An Open Letter to Kanye West

Posted on October 30, 2013

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Dear Kanye,

You probably don’t have many post-menopausal white women in your fan base. The only reason I know who you are is because I read US Magazine on the treadmill. For that reason, I know that you sort of ruined Taylor Swifts’s big moment at the Grammys and that you are Kim Kardashian’s Baby Daddy. I also know about your interview with Ryan Seacrest, because of Yahoo News.

Yahoo News is filled each day with items that have nothing to do with my actual world, like talking dogs and the world’s largest baby, and the fact that Will Smith’s 15-year-old son has  gone public with his relationship with his 16-year-old girlfriend who is the daughter of Bruce Jenner Kardashian, I try to bypass these items, in order to get to my mailbox. But each day, at least one headline accounts for me checking my mail about 30 seconds after I intended to do so.

Today, I was sucked into your interview with Ryan Seacrest, in which you blamed “classicism” for your not being able to achieve all of your goals in life. I’m not sure what “classicism” is but if it means “lack of class” I’m on board with your statement.

You also said that no one cares if Michelle Obama Instagrams a picture of herself in a bikini. I completely agree with that statement as well. We live in a pretty fucked up world, Kanye. There are few things nowadays that give me any hope for the future. But I have to say that one of them is that the American public sees the First Lady as being more than booty.

I think maybe you are confusing popular culture with culture. Most of us love something about popular culture, whether it be following fashion or sports, or picking up the latest fare from some author of international thrillers to read on the beach. We watch reality shows and we vote for American Idols. We read everything we can about Wills and Kate. Popular culture is available to all of us. We don’t have to be talented or smart or wealthy to be fans.

Culture is something else. Culture is human intellectual achievement.  It is what defines a society, the legacy we leave to the generations that will follow. When we look at the Roman Empire, Pharaonic Egypt and the ancient dynasties of Asia and the Middle East, we marvel at the feats of government, the arts and engineering that created nations from tribal societies. The internal violent and sexual shenanigans of many of the rulers of these civilizations is no doubt a fascinating sideline, but it in no way defines the civilizations that these people created and ruled.

Your girlfriend probably has more Twitter followers than the First Lady. Hell, she might even have more followers than the President. But our fascination with her is limited to the externals of her life: her face, her body and the clothes she puts on it. She is a fantasy, whether one’s fantasy is for giant booty or designer duds. The best you can say about her is that she has turned her ability to showcase her body parts into a lucrative profession, indeed.

The fascination we have for Michelle Obama has nothing to do with what she looks like or what she wears (although an attractive First Lady is always more interesting). When we look at Michele Obama, we think about her intelligence, her strength, her ideals. No matter your political affiliation, you have to admit that Michele Obama is a powerhouse. Your girlfriend reminds us of what one can do with the gift of outstanding good looks. Michelle Obama reminds us of what one can do with outstanding intellect and drive.

So Kanye, draw Kim and North close to you. Tell them that you love them and that they are the most important people in your life. And be grateful that you live in a society that worships celebrity to such a ridiculous degree that someone like you, someone who sets the bar ever higher for pretention and self-absorption, can be worthy of taking up space with talking dogs and giant babies.

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