Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Dear Mr. West,

Listen, KDub. Do you mind if I call you KDub? How about KWest? Never mind. The point is, I forgive you. There was never really much to forgive. All you did was behave foolishly in public, though not for the first time.

But it's over. You did indeed act like a "32 year old child", to quote your very own Tweet, and like a "jackass", to quote President Obama. But so what? In the general scheme of things, it hardly matters.

You still seem to be a bit of a martyr. Your apology to Taylor Swift came across as very sincere and genuine, but it was surrounded by a swamp of self-pity. For your own sake, I recommend you get yourself out of that quagmire.

But through all of it, you have a point. The reaction to celebrity misbehavior and/or controversy is almost always disproportionate. On one hand, members of the public declare "who cares what celebrities think?" and on the other they ask their co-workers "did you hear what the Dixie Chicks said about President Bush?" So what if the Dixie Chicks criticized ex-Prez GDub (not to be confused with you, KDub); those who disagree with what they say can refuse to attend their concerts or purchase their products. But the seething rage, the death threats, the umbrage? What's the point?

So Kanye West rushed the stage at an awards show and criticized a decision. Not the smartest thing to do, but life goes on. You also have a point about the "angry black man". This is one stereotype that just needs to plummet down a well and die. It's not that there aren't some people who qualify as "angry black men" or, should I say, disproportionately angry black men, but "angry black man" is too often used to dismiss anyone who says things people don't want to hear. Instead of examining what a person says and determining if his claims are valid, the knee-jerk reaction is to call someone "angry" or "bitter" or "militant" and that's the end of the discussion.

It is too bad that your rather minor errors have produced very vicious reactions by some people. However, one thing you have to bear in mind is that some of your worst moments have occurred in front of television cameras. You are a public figure. It isn't fair, I know, but I'm afraid all of us must confront inequities at one time or another, some more than others.

I think you are a sincere and earnest person. I think you are well-intentioned but often self-serving. I think you feel sorry for yourself a little too much. I think your ego ranges from inflated to flat and you find it difficult to keep balanced. On this last point, join the club because I'm right there with you. A lot of us are. Basically, you're just about like the rest of us except you're rich and famous and we're not. All I can suggest is, carry the burden of fame and fortune as best you can and make the most of the benefits.

Oh, and stop buying so much stupid nonsense, like fur pillows that are apparently hard to sleep on ( This isn't because such purchases make you a bad person. It's just that if you want to be perceived as a genuinely kindhearted man of depth and complexity, and if you want sympathy and understanding from the general public, hollow and overpriced toys are not the way to go.

You've got talent. You've got brains. The road to Hell could be paved with your good intentions--and it almost has been--so take your own advice and grow up. It probably won't be easy. There will be fits and starts, same as with the rest of us. But you can do it because you want to do it.

By the way, you almost made me care about Twitter. Almost.


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