Well, despite my best efforts, that rumor about Kanye West campaigning to be King Of Pop in the wake of Michael Jackson’s passing really took off, thanks to our hypermediated, hyperconnected world being mostly devoid of fact-checkers. So the story finally, inevitably reached Kanye himself today—via Wendy Williams’ radio show—and he posted his thoughts on the whole thing to his blog:
I WAS JUST LISTENING TO WENDY WILLIAMS AND HEARD SOME QUOTE ABOUT ME SAYING I’M THE NEW KING OF POP. NOT ONLY DID I NOT SAY THAT, I HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING. IT MAKES ME FEEL BAD THAT OBVIOUSLY I MADE PEOPLE FEEL THAT I WOULD BE CORNY ENOUGH TO SAY SOMETHING SO WHACK AFTER THE PASSING OF AN IDOL, A LEGEND AND MORE THAN THAT A HUMAN BEING WITH FEELINGS AND FAMILY. IT SCARES ME TO THINK WHAT PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE, WITHOUT EVEN A SOURCE. ANY RANDOM PERSON CAN TYPE SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET AND THEN THE WORLD BELIEVES IT. I DON’T TALK TO PRESS OR DO TV OR DO PROMOTIONS OF ANY SORT. I’VE STOPPED CHASING AND BUYING INTO FAME. FAME IS LIKE CIGARETTES WITH NO SURGEON GENERAL WARNING. IT DESTROYS MOST PEOPLE AS IT DID TO THE TRUE AND ONLY KING OF POP. WE EXPLOIT OURSELVES AND EAT OUR OWN EGOS ‘TILL THERE IS NOTHING LEFT. I HAVE A FEELING THAT THIS WON’T BE THE LAST FALSE STATEMENT WITH MY NAME ON IT, BUT THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME I DEFEND MYSELF. I’M DONE.
You know, who can really blame him. All this week I was charting both the spread of the rumor and the spread of my debunking of said rumor (hey, a girl’s gotta keep up on her referers if she wants to grow her traffic) and the general reaction when someone would point out that the story had been 100% fabricated was curiously disappointed, as if The Truth was some sort of parental figure taking away a rumor-shaped toy from an in-need-of-distraction child. A typical reaction: “Aw, but the hate was so much fun.” Now of course this all ties into the idea of the celebrity-industrial complex and how it’s grown in such a way that it’s cultivated a psychotic/parasitic need for people to build themselves up by tearing down those who are held up as Important People, particularly in this fameball-saturated age where people like Heidi Montag and this fuckin’ guy get attention for being generally awful while the actual world is crumbling. But the dividing line between “awful person in the spotlight” and “talented person with personality quirks that are obsessively reported on by the always-in-need-of-material celebrity press to the point where the whole thing seems kind of like the worst parts of your average ninth-grade lunch period” is practically eroded at this point. And the Internet completely cultivates that sort of atmosphere thanks to bored people reblogging, and retweeting, and regurgitating “facts” without bothering to comprehend or double-check them, not to mention realizing that the people they are talking about aren’t just characters in some TV show. It’s like slam books on meth. And honestly, I don’t blame Kanye for wanting to get away from it, especially after that whole pork incident.
(I do wish he’d seen my rumor-debunking, though. Sigh.)
I WAS JUST LISTENING TO WENDY WILLIAMS [kanYe West: Blog]
Earlier: Despite What You’ve Heard, Kanye West Is Not Campaigning For The Title Of “King Of Pop”
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