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What would Kanye do?

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Kanye West is an open book. He’s never been afraid to share how he feels on any given subject in his music, interviews or on his infamous Twitter account. Critics usually question his dignity rather than his earnestness. Because Kanye is so incredibly polarizing, he makes for great conversation and thought experiments. Theoretically, if St. Olaf were able to hire Kanye for an open Q&A session with students, what type of questions would arise? He does hundreds of interviews each year, so each one would need to be creative and original to elicit a worthwhile response.

I would personally be curious about what his relationship with David Bowie was like and how he feels about the conspiracy rumors that are beginning to circulate around the web. The conspiracy theory, originating on Reddit, essentially states that Kanye is here to replace Bowie. The main piece of evidence is that on the cover of Bowie’s famous album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,” Bowie is found standing on the street under a sign saying “K. West.” The opening song on this album is titled “Five Years” and states that either the world will end or a savior will come in five years. Five years and two days after the album is released, Kanye is born.

Others have taken the theory further and a massive amount of parallel beliefs can be found online. It’s likely that Kanye himself hasn’t even heard about this theory yet, but it has the potential to soon join the pantheon of music industry conspiracies: Paul McCartney died during the early years of The Beatles; Courtney Love murdered Kurt Cobain; Tupac and Elvis are still roaming the streets today. At the very least, we would hear Kanye speak briefly about the great David Bowie.

However, a question about a conspiracy theory is probably way too heavy-handed for an open Q&A session at a small college. Instead, perhaps it would be interesting to see which animated character Kanye would compare himself to. Since he publicly dislikes reading books, I assume that Kanye is well-versed in cartoons.

There’s a decent chance that he would respond with a cliché character along the lines of Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, or Bugs Bunny, as I’m sure Kanye is the lovable hero of his own world. But, there’s a chance we would get a creative answer such as Wile E. Coyote or Stu Pickles. Wile E. because he is always acting on instinct, trying to tackle more than he can handle, and it’s not entirely clear where he falls on the hero/villain spectrum. Stu Pickles would align with Kanye’s current “family man” phase and Stu, an inventor, would also correspond to Kanye’s self-asserted creative genius.

When it comes down to it, asking Kanye West any question holds the potential to be marvelous, so there is a good chance I would just sit back and see what the rest of St. Olaf offers up.

ronningb@stolaf.edu