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Kanye West’s new album is officially out, and is reportedly maximal enough to move markets. WaPo’s Click Track offers a steady stream of Kanye stuff, and Best Westhoff offers his own take on My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy here on City Paper. The New York Times also spills some generous ink.
When John Updike died, not long after the Wall Street collapse and one week after Obama took office, I exchanged messages with a friend, who described the deceased writer thus:
He’s completely ravenous. He just consumes everything. He’s in many ways the ultimate subject that makes everything an object… He’s a roaring egotist … Obama’s election signalled the end of the 20th century—a new era of responsibility, the end of selfish politics, the psychodrama of the baby boomer generation. Updike had no choice but to drop dead.
Well, guess what: Obama just got creamed in the midterms, Wall Street is fat again, TV commercials have gone from humble, “back-to-basics” Americana to a blinged-out Ken Jeong with his solid-gold jet ski and lady pyramid. And Kanye West—the inheritor of Updike’s poetic, voracious, confessional, hedonistic, self-dramatizing, self-glorifying, self-immolating, narcissitic mantle for the Twitter generation—has ditched the lean, recession-era tricks of 808s and Heartbreak for an ambitious monument to exalted, unwholesome brilliance; a massive stimulus for the American ego. By all accounts, the album of the year.
In other words: RECESSION OVER.
In our beautiful, dark, twisted fantasies, at least.
By which, of course, I mean pop culture.
A few unrelated rebukes to the imagined promises of Inauguration 2009 (as long as we’re on the subject and they’re in the news): Das Racist, who remind us that America is anything but post-racial; and Odd Future, who remind us that all politics is personal. Sasha Frere-Jones briefly analyzes both bands. And in Slate, Paul Devlin’s investigation into the poor editorial review of Yale’s Anthology of Rap suggests the near-misappropriation (however well-intentioned) of black cultural artifacts—i.e. rap lyrics—by the “authoritative” historical record.
Where was Obama on that one? Seriously dude, get it together.
For best results, keep your fantasies turkey-related. Bye!