As you may have heard, Kanye West got a little angry at Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter last night. It was classic Kanye, and very funny; it went viral immediately (which is why you are now reading this). Unfortunately, owing to Jimmy Kimmel’s recent history of perpetrating fakeness on the Internet, a lot of people now suspect that it’s a hoax, even though Kimmel promised that it wasn’t. I hope it is not a prank. I don’t want a Kanye who agrees to participate in Internet stunts with Jimmy Kimmel.
Why? Because internet pranks are inherently lame, for one, and as Slate’s Daniel Engber put it so beautifully after Kimmel’s recent twerking stunt, they undermine our sense of wonder. But Kanye’s outburst was about something more important: how shitty it is to make fun of someone expressing their feelings in a profound, open, and, frankly, much-more-entertaining-than-a-4-year-old way. Kanye’s Zane Lowe interview was about his frustrations (the paparazzi, his exclusion from the fashion world) and his dreams (designing, being the best) and how those two things inform his art. Because he is Kanye, one of our most gifted celebrities, the interview itself was also art — a mesmerizing mishmash of words that we have all been quoting to each other all week long. As Kanye himself would point out, not everyone can do what he does, be it musically or self-promotionally. Kanye’s greatest gift might be the way that he talks about Kanye. So I sincerely hope that Kanye did not participate in Jimmy Kimmel’s lazy attempt to minimize his self-expression. Before the hoax idea was floated, I was just happy to have Kanye back on Twitter, taking shots at Jimmy Kimmel for not understanding what it is to be creative. The Kanye tweets weren’t a “rant”; they were Kanye being right.