Kanye West has come in for some scorn for launching into yet another Twitter rant a couple nights ago (“Everything sounds like noise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE NOISE!!!!!!! I don’t trust anyone!”), pushing back against a then as-yet unaired interview with the Today Show‘s Matt Lauer. But then again, let’s not forget: this is the same artist who went on Jay Leno’s show, only to be asked by the bloated late night host what his dead mother would think of the way he’d treated Taylor Swift. So when ‘Ye starts talking about how the media are trying to play him, don’t be so sure they aren’t. Anyway, you can watch the interview now. It’s not a pretty thing.
Again, on the one hand, the spectacle of Kanye getting agitated (“I didn’t need you guys to show me the tape in order to prompt my emotions or whatever”) at Lauer playing recent footage of George Bush talking about how much West hurt his feelings will not convert anybody who thinks Kanye is a bit sensitive; after all, as Lauer later said, it is pretty much common practice to roll tape during these interviews. Kanye, who has been making media appearances for five or six years now, knows this.
On the other hand, Lauer weirdly commanding West to look at Bush’s face (“Just play the tape. Don’t even listen this time. I want you to just look at his face while he is commenting about you. Just look at him.”) while the footage of the former president rolls is not only bizarre, it’s offensive — what is it with these people trying to prompt Kanye into some other realm of contrition beyond the kind he’s already expressed? Contrition which a lot of people think West shouldn’t have even stooped to, in the first place, but whatever. If he feels that way, he’s gonna say it — we know that by now. Either way, as the great Zadie Smith recently said: “Matt Lauer doesn’t listen to people when they talk.”
Just play the tape. Don’t even listen this time. Just look at him. This is a man who, when presented with the fact that George W. Bush expressed more contrition about Kanye West than Katrina, thinks the takeaway is that West should be forced to comment on Bush’s hurt feelings — and not, for instance, that Bush should be confronted with the ludicrousness of getting upset about what a pop star said about him while a major American city was underwater, due in part to his own disastrous management of the situation. Confronted, ideally, by the guy interviewing him. Anyone remember who did that one again?