11 October 2011

Kanye West occupies Wall Street

Apparently the pop star was on his best behavior today, but when I saw the headline on the MSN homepage, I couldn't help imagining --

"Listen, everybody! This is a great protest, props to all of you, but I got to tell you, my statement that George W. Bush didn't care about black people was the greatest political protest of all time!"

Like I said, I couldn't help myself -- but the moral of this story is that no matter how flattering it may seem, the occupiers should not seek, and perhaps shouldn't even accept approval from celebrities, whether they're pop stars or politicians. It's bad enough that many observers regard the occupiers as rabble, but the last thing they need is the embrace of any perceived elitist. Kanye West may or may not be part of the dreaded 1% of money makers the occupiers appear to oppose, but he probably belongs to the 1% of other people's angry imaginations. If this moment in history is going to mean anything, then the occupiers can't let anyone else "represent" them -- and that goes for Al Sharpton as well, whose radio program, which West visited today, is occupying the occupation. You could hardly do more to label the occupation Business (or Politics) As Usual, which it cannot be if it's going to reach more than the usual inadequate constituencies. This movement's success can't be measured by how many celebrities cheer them on -- on some level it has to be a movement against celebrity as well as its political analogues. It has to be the people speaking for themselves, not through their representatives or their idols.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And the plain fact is, anyone like Kanye West who jumps into this fray is doing so for the free publicity it will generate for themselves, not because they actually support the ideals, needs or desires of the protestors in general.