October 26, 2020

"Anything I go into — producing, rap, homes, clothing, anything — once I'm given the right information, I apply my taste. And I have the best taste on the planet."

"It was something that God put in my heart back in 2015. A few days before the MTV awards it hit me in the shower. When I first thought of it, I just started laughing to myself and all this joy came over my body, through my soul. I felt that energy and spirit. Two days later, I accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Awards. Instead of performing my array of hit songs, I gave just my perspective on awards shows.... It even took heart to say it in that context and people were just like: Oh! Their minds were blown.... I had different friends -- some people in the music industry, some tech elites -- and they took it as a joke.... I'm completely confident that I will figure out how to get America out of debt, that I have the ability, once I see everything. I never make the wrong decision when I'm given all the information. That's my skill set. Anything I go into — producing, rap, homes, clothing, anything — once I'm given the right information, I apply my taste. And I have the best taste on the planet. Could you imagine Quincy Jones as a president? Walt Disney? Steve Jobs? For America to be as warming and inviting as Disney World. There used to be this dream. People still have this dream of coming to America.... I know that me as president would be the best thing that would ever happen for America's foreign policy. I've traveled more than any president already, and I bring people together. I put rivals on songs together to create masterpieces.... I'm definitely 100% winning in 2024...." 

From "10 Takeaways From Kanye West's Conversation With Joe Rogan" (Billboard). I tweaked a little of that text to make it more accurate. Here's the video clip (justifying my edit to make it "people were just like: Oh! Their minds were blowninstead of the blander "people's minds were blown")


I'm very interested in this concept that it all comes down to taste — that there are some taste geniuses in the world and you could put them in charge of maybe anything and — with experts to give them "all the information" — they can make the right things happen. They can figure it all out in a way that specialists in that field cannot. 

What if, choosing a President, we, the humble voters, thought Who has the best taste?! Have you ever, even passingly, looked at the array of candidates, at any point in the process, and considered the question in terms of taste? Not your taste. Not: It's reflective of good taste to vote for Barack Obama. Not: It's in bad taste to vote for Donald Trump (yeesh! I'd look awful voting for Trump). But: I don't have all the information and the information is always changing, so I want the person who — given all the information — will make the best choice, and that must be the person with the best taste.

West's idea is something like Trump's. He's taken his initial success and gone on to other fields of enterprise, using his name recognition as a brand, and running on immense confidence in his raw intuition. There's no humility, no fear of failure. 

46 comments:

Annie C. said...

It seems to me that much of the opposition to Trump is all about taste.

"He has a gold toilet for god's sake, he's just not our kind!"

tim maguire said...

Trump haters have certainly considered taste. The gold-gilted halls of Trump’s mansions have been a laugh line for years. There may be something to what Kanye says. If you can’t know everything (and you can’t) then more important than knowledge is the ability to surround yourself with people who have the right knowledge and know how to use them to make the right decisions. I can see that being described as a form of taste.

Big Mike said...

But: I don't have all the information and the information is always changing, so I want the person who — given all the information — will make the best choice, and that must be the person with the best taste.

Not hardly! I want the person who has the best instincts, the person who doesn’t dither, yet knows how long he can hold off on a decision to wait for more data. I want the person whose instincts tell him who is giving him the best information and when someone is concealing something.

David Begley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

Doesn't West's choice of wife say bad things about his taste? Business sense is another matter.

Mr Wibble said...

You know what? At this point I'd take him over many of the professional politicians that we currently have. We've bred a political class which has no ability except to get elected. They can't govern, they can't run their lives outside of politics, all they can do is suck up to voters to get a cushy job and a pension after six years. The bureaucracy is full of people who figured out how to get the proper credentials for a safe government job, but aren't adaptive or creative enough to handle unusual situations. This Kung Flu crap is a perfect example. The institutions that we've spent decades building, the political systems which we've given immense powers have all managed to trip over their own dicks because they are either too risk-averse, too politically short-sighted, or simply too incompetent to make good decisions.



Mark said...

Quite a lot of taste in his song Gold Digger, a song whose stupidity always made it impossible to consider Kanye the genius he thinks he is.

MD Greene said...

Mr Wibble beat me to it.

Kanye sounds like a 12-year-old, but our self-absorbed political class and nomenklatura are so surrounded by and sucked up to by hangers-on that they believe their own bullshit.

I'm not talking high office here. In my town it starts with the school board.


Sternhammer said...

At first this sounded really silly. But it's not weird to think of voting for someone because of their "utility function" or the "priors" or their "preference set." Political theorists and economists talk about that all the time. It is kind of hard to distinguish between those things and "taste." I guess the word "taste" carries the connotation that it's about clothes or food or movies, rather than about higher wages vs lower unemployment, or freedom vs security. But they all ultimately mean "what's the right thing to want."

And whether the right thing to want about a dance beat and about immigration have any relationship is a really interesting question.


AllenS said...

Joseph Robinette Biden has no taste. He does have a sense of smell that he uses to smell females' hair.

Some people will vote for an fool like that, which is so unfortunate.

Sternhammer said...

Those lower drugs prices are adorable!

But that border security, so frumpy.

That kind of is the way it actually works. At least in our current media environment.

wendybar said...

I would vote for him over Joe. At least Kanye knows where he is, and that he would be running against a guy named Donald and not George (as Biden said yesterday, whilst sitting next to Jill, who said Trump under her breath 3 times) Imagine him talking to the Dictators of other countries??? This is pathetic. We are fucked if he wins.

iowan2 said...

I think of taste, in terms of aesthetics. It is, "all things being equal, I choose option 1. Taste is subjective, malleable, situational. Taste is sacrificing utility, for other preferences. I think he must be trying to convey a different concept, and doing a horrible job making his case. It's like he started with a woefully inept analogy, and got stuck in that bad loop.
Not a good look for a true visionary.

Note, that I am not against West, just thinking for a visionary, his communication skills are opposite of his claims.

JAORE said...

We have one unmarried son. He's an adult so his choices are his own. But if he brought home a Kardashian woman.....

Taste? Feh.

Amadeus 48 said...

"There's no humility..."

Trump's competition is Joe Biden, the go-slow, formerly segregationist, formerly middle of the road, formerly law-and-order, wrong about everything in foreign policy, formerly "I'll be right there with you, Clarence", formerly left-wing, formerly right-wing senator from tiny Delaware who was formerly vice president.

What does Trump have to be humble about? He might not win, but at least he is not Joe Biden. He can feel good about that every day.

Bruce Hayden said...

“ Anything I go into — producing, rap, homes, clothing, anything — once I'm given the right information, I apply my taste. And I have the best taste on the planet.”

“West's idea is something like Trump's. He's taken his initial success and gone on to other fields of enterprise, using his name recognition as a brand, and running on immense confidence in his raw intuition. There's no humility, no fear of failure.”

West doesn’t leave room for failure. It’s not just that he lacks humility, but also that he is relentlessly a perfectionist. He has a vision, then works around the clock relentlessly and compulsively to achieve it. He drives everyone around him to achieve this vision of his,band drives himself the hardest.

Ann sounds almost like she believes that all he needed for success was an unbridled ego. Plenty of people in that category. Many will have some success, but few his level of success, and that is because he brings much more to the table. He brings a lot more to the table - genius, drive, and extreme self discipline. In my business, I have known a lot of geniuses, in one area or another. Many, if not most, were dreamers, of a sort, without the drive and self discipline to really have the success that they might have, if they had those traits.

As for Trump, we were watching Law and Order, Criminal Intent, yesterday (my partner loves the Goren character). The episode was maybe a decade and a half or more old. It opens with a NYC party scene where one person confides to another that it was rumored that The Donald was supposed to be there. Everyone who watches the episode knows what is meant there - Trump has built his brand by then to the level that the view around the country was that his presence was the one that made NYC parties epic. He wouldn’t show up otherwise. How arrogant is it that he went as “The Donald”, and many, if not most in this country knew exactly who was being talked about? Trump too is both a genius, esp in self promotion, and is relentless in pursuing his goals. This is a guy who must have taken a number of professional wrestling lessons, when he was involved in promoting the sport, just so that he could use some of their moves on another promoter for publicity. Few Wharton trained businessmen would have risked it, or pulled it off. He knew he could, and did. Again, a relentless genius.

Maybe it is all the cooking shows that we watch (my partner’s first husband was the youngest executive chef at a major hotel in Las Vegas), but the word “taste” doesn’t seem quite right. If West’s genius were primarily visual, I think that we could say that he had a unique “eye” or “vision”. But it has been more aural, so “ear” maybe more accurate. Except that he has an exceptional “eye” too. But after two hours yesterday of blind taste testing the dishes cooked in competition with Bobby Flay, “taste” being another of our senses, doesn’t feel quite right here to me. There really are people out there with ultra refined senses of taste, and there is little evidence that West is one of them. But I think that we all know what he meant, so I am willing to go with his terminology until something better comes along.

daskol said...

It's interesting that he now calls it taste, when he used to call it vision, which is a more conventional way to refer to this intuition driven picture of what the future may look like, ought to look like. Maybe next year he'll call it super scent. I guess he's in a sensuous phase.

tcrosse said...

De gustibus ain't what it used to be.

Lurker21 said...

What if, choosing a President, we, the humble voters, thought Who has the best taste?! Have you ever, even passingly, looked at the array of candidates, at any point in the process, and considered the question in terms of taste?

That gave us JFK. It didn't work so well for Stevenson. Of course, it was all bunk. But there were people who cast their vote on that basis.

n.n said...

A potential tyrant or a prophet of utopia. #PrinciplesMatter

traditionalguy said...

We all recognize the Muses of Greek gods that are said to inspire artists of every kind. Kanye claims he has met his and listens to Him. Naturally we all react in jealousy and ridicule him. But maybe it is the simple Truth.

Big Mike said...

Trump's competition is Joe Biden, the go-slow, formerly segregationist, formerly middle of the road, formerly law-and-order, wrong about everything in foreign policy, formerly "I'll be right there with you, Clarence", formerly left-wing, formerly right-wing senator from tiny Delaware who was formerly vice president.

Nope. Trump’s opponent is the entire Democrat Party, right down to the mayors of cities like Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Madison, snd Kenosha. It includes the entire news media and Big Tech. They all have to lose so Trump can win.

Ray said...

It's not thinking you are always right that makes a tyrant. It's what you do when you are wrong that does.

Rick.T. said...

President Kennedy was in the best of taste and he almost got us incinerated.

Ice Nine said...

I kind of like Kanye, for various reasons. But he is crazy, and his notion that he has good taste is indeed quite daft. Don't agree with me? Take a look at his taste in spouses and then get back to me...

pacwest said...

Fonzie for Prez. The coolest of the cool.

I'm Not Sure said...

"I'm completely confident that I will figure out how to get America out of debt, that I have the ability, once I see everything. I never make the wrong decision when I'm given all the information."

Nobody has all the information and not everybody wants the same thing. So there's that.

Earnest Prole said...

Narcissism: Black is the new orange.

rcocean said...

Rap is in good taste? Whatever. The history of music has been Blacks pioneering new sounds for the last 100 years, and whites following and expanding on that. Rap, however, has been a bridge too far for most whites, and it seems to be a dead end. What new form can Pop music take? It seems to have hit a dead end.

Joe Smith said...

I'd like him to build and furnish my house, but I don't want to live in a world where Jeff Lewis is president...

Paul Snively said...

Kanye is essentially using "taste" the way many of us would use "intuition" or even "class." "Give us all the information, which will be conflicting and complex, and our intuition will lead to the best outcome for the most people," or "our class will guide us to the best outcome."

The risk I see is that the formulation is still literally authoritarian, and even totalitarian. I will judge what's best, and taste is not constrained to questions of public policy. This is the mentality that bans certain kinds of music, that bans Big Gulp sodas, that bans "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" from school libraries, that bans church services even with masks and 6' distancing.

For your own good. Of course.

Christy said...

Stepping on Taylor Swift's special moment may have shown his superior musical taste, but the act of doing so was tasteless in the extreme. That said, the man works his tail off to produce something of value. I respect that.

The current politician with the most exquisite taste is Pelosi, thus disproving West's claim.

Ralph L said...

President Kennedy was in the best of taste

That was all Jackie. Jack was Marilyn in and out of skin-tight, skin-colored dress she had to be sown into.

Ralph L said...
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Markoni said...

This is another example of what the manic phase of Bipolar 1 looks like.
I know, I've been there.

MikeM said...

I am told that in centuries past tours of "insane asylums" were given so that the general public, for a fee, could enjoy the bizarre sights and sounds of the inmates. Now, thanks to Joe Rogan we, the public, no longer have to pay for such entertainment; especially important now that movies and Broadway shows are shut down.

Rosalyn C. said...

I listened to a lot of that interview. The only thing that was troublesome was when Rogan asked West why he thought he needed to be medicated when he had his breakdown. And West didn't actually answer that, so he's not a complete fool or actually crazy. Otherwise he had interesting things to say about the institutional racism of liberal white elites who assume that only Blacks would vote for Kanye for President, the politics of the corporate boardroom and Black membership, building a different model of education which includes a whole life approach for children where they learn things like how to grow food, etc. He thinks big.

I can imagine that some time in the future when his children are grown Kanye might become a serious candidate for president. Kim Kardashian West would be First Lady? What will she look like in twenty years? That's assuming they are still married by then, which I doubt.

Tru said...

All I heard was lithium language ...

DrSquid said...

So Kanye is manic. Who knew?

DrSquid said...

So Kanye is manic. Who knew?

Sebastian said...

"I'm very interested in this concept that it all comes down to taste — that there are some taste geniuses in the world and you could put them in charge of maybe anything and — with experts to give them "all the information" — they can make the right things happen. They can figure it all out in a way that specialists in that field cannot."

It's true. Since I know I have the best taste, I can make the right things happen. Forget the experts.

What, you don't believe me? Off with your heads, tasteless deplorables. As I said, I make the right things happen. A few heads here and there--a matter of taste, my genius taste.

By the way, people who think "it all comes down to taste" are so . . . so reductionist, as if there is no skill involved in applying taste, no sense. I find that sacrifice of rationality in bad taste, convenient for people disinclined to give sound reasons in politics, but nonetheless distasteful. That notion won't survive long after I'm done applying my superior taste for rationality.

D'Annunzio has nothing on me.

Leora said...

Trump really did build the best luxury buildings.

JAORE said...

No one has all the information. No one could assimilate and sort all the information if they had it.

The most successful can determine (more often or not) the key factors and (more often than not) use that information to make a choice with a good chance of attaining the original goal.

Unknown said...

he means

Sabor

ken in tx said...

Whistle the tune to a Rap recording. If you can't whistle it, it an't music.
Some Rap may be quite witty, it is still just doggerel poetry. Not music.

traditionalguy said...

Note that Kanye is accepting his special gifts in surprise he has them but with courage enough to use them.

This explains his passion for saving unborn men and women whom he also believes have their special gifts.And these gifts are not based on race other than the human race created by the Giver of all good things. And Kanye has had his share of them.