I really don’t wanna talk about it, and I shouldn’t even really, so I’m barely going to.
The last few weeks have been surprising, disorienting and mainly just sad for anybody who has ever admired Kanye West as a musician, artist, public figure and person who doesn’t befriend alt-right figures and espouse their disgusting revisionist histories. The music he has released during this time — while it, as usual, sounds pretty good — has either been a platform for his new, semi-incoherent ideology (“Ye vs. the People”), or a troll so broad that it begs the question of whether he’s taking any of this shit even remotely seriously (“Lift Yourself”). In the end, it doesn’t really matter all that much, at least to me, whether he actually believes what he’s been saying, or whether he just believes that he is continuing a long career of reactive, disruptive speech regardless of its content, or whether it’s all just a huge joke at the expense of everybody except for Donald Trump, Candace Owens and people who believe that 400 years of slavery were a choice.
There has already been a lot written about all of this, and I don’t really feel I have that much to add to it, so I’d particularly recommend these two articles: Brentin Mock’s “The Miseducation of Kanye West,” which argues for why Kanye’s dream to enter the architecture, design and planning world should not be fulfilled, and Ijeoma Oluo’s “How should white people talk about Kanye West?” the title of which speaks for itself.
For me, this episode has felt representative of a larger trend during my time in college. The world has continually revealed itself as an irreparably broken and fucked-up place. Old sources of comfort and security have become hideous and threatening. We voted in the first president who is truly incapable of saying two minutes of unprepared, on-topic, coherent speech and whose administration is literally a threat to over half of the American population, let alone the populations of other countries. People whom I looked up to have been exposed as pathetic, impotent predators. And we continue to take so little action towards slowing the changing of our climate, which according to TIME magazine may make South Asia unliveable in 80 years. In this context, Kanye’s new politics start to seem a bit less reactive and bit more reflective of the general chaos that characterizes this era.
It has been a remarkable, and at times remarkably stressful, time to be in college. But at the same time, I am profoundly grateful that I was here during this time. I had friends who, in contrast to Kanye’s line in “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” very much wanted to talk about “it,” whatever the “it” of that week was. And I am particularly grateful for the community that I found through the Arts and Entertainment section of the Cornell Daily Sun. I made some of the best, truest, most intelligent, most thoughtful, most perceptive, most provocative and most loyal friends I’ve ever had through this section, and I will always remember this community as one that challenged me to think harder and longer before speaking or writing. I have quite a lot of people to thank.
I want to start by saying thank you to a long list of editors who crafted the section: Sean Doolittle ’16, Mike Sosnick ’16, Katie Sims ’20, Andrei Kozyrev ’20, Viri Garcia ’20, Lev Akabas ’19 and Pete Buonanno ’21. Thank you all for your vision, your advice and your patience. And thank you particularly to Kaitlyn Tiffany ’15, whom I only met once or twice but whose writing I’ve been inspired (and very amused) by ever since.
I’d also like to thank a few people who were not members of the Arts section, but who were deeply involved in my columns. Thank you to Evan Czako ’18, whose music provided the inspiration for what I think may have been my best column (“Listen to My Friend Evan”). Thank you to Elie Kirshner ’18 and Amir Patel ’18, whose on-point quips provided the bulk of material for the column that was the most fun to write — or more accurately, transcribe (“How Bad Can a Good Time Be?: A Discussion of Three Versions of U2’s New Single”). And thank you to Allison Considine ’17, who was of invaluable help in editing the column that was the most difficult to write, about the film It and the problems with fraternities (“The ‘It’ in Our Community).
Finally, thank you to my Arts-section friends. Thanks to Sam Bromer ‘16, who wrote one of the bravest and best final Arts columns ever written. Sam, you had me at “you had me at hello.” Thanks to Chris Stanton ’17, whose musical tastes converge so thoroughly with mine that we never run out of stuff to analyze. Chris, we still got Frank, at least. Thanks to Shay Collins ’18, who has been a good friend for four years and a good roommate for two. Shay, it has been profoundly cool to watch you evolve in a year from a nervous kid strumming his guitar in front of twenty people to a full-on emotional-rollercoaster-inducing performer. Thanks to Troy Sherman ’18, a fantastic friend and classmate. Troy, you once drove me to Brooklyn and back in one night to see Vince Staples perform, and you’re the only person I know who would have read all of Finnegans Wake aloud with me; I think that alone says it all. Thanks to Jael Goldfine ’17, with whom I’ve had some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve ever had. Jael, I always miss you when you’re not around.
I’m leaving this place for good in a few weeks, and I don’t even wanna talk about it. Be well, everybody. I’ll miss all this.
Jack Jones is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Despite all the Amputations runs alternate Tuesdays this semester.