Quick! What’s the question that is on everyone’s lips right now? You’d think it would be “Who is going to win the 2008 Presidential Election?” or “Are gas prices ever going to go down?” or “Should I buy one of them cheaper iPhones?” or even “What’s up with the Jonas Brothers?”
Nope, the question that is one everyone’s lips right now — again — is “Why is Kanye West such an asshole?”
I think that I have the answer, and it might be not what you think.
His most recent round of assholitude (assholishness? assholiosity?) came after he made people wait for nearly 90 minutes for his appearance at last week’s Bonnaroo festival. He was supposed to go on at 8:15, but didn’t feel that it was going to be dark enough for his elaborate spaceship motif, so he pushed it back to 2:45, but he didn’t go on until 4:25. That’s 4:25 AM, BTW.
Now, delaying concerts is a dickhead move, not doubt, but it’s pretty ordinary: the type of thing that Axl Rose does in his sleep. And if we know anything about Kanye, it’s that he is not ordinary. I mean, his entire persona is based around the fact that he’s extraordinary.
But in this case, the ordinary people in the audience were pissed — 4:25 AM is the time where you’re thinking about throwing up, not the time where you want to watch an interplanetary alien rapper throwing down — and let him know by booing and throwing things on the stage, and, naturally, angry blog posts.
Kanye West was shocked, SHOCKED, that people were upset.
Now, I don’t know where the idea came from to give celebrities their own blogs, but it was pure genius. There ain’t nothing in the whole world better in the entire universe than a celebrity with a blog. It’s hilarious: PR people spend tons of time and effort (and the celebrity’s own money!) trying to build a wall of good publicity around someone to have it all come crashing down via the celeb’s own unfiltered words.
It’s just too bad that Joan Crawford or Marlon Brando or Frank Sinatra or other legendarily “difficult” celebs didn’t have blogs back in their prime. Sinatra’s would have been awesome.
Perhaps even more awesome than the rant that Kanye went on, the rant that — among many other things — revealed exactly why he is an asshole.
And it ain’t because he’s a genius. I mean, he may very well be a genius, and the fact that everybody takes it for granted that he is a genius because he says he is a genius makes him — at the very least — a genius at making people think that he’s a genius.
But just because someone’s a genius doesn’t automatically mean that people are going to call him an asshole. Just ask Pablo Picasso. So that’s not why Kanye West is such an asshole. This is why:
… SOMETIMES I GO 2, 3 DAYS W/O SLEEP WORKING ON MY PERFORMANCE …
That’s it! You know how cranky you get when you don’t get a full night’s sleep. It’s a certifiable scientific fact and everything! Now multiply that by 72 hours with no sleep and you get sore loserdom, outsized arrogance, abject paranoia, making people wait to see you and — best of all — long, barely coherent blog posts.
As you can probably tell, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time.
No matter what, Kanye fits into a grand tradition of genius (see, now I’m doing it) assholes: Bob Dylan had a whole movie based around how much of a titanic asshole he was in the mid-1960s; people who have done films with Mike Myers don’t speak to him for years afterwards; and I’ve already mentioned Axl Rose, who just a couple of days ago, had the frackin’ FBI visit the guy who did the latest leak of Chinese Democracy.
Awesome asshole act, Axl!
The question is how long Kanye can end up acting like this, until the tipping point is reached where the perception of his assholish behavior outweighs the perception of his genius.
Dylan and Sinatra escaped it, of course, without ever fully mellowing out, and the jury’s still out on Axl Rose. (Which is part of the reason that he’s delayed Chinese Democracy — he wants it to be better than his public image.) But Mike Myers, there’s an object lesson for Kanye, if the opening weekend grosses for The Love Guru are any indication.
If your art slips, just for a second, that may well be it.
I mean, look at Barry Bonds, still one of my all-time favorite baseball players, whose lack of employment this season is due less to the steroids scandal and more because of the perception that he’s just not worth the trouble in the clubhouse anymore.
At least, in Kanye’s case, there’s a cure. Just get some sleep, dude. And things will seem a whole lot better in the morning.