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September 03, 2005

Kanye West, Deconstructed (With Video)


Kanyemyers At some point – right around landfall, probably – Hurricane Katrina stopped being a terrible disaster and started being a political football for the left to toss around casually.

Last night, rapper Kanye West tried out for quarterback, and he's getting mad props for exercising his "right of free speech." ("Free speech" is defined by the left as "anything slurring Republicans."  It is not to be confused with "hate speech," which the left defines as "anything said by Republicans.")

Joined by comedian Mike Myers, West used his moment in the sun on NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief" to baselessly perpetuate a number of outrageous memes.  He starts out strong:

"I hate the way they portray us in the media.  If you see a black family, it says they're looting.  If you see a white family, it says they're looking for food.  And you know it's been five days, because most of the people are black."

As far as I can tell, this rumor about press coverage is getting such mileage exclusively from a single event in which Yahoo News Photos has been accused of believing that black people "loot" while white people "find things."

But Yahoo does not write the captions.  The photo of the black looter came from the AP, while the photo of the white looter came from French news service AFP.  Different news organizations have different standards.

Indeed, it is to the AP's credit (or to the AP member who wrote the caption) and to AFP's shame that it uses the English language accurately and refuses to excuse criminal behavior, regardless of the race involved.  (Remember, another European news organization famously refuses even to call terrorists "terrorists.")

"So now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give. And just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there."

West, an African-American, feels it incumbent to remind us that "most of the people are black" and that those are "(his) people down there."  If he feels that the media is unfairly dividing tragedy victims by race based on one dubious example, then why deepen those divisions by speaking so callously of non-black victims?

"With the set-up, the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."

There's the race card again.  ZZZzzzzz ...

While there is no doubt the response could have been faster – as is usually the case in a tragedy of virtually unprecedented scale, and a fact the President himself has acknowledged – it is (yes) anti-American to believe that your own country is "set up" to help the poor or black people "as slow as possible."  While "everyone's a little bit racist," as the song goes, it takes a twisted mind to think that our nation's rescue and protection infrastructure is "set up" to respond differently to people of differing financial means or colors.

West should try to peddle his line of garbage to all the non-blacks who have also been killed or affected, and who make up the majority population in the parishes adjoining New Orleans (to say nothing of other areas and states that were impacted.)

"We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us."

Umm, I thought that the citizens were the ones who started shooting at their would-be rescuers.  Perhaps that's why our country was "set up" for a slow response.

OK, now it's Mike Myers' turn, and you can see exactly what is racing through his mind: I hope to God the next thing that comes up on the TelePrompTer will make sense after that absurd non sequitur!

As it turns out, Myers' next line is about rebuilding, which didn't quite follow what West said, but no matter.  West barrels blindly ahead, ending with this little coda:

"George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Mike Myers' head darts back and forth a bit nervously the entire time.  At this point he pauses, clearly wondering if West will ever decide to read from the TelePrompTer.  Then, as Myers begins to say "Please call," his microphone is cut.  The camera cuts to a clearly rattled Chris Tucker, who makes a plea for help without any of the flecks of spittle that characterized West's outburst.

Mr. West, a few words of advice before your next tirade: Get your facts somewhere other than the Daily Kos.

And the next time you fling such a loaded (and demonstrably false) charge at the President, don't do it on a friggin' telethon.  Last I checked, 50.73 percent of those who went to the polls last year voted for George Bush.  Now, ours is a country with $11.75 trillion of purchasing power, and 50.73 percent of that is ... let's see, carry the 5 ... nearly $6 trillion!  That's a lot of money you probably just flushed down the toilet, jackass.  Does your "business manager" think you can afford that?

It will be a good thing if West truly opens his wallet to those in need, and I concede that he was just "exercising his freedom of speech."  But the First Amendment does not guarantee that in doing so, you won't make a mighty ass of yourself.

[Watch video – 9.4mb, WMV format]