Kanye West always manages to make the news and a little controversy came out of his interview on Jimmy Kimmel this past Thursday. Here is the interview:
I found a few things interesting. West has a kind of childlike demeanor with occasional bursts of wisdom. For example, I liked his comment that "in this world we live in there are two main motivating forces--that's love or fear." That's not a bad thing to keep in mind. It reminds me of one of Patton's sayings, "never take counsel of your fears" which apparently he stole from Stonewall Jackson. In any case, it is good to remind ourselves from time to time, not to be ruled by our fears. Of course, there are other motivating forces and Kanye mentions pride. Another couple are greed and curiosity. I think curiosity is a really important one, often left off lists of virtues.
Kanye is a musician and designer so the way he thinks is probably not primarily in terms of verbal logic, but rather visual or musical logic. He mentions that he is not about politics or policy, but about not being afraid to say something outside what is supposedly permitted for an African-American (his term). This was the character of his response when Jimmy Kimmel brought up Trump. At one point Kanye says "we could have a dialogue about the President and not a diatribe." He then goes on to say that love can cure hate and so on. Then Jimmy Kimmel interrupts with the usual litany of leftist criticism (or perhaps, more accurately, smears) of Trump: tearing families apart, how he cares about nobody, etc. Kimmel really wasn't listening, was he? This was the jarring, inappropriate element. We didn't use to insert our political ideology into every corner of life--there was a time when we would have thought that demanding that a rapper defend the political policies of a current administration was absurd. I suspect that time was not that long ago, either.
What I really liked about Kanye's reply was that there wasn't one. Soon after they went to a commercial break and he never answered the "question." These kinds of things are really not actual questions are they, but rather ideological traps? The National Post had a piece on it where they reported on Kanye's tweeting that he wasn't stumped by the question but was thinking how best to answer and then was cut off. That is a very polite way, perhaps, of saying, that the nastiness of the question was simply embarrassing. There is a word we rarely use these days, but it keeps coming to mind: this kind of verbal interaction is really impertinent, rude, disrespectful, not only to the person being criticized, but also to the interview guest. In my experience, there are really only two ways to handle this kind of argument: either stop them in their tracks before they have a chance to hurl much, or simply refuse to engage. Kanye chose the more politic way.
Now let's have something to clear the palate with. Here is a really lovely piece for guitar by perhaps the greatest guitar composer of the 20th century, Joaquin Rodrigo. It is too long to be a short piece and too short to be a long piece, so it was not included in my recent top ten lists. Which is why I want to mention it now. This is the Invocation and Dance by Rodrigo played by Pepe Romero: