A Non-Anonymous Response To Anonymous’ Attack On Kanye West And Kim Kardashian
Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting – William Shakespeare
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. – Edmund Burke
It must be a slow news week. I mean, it isn’t enough that the Governor of Florida has banned any mention of global warming or climate change; 47 Republican Senators have tried to undermine the foreign policy of the United States; the House of Representative has shown itself far more interested in Israel and its security than the United States and its security; ISIS has, I’m sure, killed more innocents. All these and more seem to pale in comparison to the mere existence of Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian. The entire tone of the video posted above (and you can see more here) would lead one to believe that West, a talented musician, entrepreneur, and master manipulator of the media (which makes him a perfect match for his current wife), is somehow on the level of evil with Dick Cheney, al Qaeda, and the leader of some Mexican drug cartel.
I submit there are several parts of the video with which I agree: that West (and Kardashian, too) are as much being manipulated, and being handsomely rewarded for being so, as they are manipulating others; that seeing and hearing the same names in the media grows more than a little tiresome; that the entire media-entertainment complex distracts us not only with sex, but celebrities known only for being known as celebrities, who then become famous because they are famous for being famous, and the folks who own the conglomerates rake in the dough while much of the public bitches and moans without ever once thinking it possible to change the channel or just turn everything off and read a book.
Having said that, I cannot help but feel that much of the ire in the video, directed both at West and Kardashian, has more than a dash of racism about it. Years ago, when David Lee Roth mugged for the camera behind Beck at a similar award show, the only ones to complain were Eddie and Alex Van Halen. At the very least, West insisted that another artist, Beyonce, had released an album worthy of as much artistic and peer recognition as had Beck’s most current release. That is an arguable point; Beyonce’s surprise album release last year received at least as much positive reviews as did Beck’s, and her refusal to deny her debt and ties to feminism demonstrated a kind of political courage rarely visible among any kind of artist these days.
As for Kardashian, she seems to be taking heat more for being a white woman marrying a black man than anything else. After all, of course she’s going to make money off displaying her body. It is, perhaps, her one and only real asset, and even at its most blatant, her nude photographs are hardly pornographic. Does Anonymous go after other models who have been equally willing to strip for the camera? As soon as I see them chastising everyone from Kate Winslet to Marlene Dietrich for showing up topless in movies, I’ll take their moral posturing a tad more seriously. Yet, because Kardahsian is married to a black man, obviously she is being exploited in some way; that, at least, seems to be much of the ire directed to West for using his wife’s assets, material and otherwise, to help his career.
Finally, the whole Renaissance Man thing . . . really, Anonymous? That is more than a bit over the top. In order to achieve what Kanye West has achieved, as an African-American artist, he has had to be three times as good as peers of his race, and ten times better than any white folk who try to do what he does. It takes more than luck and ambition and talent: it takes a refusal to allow others to define who and what one is, to stand upon one’s own two feet and declare one’s abilities to the world, if a black man is going to achieve anything in this world, especially America. And no “Renaissance men”, as the term is accurately used, were killed for being intelligent, thoughtful, challenging, or otherwise talented at multiple things. The folks who ended up on the wrong end of a noose or chopping block were usually religious dissenters, like Charles Cramner and Jacob Arminius. Artists’s political views were of little concern, even when the artist poked fun of their political patron in an ordered canvass. The declaration that West, who may or may not have a sense of humor about himself but who has certainly worked hard to achieve all he has and continues to work hard, has no place in “the coming age” is more than a little frightening, considering it comes from a person wearing a white mask directed at a man who has black skin.
I usually like you folks, Anonymous. This time, though, unless your tongue is planted firmly in your cheek, I do believe you have gone too far.