Skip to content

The eternal question: Is Kanye West actually a jerk?

October 19, 2009


A screenshot from West’s new short film, directed by Spike Jonze

Even though I kind of promised Simon that I’d stop posting about Kanye West because his tag in our tag cloud was getting too big (and this isn’t a blog about West), the above question continues to pop up. Plus, he’s the second rapper to come out with a pretentious film within a two week period.

The latest in his series of fucking weird publicity stunts is the short film, We Were Once A Fairytale, that he created with Where the Wild Things Are director Spike Jonze. (Here’s a link that’ll likely get taken down soon so I suggest you invoke the power of Google if it ends up broken). It’s not his first time collaborating with Jones. They worked together on his excellent, critic-dividing video ‘Flashing Lights’ but at least Yeezy’s acting was limited to being stuffed into a car by a batshit half-naked lady.

I think Kanye’s mastered the obvious metaphor and that’s okay—that’s how he does it. However, I’ve got a lingering question about this short—in which he stumbles around a club drunk, harrassing patrons and eventually unearthing a small furry creature from his insides only to watch it to slay itself—and whether it’s meant to be his apology to the public, like so many want it to be.

Is it a weirdly narcissistic way of humbling himself, or just a backward self-assertion of his greatness? It’s obvious that he’s addressing his infamous ego, but he’s done that a million times. I think it’s also obvious, and it pains me to say it, that we’re witnessing (or have witnessed) the making of a cultural icon. Kanye’s history of outbursts kind of speak to a weird inner struggle that must be going on inside him—remember this guy was working at the Gap, churning out beats and fighting to be recognized as a rapper before he did it. He may not be as legendary a lyricist as Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, et al., but what he’s made an indelible mark on contemporary pop music. I’m channeling Holden Caulfield when I ask if it’s all a calculated facade (the timing of the release might suggest so), or the real self-expression of a tortured genius?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Simon permalink*
    October 20, 2009 12:31 pm

    His acting is only marginally better than it was in Keri Hilson’s video — somewhere between “painful” and “hilarious”

  2. Anupa permalink*
    October 20, 2009 1:32 pm

    His acting is terrible. I also find that little furry creature kind of scary.

  3. Jesse permalink*
    October 20, 2009 3:28 pm

    And it’s about 10 minutes too long. Shoulda stuck to making it a music video.

  4. October 21, 2009 1:17 am

    K, I actually loved their vid for “Flashing Lights”, but this is going too far. “Is it a weirdly narcissistic way of humbling himself, or just a backward self-assertion of his greatness?” It’s both, and it’s giving me a headache!

  5. Anupa permalink*
    October 21, 2009 1:57 pm

    Wait, so here’s the problem. I think I’m being slowly converted from Kanye semi-hater, to Kanye sympathizer. I read a profile or article about him recently, can’t remember where, talking about his rise to fame and basically portraying him as a tragic Elvis type figure, plagued by a lot of shit.

    It’s so damaging to be famous these days.

  6. Simon permalink*
    October 21, 2009 7:14 pm

    I suppose, it’s tough being famous for singing. I can feel that.

    Why can’t Kanye have it easy, like that other black famous guy who just wins nobel prizes and sits around running the most powerful nation on earth while trying to alter the direction of humankind?

    But who are we to judge apples to oranges? Designing shoes is tough.

    Celebrity culture makes me sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: