Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moral Obscenity 101: Kanye West

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on September 28, 2009.


This is an editorial by the author.  Any comments made are of the author, and the author alone, unless otherwise stated.  I welcome your thoughts on this post.  (Resources: Wikipedia.org, Youtube)

For those who have been avoiding all things pop culture and relative news these past few weeks, you would have learned that at the 2009 MTV Video Awards, upon earning her win for Best Female Video for 'You Belong With Me', Taylor Swift was interrupted by professional jackass rapper/hip-hop artist Kanye West, who stormed the stage, stole the microphone out of Taylor's frozen hands, and stood shocked as he declared that Beyonce's video 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' was the "best video of all time", to the shock, amazement and disapproval of the packed theatre.  Since, he has sparked the international catchphrase "and I'mma let ya finish ..."

For me, this was the straw the broke my Kanye camel's back.


I could forgive his emotional nature on September 2, 2005, during a live telecast to raise funds to help the devastated people in New Orleans after the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Media was ablaze with the apparent 'wide-scale crime and looting' that was denied at large by residents, seemingly focused on those minority few who were participating.  Poor Mike Myers, caught in a dumbfound situation when Kanye declared on live television that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," him left speechless as the camera quickly switches to the next featured presenter in another location.  I am not a black man, and I won't ever understand the plight that I'm sure he must have been witnessing, and how he took it personally.  I felt that it was unfair of him to put other people in that position, and had taken his personal opinion outside of something so public.  Yet, he said it, and from his point of view, it's an extremely emotional standpoint.  Still, time and place, y'know?

Well, I'm not devoutly religious, per se, and I do believe in the 'powers that be', if not to put a fine point on it, but I'm not entirely sure if posing as Jesus Christ with a bleeding crown of thorns on the cover of January 2006's Rolling Stone Magazine is appropriate.  I mean, sure, John Lennon had said that the Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus', and later stated that he meant the overwhelming popularity of the band's status, not that the band had replaced Jesus.  I have to be completely honest and say that I didn't read the article on the inside.  I didn't care to read it, because I would rather not read about someone who could exercise such carelessness in his moral etiquette compare himself to a man who stood for what we attain to be.  I do not attain to be Kanye West, in riches or fame, especially in the way he's represented himself so far.  Nope, not sold.  In fact, turned off by his 'God complex'.

Well, that crown of thorns must have really dug in deep.  Later that same year, after the 2006 Grammy nominations were announced for Album of the Year, he stated that he would have "a big problem" if he didn't win, saying "I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt — you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it.  I don't want to hear all of that politically correct stuff."  A fair statement to make, absolutely, if it weren't put in such an arrogant way.  I believe what he's saying here is the amount of work he personally contributed entitles him to that award.  With blinders on, he doesn't recognize his peers, and gives them a coded bitch-slap.  Well, at least with a satin glove.

Unfortunately, that satin glove turned to pleather when he lost the Best Video Award at the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards to Justice and Simian for their video 'We Are Your Friends'.  Starting the trend of stage-rushing Kanye-style, and quite possible inebriated from the looks of it, he interrupted their acceptance speech to declare that he should have won the award instead for his video 'Touch The Sky', because "it cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it.  I was jumping across canyons."  He had earlier stated that if he didn't win the award, the show would "lose credibility".  I guess not winning Best Rap Artist earlier in the night didn't give him enough.  He did give a public apology later as the opening act for U2 in Brisbane, Australia in the form of 'We Are Your Friends' played on the PA system to introduce him to the stage, and showed us his sense of humour about the whole thing in a Saturday Night Live spoof skit.  Yep.  That sure turned us around.  I wonder if Justice and Simian received a personal apology?

And as the moment of truth arrives, when he plays the 'race card', believing to be overlooked by the producers of the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in favour for Britney Spears to perform the opening number, stating, "Maybe my skin's not right."  I'm sure it had everything to do with your skin, and nothing to do with your outlandish, brash, unapologetic, asinine and rude behaviour that tends to repeat itself?  He didn't win a single award that night, making it two years in a row without a win.  He said that he would never come back to MTV again, yet writes the song 'Stronger', dreaming of opening said award show with it.  It's reported he's said on several radio stations while promoting the single that Britney was "exploited for ratings".  Kinda like what you did with Pamela Anderson in the 'Touch The Sky' video, right?

I'd also like to state that the MTV and MuchMusic Video Awards are chosen by fans, not producers of the networks.  So, another pleather glove-slap to Kanye.

And we come full circle to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, with poor doe-eyed Disney bunny Taylor Swift as Kanye's unwilling victim.  It was reported that Taylor broke into tears backstage with her mother when the awards suddenly cut to commercial, and Kanye was then removed from the awards for his actions.  (Wait - didn't he say he would never come back to MTV?  What's he doing there in the first place?)  The saving grace of the night came from Beyonce, our fairy godmother of the evening, when she had won Video Of The Year (so, if Kanye had shut his trap and waited, he would have actually been there when Beyonce won a better award than Taylor).  Disapproving of Kanye's actions herself, but being a lady about it, she briefly reminisced about winning her first 'moon man' when she was seventeen years old, as a member of Destiny's Child, and invited Taylor to return to the stage so that she could finish her acceptance speech.  Both women proved to be classy, savvy ladies with composure, while Kanye just proved himself to be what President Obama said in his "off the record", but precisely accurate observation - a jackass who has no respect for his peers.  I mean, sure, he's made numerous public apologies, and called Taylor Swift personally, and that's gotta count for something.  He's also stated that he's going to 'retreat' for a while to 'reflect' on his life.  Translation: his PR guy has told him to hide for the next few months, or he's gonna get rotten tomatoes and flaming brown bags of dog poo thrown at him by pick-up truck drivers and soccer moms, or anyone else with decency.

We will absolutely not deny that Kanye West has some talent.  I mean, the man has sold millions upon millions of records, and he is rich and famous for it.  In fact, he's probably a little bit more famous for me writing this post.  In his world, 'all press is good press', because it simply draws attention, sparking you, the reader, to do your own research and come to your own conclusion.  I mean, that's what I've done here, right?  That's what makes this world so beautiful - we all have our own opinions and conclusions.  I'm just saying there's a time and place to say them.

I'm very glad that Taylor's situation had a happy ending, and I'm very happy that Beyonce had a chance to redeem herself after being singled out so tactlessly by a man who dares to state his 'musical genius' at every opportunity.

My boycott of Kanye West still stands.  I will not support someone who behaves in this way, much like I would avoid the rude asshole at work.  Kanye doesn't need my money.  He needs to grow up.

Want some laughs at Kanye's expense?  Check out I'mmaLetYouFinish.com, with some images I'm sure you've seen floating around the internet, as well as finding some new ones.

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