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Right Belief, Right Intentions,
Right Speech, Right Actions,
Right Livelihood, Right Endeavoring,
Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

Buddhist Eightfold Path


Dear Kanye West,

What do I know about you? Not much. I know what you look like. I saw a confusing musical interpretation of your tweets on Jimmy Kimmel, but I have not read any of your actual tweets. All I really know about you is one song, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”

I’m not sure I understand the song. You seem angry. I mean, even I know that you’re angry. In this song you are mad at yourself, because you make bad decisions and act against your own best interest. You speak of your mama. When a grown man speaks of his mama it makes me feel warm inside, and also a little uncomfortable. You imply that a person who has lots of money can say and do anything he wants. Maybe the opposite is true. Because I have seen homeless people in the street in New York speaking and acting with complete abandon.

It’s true, though, that you do stupid things, which you humbly allude to in the song. You got a lot of shit for ripping the statuette out of Taylor Swift’s delicate hands. That was funny and rude and yes, it was stupid. But those music award shows are such a joke, it hardly matters.

Money is good for you.
Money is bad for you.

What do we have in common?
I like to say “aight” (a’ite). Based on my age and my general circumstances, I have no business using this word. But I do it anyway, because it feels good.

How are we different?
I do not compare myself to a pharaoh, not ever, and I can’t imagine being in a place in this century, in my current incarnation, where I would have anything in common with a pharaoh.

Why do I love “Can’t Tell Me Nothing?”
Because it matches up to one, precise feeling I have about myself and my life, one distinct shade of anger and bravado—a slice of youthful, plucky courage. Your song helps get me across my personal finish line on days when I remember to play it. Although, I have to be honest, I overdid it with this song, so it’s lying very flat for me right now. That’s not your fault, Kanye.

You brag. Sure you do. That’s your job. I brag, too, but only to my husband and usually when he isn’t listening.

Anyway, who is that saying “hooh-hah” during the chorus? Is that a famous friend? Is it Jay-Z? Do you have to pay him when you use wordless, breathy expletives on your tracks? Did he trademark that? If he didn’t, he should have.