Depending on how you look at it, Kanye West and ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel got into a fight on Tuesday night, when Kimmel broadcast this critique of an interview Kanye gave to the BBC, featuring two children re-enacting the interview:
Or the spat started on Thursday evening, when West fired off this tweet:
JIMMY KIMMEL IS OUT OF LINE TO TRY AND SPOOF IN ANY WAY THE FIRST PIECE OF HONEST MEDIA IN YEARS— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) September 27, 2013
West's all-caps tirade went on for about 45 minutes and 10 tweets (you can read them all here, or just watch the video below), and included some profanity, a few gratuitous insults, custom-made gifs, and apparent non sequiturs. At this point, if you pay any attention to Kimmel and his particular brand of late-night humor, you might think this is all an elaborate set-up. Kimmel, on Twitter, assured us that it is not:
I'll tell you the whole story about @kanyewest tonight on the show - this is not a prank, I promise (unless it's being played on me)— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 27, 2013
True to his word, Kimmel discussed what he smugly called his first "rap feud" on his show Thursday night. Kanye called him up, very angry over the sketch, Kimmel said, and told him to apologize publicly. Kimmel doesn't. He reads West's tweets on the air and says he doesn't get all this fury over the pretty "innocuous" bit. At the end, he actually thanks Kanye:
In other words, this is all a joke for Kimmel. And in that sense, he's winning this fight: Kimmel gets to stand on stage and spitball crazy old Kanye, while West appears to be genuinely upset about being gently mocked on TV. And it's not that hard to poke fun at Kanye's brilliant grandiosity.
"But the real problem here isn't Kanye, it's Kimmel," says Forrest Wickman at Slate. On all the important points Kimmel mocks, Kanye is right and Kimmel is wrong. Kanye really is the world's biggest rap star, and rap has been the "new rock 'n' roll" for at least a decade. Leather jogging pants are a big thing, and "if Kanye really did come up with that idea and no one listened, it's understandable that he would be upset about it," Wickman says. Kimmel even admits he doesn't follow Kanye or fashion very much.
But instead of trying to understand, Kimmel does the opposite: He revels in his lack of comprehension, and puts Kanye's words in the mouth of a child, in order to infantilize him....If you don't know the fashion world, then you shouldn't try to tell Kanye West, who's rubbed elbows with many of the biggest fashion designers in the world, about fashion. More importantly, if you're a 45-year-old white dude who apparently doesn't understand a thing about pop music, you shouldn't try to tell one of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world about hip-hop. [Slate]
Your move, Kanye.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- California's epic drought
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 20, 2014
- Peter Thiel, and the not-so-secret secret of innovative success
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week