey, do you want me to come down?" And at first I thought, Oh, my dad wants to come down in case I need some kind of protection. Keep in mind that I'm a 45-year-old man. And then I realized, he asked if I wanted him to come down because he thinks he and Kanye have a relationship, because they posed for a picture together.

He could squash this.

Yeah. He could help smooth this over for me. I told Kanye that story, and he laughed pretty hard at it, and then this morning he sent me an e-mail saying "Thanks for talking last night, and tell your dad I said what's up."

How did Kanye West and your dad end up at the same wedding? Whose wedding was it?

My partner, Daniel Kellison — and by the way, weirdly, last night was exactly five years from the wedding. It happened to be their five-year wedding anniversary. We were producing a show [with Kanye], a puppet show, called Alligator Boots, for Comedy Central that did not get on the air. But he and Daniel became friendly. We'd been working together for a couple of weeks, and he decided to come to Daniel's wedding. Which was not a celebrity affair. It was a low-key family wedding in Austin, Texas. And for some reason Kanye couldn't get a private jet, so he flew out on a non-first-class Southwest Airlines flight.

So that's where the sense of personal grievance in Kanye's tweets came from? That tone of "I thought we were friends"?

Yeah. Maybe so, maybe so.

So who called who?

Y'know, he took down his tweets. And I felt like that was a conciliatory move. And then I sent him an e-mail, and we exchanged a couple of e-mails, and that was that. And then he sent me an e-mail saying he'd like to come on the show and talk about it. So we worked it so we could get him on Wednesday. Don Rickles had just canceled, so it all worked out.

See, now I wish Rickles had been in that room.

I know. I was thinking about that. Strangest pairing ever.

You could pretty much have quit after that and everyone would understand. There'd be no mountains left to climb.


I could have just walked out of there in my suit, got in my car, and never returned.
posted by y2karl at 12:19 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


From y2karl's link:

But in terms of context: You mentioned last night that you've done this bit before, a few times, with kids playing people like Lady Gaga. Do you see that there's a difference between portraying the black guy as a child and doing the same thing with Lady Gaga?

I don't think the fact that he's black has anything to do with it. In fact, I didn't know he was black until you brought that up. I just think it's about somebody who jokes around and somebody who doesn't. Kanye's not a jester. He's speaking seriously, and I guess it wounded him somehow."

* * *

I liked this interviewer's take on it, that sometime in the future West will be interviewed on these issues of race and classism etc. by someone who is neither a comedian looking for punch lines nor a fanboy but someone who is competent at establishing a dialogue. Finally, the headline the day after the interview appears will not be, "Black Man Goes on Another Rant" but something more thoughtful and useful to people interested in having a real conversation about race.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:18 PM on October 11, 2013




i was just coming to post that link, rollick. it's a really great piece on the gaslighting of racism.
posted by nadawi at 11:31 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was going to post that too. That author isn't crazy, bars in New York can be crazy racist.

Just imagine if Kanye said what he really thinks. Imagine if he went on TV and said he thinks Ronald Reagan invented crack.

America may hate him but he still running the rap game, Yeezus tour 4 nights in New York, 2 at MSG. He has Kendrick Lamar and fucking A Tribe Called Quest with him as special guests.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:22 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"as long as I’m in polo smiling, they think they got me, but they would try to crack me if they ever see a black me"
posted by nadawi at 7:24 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just imagine if Kanye said what he really thinks. Imagine if he went on TV and said he thinks Ronald Reagan invented crack.

Then he would be rightly denounced as a loon. Though perhaps you are referring to the whole controversy about the CIA spreading crack cocaine? If West appeared on TV and said that the illegal activities by Ronald Reagan in relation to the Iran Contra Affair and alleged distribution of crack cocaine by the CIA in order to purchase arms were some seriously bad moves that damaged the country, people would probably think of West as someone interested in politics and the activities of the CIA. There's a reason that "George W. Bush doesn't care about black people" created such a hullabaloo and helped people put him in a fool-shaped box.

America may hate him but he still running the rap game, Yeezus tour 4 nights in New York, 2 at MSG. He has Kendrick Lamar and fucking A Tribe Called Quest with him as special guests.

West is touring extensively in large stadiums in America and his albums top American billboard charts. Saying that America hates him is a pretty serious misreading of the country. A point repeatedly made in this thread and the media surrounding the whole West-Kimmel feud has been that Kimmel screwed up by failing to engage with the reality of the man. In a country (& world) in which rap is mainstream, there's an onus to update our image of the generic country as one that both finds them moronic. Consider: Barack Obama called West "a jackass". George Bush denounced Body Count's "Cop Killer" in much stronger terms and demanded that it be pulled from shelves. If being thought of as a jackass counts as being hated, our standards have declined.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:08 PM on October 15, 2013


Though perhaps you are referring to the whole controversy about the CIA spreading crack cocaine?

I'm referring to his lyrics.

Someone will have to ask him what he means by the Lyric "How we stop the Black Panthers?
Ronald Reagan cooked up an answer" in the first verse of Crack Music.

Instead people will just keep asking about leather jogging pants and Kim Kardashian.

I'm pretty sure he isn't saying Ronald Reagan personally invented crack.

West is touring extensively in large stadiums in America and his albums top American billboard charts. Saying that America hates him is a pretty serious misreading of the country

You serious? Where are all the Americans who like him in the last 5 Kanye threads.

Maybe the ones who hate him are just louder.

I shouldn't even have let myself get sucked back into this.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:57 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like him. And I'm an American.
posted by The World Famous at 11:55 PM on October 15, 2013


Like him, also American. I know a lot of people who like him, especially musicians (of many colors/musical styles).
posted by sweetkid at 5:03 AM on October 16, 2013


as many fans as he's got, there is a cultural thing where it's almost a sport to hate/laugh at kanye. it's disingenuous to ignore that. ad hom is not crazy to see that.
posted by nadawi at 6:29 AM on October 16, 2013


I'm referring to his lyrics.

Someone will have to ask him what he means by the Lyric "How we stop the Black Panthers?
Ronald Reagan cooked up an answer" in the first verse of Crack Music.


Someone should; elaboration closes the gap. RapGenius suggests that it refers to the Mulford Act and is possibly (likely) punning on Reagan's involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal. It's a fair distance between that and inventing crack. (On the other hand, Lil' Wayne has a lyric buying into the theory that the levees were deliberately destroyed. If that's what he believes, his views are probably discountable, but I'd also want an elaboration. Still a pretty good song.)

You serious? Where are all the Americans who like him in the last 5 Kanye threads.

Maybe the ones who hate him are just louder.

I like him. And I'm an American.

Like him, also American. I know a lot of people who like him, especially musicians (of many colors/musical styles).

as many fans as he's got, there is a cultural thing where it's almost a sport to hate/laugh at kanye. it's disingenuous to ignore that. ad hom is not crazy to see that.


I suppose it's hard to say what a country really likes or doesn't. People pointing out that they are Americans who like Kanye reads to me as uncomfortably similar to men in threads about rape saying that they are men who dislike rape. It's an extremely different degree, but still.

To me, sizing up what the country thinks about the person often has a great deal more to do with what folks consume. People consume oodles of hip-hop, and they acknowledge that Kanye makes it & makes it well. When I read that "America hates someone" and yet they are still succeeding, it sounds like they are being cast in the role of defiant opposition - the punk rock band that's getting pulled off the radio. Or -perhaps- Kanye being shut out of the fashion world while still selling out his own fashion lines.

But Kanye isn't fighting America, at least not for musical superiority. Kanye seems to be winning that one. He has been undeniably shoved into a box, and it would be nice if he could escape it, but this thread is rife with popular press articles about how Kanye gets a bad rap and deservers a better one. (Surely Jimmy Kimmel didn't have Kanye on solely out of the niceness of his heart, but rather as some kind of damage control) Perhaps he's on the way out of it, though his own actions in the Kimmel fight didn't necessarily help.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that Kanye is only really fighting a fragment of the country. Which is probably the right thing to do, and this thread has been a good front in that war. But while pretending that that fragment somehow represents the whole might be invigorating, it also feels fake.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:10 AM on October 16, 2013


People pointing out that they are Americans who like Kanye reads to me as uncomfortably similar to men in threads about rape saying that they are men who dislike rape.

I don't think we were saying we're American so all Americans like Kanye? We were just sharing thoughts? If I were to expand my comment, I think there's a media-driven "Kanye's CRAZY" that doesn't read as much on the ground, and I know a fair amount of musicians who have a lot of respect for his work and sort of ignore the SO CRAZY bits/Kimmel/Kardashian.

Absolutely no reason for that to make anyone uncomfortable or to relate it to opinions on rape.
posted by sweetkid at 7:20 AM on October 16, 2013


Absolutely no reason for that to make anyone uncomfortable or to relate it to opinions on rape

This is true. The phrase I should have used was "inferring the general from the particular". That is, there's no reason to infer that the general "America" likes Kanye given the existence of particular MetaFilter users like Kanye. And, as you said, you only meant to share your particular thoughts.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:44 AM on October 16, 2013


Here's something that really put the outrage about Kanye's outrageousness into perspective: False Idols: Boomer Icons And Their Crimes. It's true; the worst thing about today's Generation of Pop Stars isn't that they're awful - it's that they're awfully bland.

I commented earlier about how much more an uproar John Lennon got for a single off-hand comparison to Jesus to Kanye's putting it in an album title. But really, all a current star like Kanye can do is talk, and with all the f-words and c-words and n-words becoming just background noise, there's not much you can do to earn 'outrageousness' cred. After all, isn't the difference between Miley Cyrus and Rebecca "Friday" Black mostly a costume change?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:00 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Where are all the Americans who like him in the last 5 Kanye threads.

Loudly and passioonately defending him and accusing everyone who is in any way less than laudatory about him and every single thing he turns his hand to of racism? What threads are you reading?
posted by yoink at 8:40 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


could ask yoink the same question.
posted by sweetkid at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2013


Someone should; elaboration closes the gap. RapGenius suggests that it refers to the Mulford Act and is possibly (likely) punning on Reagan's involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal.

Sure, that is entirely reasonable right? He could go on TV tomorrow and talk about it.

Except the narrative has already been set. Why is Kanye so crazy? That guy is a racist! Leather jogging pants? What an idiot! Why does he curse so much? Why does he have diamond teeth?

He has been systematically discredited in the same way he discussed in the BBC interview.

People think the guy is nuts for wanting credit. Imagine what would happen if he could say anything of substance on TV.

Look what happened to Lauryn Hill. I'm not talking about the taxes, I'm talking about the court ordered psychiatric evaluation for "conspiracy theories". Probably the same theories millions of people believe but can't talk about.

He already has the paparazzi following him trying to goad him into assault charges, at least he doesn't have the NYPD on his ass 24/7 like Jay Z and Lil Wayne had.

So he has to go on Kimmel and make nice. He can't say this is part of a pattern of abuse leveled against black artists for hundreds of years. Oh by the way, me and millions of other people think the government created AIDS in a lab to kill black people. He's got to smile, and say "Oh I was mad because we know each other"
posted by Ad hominem at 10:13 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


He can't say this is part of a pattern of abuse leveled against black artists for hundreds of years.

I think maybe you watched a different interview than I did.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2013


So he has to go on Kimmel and make nice.

Why did Kanye have to go on Kimmel? Seriously: Kanye West does not have to do anything Kanye West doesn't want to do. He chose to go there, presumably to air some of his views.

He can't say this is part of a pattern of abuse leveled against black artists for hundreds of years.

Many of his comments on both Kimmel and in the BBC interview focus on the idea that he has been a victim of systematic racism. It's not a completely coherent argument in the transcripts, but he mentions Michael Jackson not being allowed on MTV, he talks about Paula Deen being old-school racist and how he's the victim of new school racism, etc. He's certainly talking about systematic problems. Kanye's problem really doesn't seem to be that he's felt he can't speak his mind. If you wanted to push this, you'd be better off arguing that he has already been so systematically discredited that even when speaking his mind no one cares to listen, but given the mixed nature of the media coverage regarding this event and his massive fan base, I'm not sure that that's so. Some portion of the public, certainly, but by no means all.

Oh by the way, me and millions of other people think the government created AIDS in a lab to kill black people.

He could have said that, but since it is crazy talk it would be treated as such. Just as if he had said that Ronald Reagan created crack.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:46 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The trouble isn't that he believes crazy things. The trouble is that even the perfectly sane things he believes are treated as crazy, and conflated with his more outre statement. He's not allowed to be complex. He's either crazy or he ain't, and people just go with crazy.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:06 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm talking about the Kimmel interview because I doubt the vast majority of Americans have heard any of it except the parts that were parodied or paraphrased on Kimmel.

I think he was being careful to appear conciliatory while referencing some regrettable incidents that happened in the past.

That was dangerous enough considering there seems to be a significant number of people who think Paula Deen is being railroaded by the PC police.

The reactions I saw on other sites were "He is soft selling it" and, particularly on Kimmel's facebook page, "that guy is a crazy egomaniac who can't pronounce earth right lol".

As for the reaction here, we already accept the premise. We can extrapolate "hundreds of years of systematic oppression" from one comment about Michael Jackson on MTV.

I don't see how we could ever think that was very forceful, compared to what he says in his music.

You keep saying "He could have said that....". Well yeah, my point is that he didn't.

He believes a lot of things he is either unwilling or unable to say on TV. Some of them are wrong, despite the popularity of the beliefs, and some of them are right. He is clearly censoring himself in interviews. He clearly said, as Nadawi quoted, "as long as I’m in polo smiling, they think they got me..."

I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to be convinced of here. You guys continue to believe what you believe, and I'll continue to believe what I believe. That's all I can offer.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:56 AM on October 16, 2013


I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to be convinced of here.

Well, I returned to your thread because I felt like the "America hates Kanye" comment ignored the fact that a very large portion of America doesn't hate Kanye, and that it would be more correct to say that "A portion of America doesn't take Kanye seriously". As noted by nadawi & Bunny Ultramod, and repeatedly throughout the thread, Kanye is often (though not universally, as the coverage of this kerfuffle has shown) portrayed by the media as a fool or a stereotypical angry black person. That's fine. But he also has an immense fan base and an immense audience that doesn't necessarily read him as crazy. So, again, if there's anything to be convinced of, it's that a quite significant chunk of the country is on his side in this whole fair, and thinking of him as necessarily embattled ignores the reality of his self-proclaimed and pop-culturally-evident power.

You keep saying "He could have said that....". Well yeah, my point is that he didn't.

I don't get that point. By not mentioning that Ronald Reagan created crack, and by not mentioning that the CIA created AIDS, he avoided discussing a topic that would give anyone an excuse to immediately discount most anything any speaker might say. That seems like a measure of common sense and rationality on his part, not fear about having his views be oppressed. Kanye isn't obligated to expound on every single view he holds about every topic.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:24 PM on October 16, 2013


I don't get that point. By not mentioning that Ronald Reagan created crack, and by not mentioning that the CIA created AIDS,

I gave two examples. There are probably dozens or hundreds more. He could address "They teach us to hate ourselves and love their wealth" or hundreds of other ideas.These are common, sometimes incorrect, beliefs millions of people hold , yet we never see widely addressed.

So I again I say "Just imagine if he said what he really thinks".

We got a real different perception of America if you think he is widely supported.

550k sales and touring large cities isn't mainstream support. Supportive articles in Slate isn't mainstream support.

There are people that support him, then the rest. I got my opinion on which group I think is larger. I can't see why you are trying to downplay the resistance he faces.

When I stop seeing "imm a let you finish" jokes years after the fact I'll maybe agree.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:58 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


What, exactly, would constitute "mainstream support" of a pop star, and are there any examples of a current pop star who enjoys such support?
posted by The World Famous at 1:19 PM on October 16, 2013


Taylor Swift?
Justin Timberlake?

I dunno. I think I just may have a way more pessimistic view of modern America. I think we can chalk it up to that.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:24 PM on October 16, 2013


Taylor Swift is very popular as a musician, but she also has a reputation for being a weirdo who dates tons of people and then writes hostile songs about each and every one of them. I'm not defending that public image at all, but my sense is that an increasing number of people feel that way.

But, those people are either 1) not fans of Taylor Swift, 2) fans of Taylor Swift, and they have no problem separating how they feel about Taylor Swift from how they feel about their music, or even 3) fans of Taylor Swift, who value the fact that, as an entertainer, Taylor Swift has permission to feel and behave in a way that is outside normal lived experience. (Many people wish they could sell out a stadium with a single about how much their ex sucked. But, there are reasons why people wouldn't, even if they could!)

Either way, the vast majority of people who hold even a negative view of Taylor Swift as a human being aren't going to feel all that passionately about it. It's just not that important. At most, they'll laugh at jokes about that Kennedy wedding thing, and then they'll go on with their lives.

The thing about celebrities is that they're often talked about, but in a completely different register than how we talk about people who actually have an effect on our day-to-day lives.

...

Timberlake surely is about as universally beloved as you get nowadays. He's also a handsome, appealing white guy with tons of talent, who as far as I know has never said "boo" to a goose. I can't remember any time that he's said anything controversial - sure, he's done some naughty skits for SNL, but that's an accepted outlet for that kind of thing.

...

I think I just may have a way more pessimistic view of modern America.

I don't know about pessimistic, but I do think you might be overestimating how important Kanye-as-person is to the average person. The vast majority of people are neutral about Kanye West as a person. Many people love his music. Many of them may think that he seems really awesome as a person. Many others no doubt think that he's a "nut" or whatever. Many might think both things at once! People like their musicians to be larger than life.

But the thing is, even if they do think that Kanye West is "crazy", I'd wager that that's not relevant to how most people feel about his music. People do not react to the idea of celebrities' personalities in the same way that they do to their actual experiences of friends', acquaintances', etc. personalities. They might laugh at something like the Kimmel skit, but they'd also be super excited to see Kanye live. Even if they think Kanye's daffy, it just plain doesn't matter to them. It's not as if Kanye West (as a person, not as a musician) takes up a whole lot of their mental real estate. They aren't necessarily going to be integrating Kanye West as a human being (with viewpoints, a personality, etc.) into their experience of Kanye West as a person who creates music.

I'm not saying any of this to defuse any of the racial critique. What I am saying is, I think it's all too easy to assume that the average person thinks very much about Kanye West (as a person) at all, even if they do have an opinion on the matter, positive or negative.

What might hurt Kanye West the most as a person is the realization that the reason why Kimmel does a skit about him is not because Kanye West is a big deal who must be taken down a peg, but because Kanye West is perceived by the Kimmel staff as just one of many handy-dandy representatives of the "egomaniacal musician" type, and that on that particular day they decided that that interview was funny enough to turn into a bit. In that way, he's as personally (un)important to the staff as anything else that the writers shovel into the opening monologue. When they were making fun of him, it was barely even about him.

Indeed, it was seen as inherently comical that Kanye West bothered to respond. There is a tacit rule that celebrities don't get to call out people who make fun of them. Were Kanye's tweets a response to a "narcissistic injury", or was he daring to challenge an offensive aspect of our social order? Or could it be both, or could it be something else entirely?

Again, I'm not defending the skit.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:27 PM on October 16, 2013


Indeed, it was seen as inherently comical that Kanye West bothered to respond.

Well, in fairness, the way he responded played a larger role in the perception of the response as comical than the mere fact that he responded. I have a hard time believing that a measured, analytical response would have had the same comic effect as the actual response Kanye gave.

I mean, I fully acknowledge the validity of Kanye's core complaints of unfairness, racism, etc. The fact that he contributes a fair amount of material, as well, just makes analysis more complex.
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on October 16, 2013


I see your point, but at the same time, a measured, analytical response is not just stylistically different, but also substantively different than the personal, emotional response that he actually made, even if the exact same issues are lurking underneath. When you contextualize things, such as racism, you are necessarily taking a step back to look at the larger picture. It's not necessarily a happier conversation, but it is a different conversation than one that's about how Kanye West thinks you're a stupid ugly jerk.

Something like "it's messed up that you put the words of a successful, ambitious black man into a child as a joke. It's more racist than you think. Laugh all you like, but I get things done, and part of how I get those things done is through confidence and a big personality. Also, there's nothing ridiculous about the fact that when I work in high fashion, which I have for years, I actually want to be successful" is not just stylistically, but also substantively different from something like "how dare you make fun of the first honest media event in years, I'm a rock star and you're just an ugly nothing, you're so stupid, I thought we were friends."

Contrast this with how West had responded to the South Park episode about him. The episode is about Kanye West having a huge ego, but it's not especially mean or vicious towards him. The episode is just about West's ego (not counting Cartman's sideplot). There's no criticism of his actual work, outside of a basically-affectionate parody of his music's style at the time. Whereas, in the Kimmel skit, they actually are mocking his ambition and interests (viz. fashion), and they are actively saying that the way he talks is ridiculous.

West said that the episode was funny, but also that it hurt his feelings. That's about as much personal reaction as was basically "appropriate" - it's quick and polite. While it's revealing that West chose to admit that his feelings had been hurt, it's also obvious that he didn't think the South Park writers were out to get him or anything like that. Even then, Parker and Stone still said that it was sort of weird that West's feelings had been hurt by the episode, especially since West's ultimate gag is mostly just meant to be stupid and ridiculous, and not an actual knock on the guy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:08 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something like "it's messed up that you put the words of a successful, ambitious black man into a child as a joke. It's more racist than you think. Laugh all you like, but I get things done, and part of how I get those things done is through confidence and a big personality. Also, there's nothing ridiculous about the fact that when I work in high fashion, which I have for years, I actually want to be successful" ...

Man, I really enjoyed reading that, as you say, measured analytical response. I am on West's side, generally, but he doesn't make things easier on himself by not having some sort of translator or Cautioner in Chief that is helping to make sure the wheat of his message rises above the chaff.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:33 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course a lot of this has to do with the nature of rap music.

In rap culture MCs spoke with moral authority, they spoke truth to power, they "dropped science". They were much more than pop icons.

We are talking about the tradition that brought us The Message, Fight the Power, and countless others.

in a lot of ways Kanye started in that vein, and one of the things he did was turn rap more personal and introspective.

it would be crazy to think of a similar skit about Chuck D. It might have caused protests.

In some respect that is progress I guess. That a rapper can produce work so intensely personal, not as spokesperson.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:34 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


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