I’ve written a few times about the artist Kanye West. Specifically, a review upon his short film Runaway and an editorial where I compared his likeness to Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dali. I serve as both a fan and a critic, and with the artist in question dropping his album Yandhi alongside his appearance on SNL this weekend which will undoubtedly result in controversy- it’s safe to say that his name is going to be said quite a lot in the next few days.
So, before we’re bombarded with headlines, I just wanted to share one of the biggest issues I have with the artist in question; his articulacy.
Now before I’m inevitably misconstrued, I just want to clarify that his poor articulacy has nothing to do with his race. In fact, black people have some of the best public speakers ever recorded in modern history. Whether they be political figures such as Martin Luther King or Malcom X or comedians such as Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle or novelists such as Toni Morrison or James Baldwin. There’s plenty of intellectual representatives, and that’s just black people in America.
So when I criticise Kanye West for being inarticulate, it has nothing to do with his ethnicity or social background. I apologise for the excessive clarification, but I just feel that if this blog were to kick off (god forbid) or I become remotely successful (shudders) there’d be some cunt skimming through these old articles looking for something they can take and say; “look what he said- that’s kind of fucked up if you think about it in a certain way. He’s a shitty terrible person, I hate him. You ought to hate him too. Why aren’t more people hating him? Are you guys terrible people?”
That’s just how most editorials make a buck nowadays. That’s the entire business model of almost every social media platform. Outrage manufactured on an industrial scale. Cheap papers, cheap stories- and god knows what you’ll hear for free.
Kanye West is a remarkable figure for a multitude of reasons. Namely his influence on music and pop culture. But also for his hilarious controversies, such as stating that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black People” or his recent fiasco with declaring admiration for the Fascist currently residing the Oval Office- alongside stating that “Slavery was a choice” contained within a rant that creates the impression that “oh, this guy’s off his meds”- you can understand why a lot of people aren’t too happy with him.
This man is particularly fascinating due to a seeming cognitive dissonance in his very personality. He’s both a Genius and a Moron. An Ego maniac and a remarkably insecure anime nerd. He’s not a Racist, he’s not self-loathing, he doesn’t hate his own people or anyone for that matter.
He’s just an inarticulate art school dropout- he has great difficulty expressing his ideas clearly and with any sort of self-awareness. He’s not a difficult man to understand. He likes Trump solely because people told him that he can’t cause he’s black and living in a liberal town like LA, but also because Trump proves that a dumb fuck celebrity could become President- so why couldn’t Kanye?
A scroll down his twitter feed is filled with both wisdom and babble, all of which are written with such poor sentence structure it makes Trump look like Hemingway. I’ve watched a variety of his interviews where he seems to be on the precipice of a truly intriguing idea or concept, but he just fucks up the landing and when he does say something understandable, it’s the most common-sense realisation you’ve ever heard in your life- I’m talking “I think, therefore, I am” basic.
So what is the difference between someone like Kanye and MLK or James Baldwin? A college education, for starters. But going to University doesn’t necessarily mean you are either smart or articulate, George W. Bush went to Harvard for Christ sake.
And people who didn’t go to college can also be articulate and intelligent, best example would be Charlemagne Tha God- who literally had to put himself through night school to pass High School-but now he performs gorgeous rants every weekday on his radio show segment “Donkey of the Day” in which he breaks down difficult concepts for easy consumption and why this one individual or community or concept is the dumbest thing in the world that day.
As you can imagine Kanye is a repeat offender for DoD, most recently for the whole slavery thing.
So what is the difference between people like Kanye and Charlemagne? It’s easy; Charlemagne reads, and Kanye does not. In fact he’s on the record stating he’s opposed to reading books period.
To him it’s an outdated format to which he can learn nothing. Now out of everything coarse and ignorant that has every crawled out of Kanye’s mouth, this is arguably the dumbest.
Reading is not only the most important medium of displaying and breaking down information, but it’s also the superior format of learning. Sure, you can watch a few hundred YouTube videos about anthropology or astro-physics- but none of them will help you read actual scientific literature. Nor will watching the news help you be able to digest whatever lies are in a Manifesto.
Reading not only helps you break down and express information in a better quality, but it also helps you become a better person. Exposing yourself to new ideas, different perspectives- it bridges the gap between people with a bridge of pure, unadulterated empathy. There’re some ideas that can’t be expressed in film or tv or conversation- they have to be written down.
The current global literacy rate for all people aged fifteen or above is 86.3%. For males it’s 90%, females it’s 82.7%. That’s about 959,000,000 people across the world who cannot read at all. The rest are able to read their name, road signs, a fast food menu or a book.
There isn’t any reliable global data on reading rates. Different studies show that we’re either reading less or more and different nations are either reading more or less. But by simply going outside and interacting with the general public, you can tell that we ought to read more.
Which is why I challenge you, dear reader, to go out and read at least one book all the way through. It might take you a day, a week, a month- but it oughn’t take you a year or more. You can read any genre, fiction or non-fiction, by any author about any subject. My only condition is that when you finish, you contact me here and say “I finished that book you dumb fucking cunt” that way I can get an idea of the impact of this article.
I don’t necessarily think that reading books will make Kanye West a smarter person, but it’ll make him a hell of a lot less ignorant. If he read a few news articles or skimmed through some essays on political theory he wouldn’t put out a track as whack as “Ye v. The People.”
If you’re a new reader and are looking for something both factual and entertaining, I highly recommend you checkout the Business Secrets of Drug Dealing. You can get some ideas on what books to read from the reviews on the Green Rover, so long as you don’t mind the occasional spoiler.
As a society, as a species, we ought to read more. And with Kanye’s regular statements about going into politics, I just hope to god we have a leader of the free world who can fucking read.