Sarah's Scribbles

The Year of Months

What I learned from Kanye West

September 18, 2009

While he's still probably the most hated man in America, it seems the blood rage directed at Kanye West is finally falling to a dull roar.  Just about anyone who's anyone has weighed in on his outburst, calling him anything from 'rude' to 'jackass' (I'm still not convinced that wasn't a cleverly crafted PR stunt for the big man - saying something 99.9% of the country will agree with is never a bad move in the political arena).

So this left me wondering why.  Why do all of these important and/or busy people take the time to comment on the behavior of an obscene 5-year-old trapped in a man's body?  Why should his rude behavior be nothing more than a curiosity we can quickly move on from? 

Clichéd as it is, this is what I took away from it: Celebrities are people too. 

Wait! Before you groan to yourself and stop reading let me explain why you should read on.  Replace the word 'celebrities' with just about any other profession/station that you stereotype: Cops, Teachers, Tech Support, Politicians, Fundraisers, Sorority Girls, Tow Truck Drivers, Soldiers, Flight Attendants, Lifeguards, College Students, Literary Agents (ha! for my writer friends out there) etc.

The majority of people tend to class all Celebrities together, holding them in their mind as these sort-of robots with different faces, bodies and talents (which are too often inversely proportional to the attractiveness of the first two attributes, but that's beside the point).  I don't know about y'all, but I usually think that popular Celebrities are pretty much all the same person inside, but the West/Swift incident made me rethink that.

Their personalities, dreams and priorities are as different as yours and mine.  Before you disagree, think about what might have happened if it had been Eminem or Pink on that stage instead of Taylor Swift.  I'm not sure KW would have walked away from that encounter?  How many people in that audience agreed with what Kanye said 100%, but thoughts of doing what he did never even occurred to them?

Now this realization, as it is, won't really affect my life too much.  I imagine it won't affect yours either, until you do as I suggested above and replace the word 'celebrities' with something else. 

How many times have we seen an attractive sorority girl and dismissed her as a dimwit with the sole goal of finding a husband to support her?  How many times would we have been wrong?  More than we like to think.

How many times have we treated a cop or a flight attendant as a thing instead of a human being, a real person with motivations and emotions and needs and dreams?  I challenge you to take a look at your past encounters with certain professions and I'd bet dollars to donuts that you'll be shocked by your own callousness and bigotry.

These are just my thoughts on the subject, feel free to disagree, but I always like to try to take something positive away from a bad experience.  You can join me, or you can just call him a jackass and be done with it.