As the family gathers around the table this year, talk will veer into all the usual territories: what Aunt Meg is doing for a job, how much everyone misses Buster the dog, the price of gas. But then, inevitably, some niece or other will mention the popular cultural topic that, sadly, you are ill-equipped to discuss: Kanye West.
The paralysis is immediate to you, who deplore all “controversy” surrounding this “artist,” whose “attitude” you can’t stand. You could try to steer the conversation into friendlier musical territory (isn’t that Macklemore great?). But let’s face it: you don’t get this Kanye asshole, and you never will.
Never fear! Here’s your easy, five-point guide to talking about Kanye West during the holidays.
1. Question: “Have you guys seen the ‘Bound 2’ video”? Explanation: This refers to a new video showing Kanye and his wife Kim Kardashian simulating sex while riding a motorcycle though a Thomas Kincade backdrop. It’s alternately chintzy and artistic, and you could reference Jeff Koons here, but that’s too esoteric. Answer: “Yeah, messed up! And why did they airbrush out Kim Kardashian’s nipples? It’s not like she has a problem being naked and having sex on camera.” Zing!
2. Question: “Did you see Seth Rogen and James Franco’s spoof?” Explanation: This refers to a remake of the video with two popular comedic actors; they emulate the sex scenes and make out with each other. Showing you’re merely aware of it isn’t enough. Go for the gold. Answer: “Yeah, and did you see Kim tweeted that Kanye loved it? I thought he was going to go on another tirade!” There you go!
3. Question: “What did you think of Yeezus?” Explanation: This is Kanye West’s latest album, which is experimental, noisy and divisive. You can say you really need to listen to it more to make up your mind, and this is safe and understandable. But to show your prowess, remark on at least one song. Answer: “I like his old songs with that slowed-down soul sample element, so ‘Bound’ is my favorite.” You’re a champion!
4. Question: “But isn’t he such a jerk?” Explanation: Ooooh, the gauntlet is thrown! But you can do this. Say you’ve thought long and hard about his interviews, and his beef with Jimmy Kimmel—a popular late-night host—and his onstage “rants.” And then play it safe. Answer: “I think he’s misunderstood, and trying too hard. Why would anyone want to break into the stupid fashion world anyway?” Hooray!
5. If your interrogator starts getting too specific and remarks on something you can’t possibly fake knowledge of, simply get up, go to the computer and watch the Seth Rogen video together, and laugh. There’ll be a suggested video in the sidebar of Tom Brady yelling at referees on the football field—this is your savior! Click on it, call over Uncle Mitch and let the holiday talk resume to the tried and true. All is well again!