Panelists Josh Davidson and Stacy Drake discuss the refugee crisis and how many only started paying attention after a picture got shared, Donald Trump, Kanye West’s VMA presidential announcement and the latest bits of craziness from Peter Sergakis. Plus the Community Calendar.

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau

Panelists

Josh Davidson: FTB food columnist

Stacy Drake: FTB culture and entertainment contributor

FTB PODCAST #11: Refugees, Donald Trump, Kanye West and More Peter Sergakis Weirdness by Forget The Box on Mixcloud

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

So you may have heard that Kanye West is running for President in 2020. He made the announcement at the very end of his twelve minute speech accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.

If you missed it live, I’m sure you’ve heard about it on Twitter, Facebook or from friends. Even if you don’t like Kanye or only know him as the guy who stirs up shit on awards shows who’s married to a Kardashian and did a duet with Paul McCartney, you’ve heard about it. CNN even picked it up:

Whether Kanye actually makes a serious run at the presidency or not (he probably has to at least try), I think he knew that it would guarantee people would listen to his speech. I wouldn’t have listened to it otherwise and I have to admit that I liked what I heard.

Honest Deconstruction of Awards Show Culture

He started by acknowledging Taylor Swift and the infamous 2009 VMAs incident where Kanye rudely interrupted her acceptance speech. Would he do it again, now that he’s a father? He left that one open. What he didn’t leave ambiguous was that he felt MTV used this incident as part of their marketing push by having Swift present him the award. This led to a commentary on the competitive nature of pop culture, and this is where things got really interesting. After stating that he doesn’t understand awards shows, Kanye went on to beautifully describe how truly messed up the concept behind them and most of modern pop culture is.

Getting it Heard

Kanye’s speech attacked the predatory nature of the entertainment industry, and by doing it from one of the industry’s biggest televised stages he made it all the more poignant. However, if he hadn’t added the announcement that he was running for president, I more than likely wouldn’t have watched it.

Though the VMAs viewership dropped 18% from last year, people who were watching on network television were only a fraction of the audience. I, for one, “watched” the VMAs on Twitter and this allowed me to pick and choose what parts of the show I wanted to watch. I only played the videos that interested me, adding my voice to the chorus once, in a very self-dating sort of way:

Someone like me would have definitely skipped Kanye’s acceptant speech if it hadn’t started trending on social media, something Kanye was definitely aware of when he announced his candidacy for president. In fact, “Kanye’s running for President” was pretty much the only thing any tweet about his speech said. Some even decided to riff on the theme:

Without that hook at the end, the speech may have only been heard by the live audience and Kanye fans looking for any bit of Yeezus they could find. With it, millions more got to hear it.

Only Nixon Could go to China

His speech was a brilliant catch 22. While Kanye eviscerated pop culture and modern media beautifully, he simultaneously used their platforms to promote this evisceration. And whether or not you’re a fan of Kanye, you should at least respect the mans love of paradoxes.

As the saying goes, only Nixon could go to China. In the same way, only a celebrity like Kanye West can properly critique celebrity culture and have a large enough audience to have his critique matter.

With Kanye’s deadly combination of media manipulation skills, his commentary on pop culture, as well as his position within it, there is probably no other celebrity who’s playing the game quite like he is.

If you haven’t already, you should do yourself a favour and listen to his speech:

How is it that every time I want to check my Instagram and Facebook account, there is not one day that I don’t come across a Kanye West and Kim Kardashian article (a.k.a Kimye). Sure, Kanye is a rapper, a songwriter and a record producer; or as he calls himself a ‘creative genius’ (seriously?). But let’s be honest, he isn’t the greatest artist out there; and he certainly wouldn’t be the first person to come to mind when talking about performing at the closing ceremony of the Pan Am Games.

The Pan Am Games is a sporting event featuring summer sports where thousands of athletes participate in various competitions. Just like the Olympics, medals are handed out to the first, second and third place finishers. In addition, there is also an opening and a closing ceremony, which mark the beginning and ending of the event.

The games are currently being held in the City of Toronto and end this month on July 26. It was recently announced that Kanye West will be headlining the closing ceremonies, but not everyone is pleased with the latest news.

drake
Why not Drake instead?

Since news broke that Kanye will be performing, an online petition calling for the singer to be replaced has caused quite a buzz on social media. There are now close to 50 000 signatures, and supporters are asking for the committee to drop West and choose a local artist, perhaps Drake or The Weeknd, who represents the City of Toronto.

It would only make sense to have a Canadian artist close out the games! Also scheduled to perform at the event are Pitbull and Serena Ryder (at least ONE of them is Canadian, eh?).

I am quite happy that there is actually something that is being done about this; that people’s opinions are actually being heard. The Pan Am Games have proven to be important for Torontonians and what better way to end them by featuring some homegrown talent. If you would like to take part and sign the petition, you can at change.org.

* Featured image from olympic.ca

I feel sick and frivolous for even having an opinion, but before I voice it, let me first ask: Who the hell IS Kim Kardashian? Please. Someone. What does she do exactly, besides feed the ego of Kanye West (a.k.a the Spoiled Sociopath of Hip-Hop)?

Has anybody ever watched the Japanese anime movie Akira, where the biker punk becomes so inflamed with himself that he starts mutating into this repulsive monster and swallows everything up in this grotesque pulpy body of mangled flesh?

I think the metaphor is very appropriate for Kanye, for the pun that is Kim Kardashian’s career, and for their strategic celebrity marriage.

The fact that these two have produced an heir named North West adds an element of fear to my growing disgust. These people are capable of reproducing. Of multiplying. Of being named North West. (Is their kid named after a winter-wear line or something? Poor bastard. These people will commercialize anything!)

Anyway, so back to the mystifying paradox of Kim Kardashian’s “career.”

The buzz about her now (before this it was reality television and upscale prostitution, right?) is that she landed on the cover of Vogue Magazine.

keeping-up-with-the-cardassians-l1

You know the woman is a complete trollop in her own right if the people within the celebrity-media-fashion communities can’t even tolerate her gracing their publications.

I stripped off a piece of my soul (meaning I reluctantly sat through Vogue’s short video of the cover-shoot) and also read that Sarah Michelle Gellar tweeted something about cancelling her subscription to Vogue.

Yet still completely perplexed, I began to type into Google “Why is Kim Kardashian Famous?” Before I could type the word “famous,” these options came up for me as well:

“Why is Kim Kardashian a Hobbit?”

“Why is Kim Kardashian never with her baby?”“Why is Kim Kardashian’s bum so big?”

While I was somewhat intrigued about the connection between J.R.R. Tolkien and the Kardashian woman, I still wanted to get to the bottom of this person’s dragging fifteen minutes of fame.

According to Wet Paint (in an article entitled “Sure, She’s Beautiful but Why is Kim Kardashian Famous?”) it all began with a sex tape.

OF COURSE.

That is just the Hollywood way, isn’t it? I don’t need to read a word more. In fact, I should have just assumed the obvious.

God, get me a handheld and a VHS. I want to be a billionaire too!

When actors, models and designers who bust their balls over their craft see this 3-ring circus celebrity shit storm spray itself all over the cover of Vogue Magazine in a tragic display of farce and self-indulgence, of course it’s disappointing. Of course people want to cancel their subscriptions.

Mainstream media is already a shit-flinging battleground of hashtags, fat Americans, oxymoronic reality television, downright fallacy and ultimate soul-starvation.

Why shit where you eat? Why prolong the proverbial root canal that is the Kim Kardashian industry? Why contribute to the wank-fest that is Kanye West’s “music” career? Why do humans have such a sick black-hole attraction to this sort of stuff? We might as well go back to the coliseum and watch tigers rip apart Christians.

You know what? If anyone needs me, I’ll be sitting with my head in the sand, alone on a desert island.