At first blush, you wouldn’t think that your local mom & pop pizza joint would have anything in common with Kanye West, but you’d be wrong because they both claim to be the best in the world, and just as you take the flyer that Vito’s Authentic Pizzeria (“The Best Pizza In The World Since 1982”) stuffs in your mailbox week after week with a grain of parmesan, so should you with this quote from Ye.
“I am unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time. It’s not even a question at this point.”Kanye West, 2019
In both cases about the only claim they can reasonably make is having an exceptional skill at crafting unprovable hyperbole.
I bring this up because musicologist Eric Alper posted the Kanye quote with no additional context and I immediately hopped into the comments to watch the show. Suffice it to say, it was pretty hilarious, so I added a comment of my own:
I should have known better. Kanye is a Donald Trump fan and Kanye’s fans behave, well, a lot like Donald Trump fans. I was called a “Boomer”, which is funny because I’m solidly GenX. Someone else replied that if Neil Peart was alive he’d appreciate Kanye as a musician, which I thought was the funniest thing I’d read all week – until the commenter made it clear that he was serious. Okay… His justification was that artists like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed have all come out publicly and said they like Kanye. As if somehow “I like Kanye’s stuff” from someone with actual musical talent equates to “I hereby bestow upon you the indisputable title of Greatest Artist of All Time.”
Kanye doesn’t lead the world in more than a couple of objective categories, let alone all of them. Subjectively, I could name fifty other musicians across time and genres that I think have either had a bigger influence on the world or have honed their craft to a greater degree than Mr. West.
Listen, I don’t give a shit if you love Kanye and think he’s all that and a bag of chips. If his work brings you joy then that’s good. The world needs more joy. But for the love of pizza, blindly parroting a claim that at best is unprovable and at worst, as I already pointed out, is objectively untrue, makes you look infantile.
These days, and especially when Red Hats are involved, it seems that good-faith debate devolves into ad-hominem attacks and trading playful barbs into mudslinging, which is too bad. On other comment threads, there were more damning insults than me being called a “Boomer”, but I won’t repeat them. I will say that for every comment asserting Kanye sucked there was often a counterargument that involved a personal epithet. It seems that there will always be a group of people that have forgotten that it’s all subjective.
I actually love the “who’s better than who” debates that rage on the internet (and especially out with friends at a pub). It’s passionate people passionately defending something or someone they are passionate about. It can be educational (“Did you know…?”) and it can be a lot of fun, but some folks are hellbent on making it personal, completely ignoring the subjectivity and making it more about “being right”.
Off the top of my head, I couldn’t name a single Kanye song, but I know I’ve heard some of them before. To make sure wasn’t missing something, I listened to a few of his songs on Spotify:
- Stronger (over 900 million streams)
- Ni**as In Paris (over 750 millon streams)
- Heartless (over 400 million streams)
My impression after giving those songs an open-minded listen? Meh. I can see people digging it, but it did nothing for me and I still 100% stand behind my “beats” meme comment.
It goes to show you though, it takes all kinds. It’s just too bad some people are convinced that disagreeing with someone’s musical taste means they can spread insults and hatred like Vito’s secret family recipe pizza sauce on a large thin-crust pie.
Besides, there’s a common cause out there that we should all be focused on:
Making fun of Nickelback.
Must be all this “identity” talk I keep hearing about, where people self-identify as reflections of things they like and feel threatened if others don’t like the same things.
I’m reasonably certain I’ve not heard anything of West (music or non music-related), but I also didn’t know who Peart was until I looked him up. I’ve heard of Rush, and probably heard some of their music, but can’t name any of their songs/music.
I enjoy different types of music, but it’s more individual pieces than genres, so much so that I rarely know the artists. I don’t have a favorite artist or band, but I do have a favorite movie (the greatest movie ever made) … Joe Versus the Volcano.
I’m no longer on Twitter because of the toxic culture (was never really ‘on’ there much), so I miss all these dramas.
Gen X, eh? … gonna have to look that up so that I know all about you.
I think you hit the nail on the head with the “identity” bit. As for your opinion on the greatest movie ever made, while Tom Hanks is a legend and Meg Ryan is eternally wonderful, I’m going to have to disagree with your choice, Boomer 😉
It’s not the actors . . . it’s the theme of JVTV (and the writing).
But, I understand . . . after reading the list of movies you grew up on. Although, I’m surprised “Weird Science” isn’t on there.
And, I can’t be a Boomer . . . I don’t wear a pony-tail nor wear sandals, have never done drugs, don’t drink (booze), and I don’t have obnoxious offspring (or any offspring).
You want to know about GenX, here’s a comprehensive list of movies to help. I agree with all but a couple insomuch as their relevance to the GenX identity. https://www.distractify.com/p/gen-x-movies