By now, you’ve seen all the countless articles since Kanye West tweeted his presidential candidacy as apparently this is how world decisions are announced in 2020. The question has been asked by every major publication: “Is he really running?” I have a better question — who cares.
It’s like the adage: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?” His “campaign” only matters if the media treats it as if it is a real candidacy. So, is he a viable candidate?
Well, as several people have pointed out, he has missed the deadline to get on the ballot in many key states and there is no record of him filing with the Federal Election Commission.
So, as also has been pointed out, this is either an incredibly misguided publicity stunt or an attempt to siphon off votes from presumed Democratic candidate Joe Biden and hand the election to incumbent Donald Trump, who, as has been reported for months, is getting hammered in the polls as of today.
As to why I say this is an incredibly misguided publicity stunt for his upcoming album, you can argue sure it has attracted headlines around the globe, so doesn’t that make it effective? In the literal sense, yes.
But given the stakes of this election and the state of America right now, ask the families of the 130,000 Americans who’ve passed from Coronavirus if a rapper with no political experience at all running to lead America is funny. Would it make the 40 million people unemployed chuckle? Or ask the other world leaders who’ve banned Americans from travel to the E.U., Australia, Mexico and more because of the Coronavirus outbreak if the thought of Kanye West running the country is a joke.
I am guessing from the social media response most people would answer, “Hell no, it’s not funny.”
This is where the media comes in. For some reason, the media has decided that everything West says is newsworthy. He has been hailed as a genius, a master showman mixing the skills and shrewdness of David Bowie, Steve Jobs and P.T. Barnum. No, just because someone calls themselves Picasso doesn’t make them so.
If you don’t believe me heed the words of someone much smarter than me, the great Leonard Cohen, who wrote in March of 2015 in a piece called “Kanye West Is Not Picasso,” “Kanye West is not Picasso/I am Picasso.” Later in the same work, Cohen writes, “I am the Kanye West of Kayne West/The Kanye West/Of the great shift of bogus bulls**t culture.”
Before everyone calls me a hater, I give full credit to West as both a musician and for what he has done with his Yeezy brand. He is an incredibly talented artist and producer, and he started a billion-dollar brand to his credit.
But Jay-Z, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and many other musicians just as or more iconic than West have been equally successful in different ways, be it forming brands or charities. You don’t see any of them running for president or starting a church.
This came up in debate when West decided he found Jesus and started his Sunday services. Does the media have an obligation to cover those? No! My argument, which I maintain to this day, is as entertainment journalists you have a say over what you cover.
If a miracle happened at one of these services or god forbid tragedy, then yes there is an obligation to report the news. But a musician holding Sunday services is not newsworthy in and of itself. It’s only news if you make it so.
Just as I argued and maintain as well it was wrong for anyone to cover Dancing With The Stars when they put Sean Spicer on. The media needs to stop blurring entertainment and politics, and quickly before we really do descend into the prophecy of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy and can’t return.
For all those who think West is a mastermind the media gives him his best argument that’s true. It is the textbook dysfunctional relationship. He is the guy who swears he just needs time to tell his wife about the affair, but he really does love you. Media, it’s time to face the truth, he doesn’t love you and he never will.
But yet, he doesn’t say anything for months, then tweets something, starts a religious service, wears a MAGA hat or announces he is running for president and the media swears, “You see he does love me! I knew he’d come back.”
Yeah, when he needs a ride to the airport, or to help him move, or just needs some damn attention. So how do you stop that behavior? Stop giving him the attention he craves.
If West makes a great album, give him props for it. If his Yeezy brand inks a deal with Gap that’s absolutely newsworthy. But to anyone thinking of articles like, “Who will be his vice-president? Who would play the inauguration? Imagine West at his first summit,” stop right now! The only way this cycle ends is if you stop feeding into his narcissism.
The only question that should matter when covering a presidential election is does someone have a chance to win? If the answer is no then it’s not news. In fact, as some are so fond of calling it, “It’s a hoax.”