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Pop culture overpowers society’s real issues

Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, sandbox edition

Slowly, but surely, I’m catching up. I feel like I’ve been doing everything at 50% lately and even though I’m all for putting in as little effort as possible, that’s just unacceptable… I at least have to step it up to 75% effort.

Like I said, I have to catch you all up on my columns. Strangely, I haven’t even posted those up yet. I guess I’m just that lazy. Or maybe it’s because I spend my time doing this:

Spending time at the Kernel is about the only place I put in serious effort. (I'm the dark guy next to the lighter girl on the computer) And that takes a ton of time for so many reasons 😦

But now’s not the time to whine. You don’t care about that, right?

So here’s the column. I wrote it right after Kanye did his VMA thing, but I think the point of the column generally applies to life. So far this year, I think that column has been written three times, other than by myself… and I’ve written it twice before. LOL

Just read:

Pop culture overpowers society’s real issues

Column by Wesley Robinson

It’s not often an event in pop culture has as much effect as we have seen the past few days. Yet since Sunday, ringing from the villages of Facebook and the hamlets of Twitter was the news of Kanye West’s blatant disrespect of Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Just in case you missed it, as Swift accepted the award for Best Female Video, Kanye took it upon himself to pop up and interrupt her victory speech to say that Beyonce had “one of the greatest videos of all time.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Kanye’s actions have been the driving commentary from “The View,” to a conversation with President Obama. Tuesday on “The View,” the panel discussed the event and revealed that Kanye, even after claiming contrition for the event, he has yet to reach out to Swift. When asked about the situation in an off-the-record portion of an interview with CNBC, President Obama said that Kanye was a “jackass” for his actions. The audio was subsequently recorded by an ABC news employee and has been the subject of its own controversy.

Entertainment is something everybody needs in one way or another and without belittling anybody’s tastes, I understand why this was a big deal. Both artists are two of the biggest stars not only in their genre, but in popular music. Not to mention West’s actions, while totally in character, were unprecedented in scope and were genuinely conversation worthy, just not to the magnitude that they have been.

I am really happy for you Kanye, but this is the most insignificant moment of all time. He should have just kept his mouth shut, or used his platform to talk about something of greater importance because in the end, Taylor Swift beat Beyonce in a sub-category. Beyonce went on to win the award for overall video of the year, and Kanye’s comments were wasted on a video that wasn’t even that creative on an awards show that really doesn’t matter. There’s no way to do this, but I’d bet that had this incident not occurred, more than likely this year’s VMA probably would have missed most everybody’s radar. I mean really, how irrelevant is a video music award show on a network that you have to go to their 76th channel to see videos, other than during the credits at the end each program.

Tuesday’s Kernel brought the reprint of an editorial written by David Hawpe. In the editorial, Hawpe questioned the value of a victory over a top-ranked Mississippi team after such turmoil as segregation, NCAA sanctions and players quitting the team because “total football” was the rule of the program. That idea of “total football” ultimately led to the firing of coach Charlie Bradshaw, leader of the football intensive movement, but it wasn’t until the controversy and shame had been brought to the university that he was fired.

While this situation is totally different in circumstance, the instances have the same elements of misplaced focuses that Hawpe discussed. People are putting way too much stock into casual, pleasurable events in life and not focusing on serious issues that have more bearing on day-to-day actions. People can tell you more about the death of Michael Jackson, UK football or the Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle than they can tell you about the healthcare debate, the university budget crisis or anything else of importance.

By no means am I saying everyone’s ideals and interests should align with those of my own persuasion, but there is something wrong when a controversial award show trumps major issues. I like to be entertained, I love sports, but I also recognize that there has to be a balance between enjoyment and reality. I would love nothing more than to listen to and blog about music all day and with all 900 ESPN and Fox Sports Channels going at the same time. But none of those things would pay my bills, enrich me as a person or give me anything more than fleeting entertainment until my next fix.

Not everybody can or should spend their time focused on life’s tough questions and difficult problems but what’s worth more: to follow the lives of others, or to lead a life of your own?

Wesley Robinson is a Spanish senior. E-mail wrobinson@kykernel.com.

OK maybe it doesn’t still have the same effect months later, but I have to try ;).

Read the Kernel Regularly!


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