Hashing Out at Kanye II: The Instigation

October 22nd, 2009 |


Journalist. Rogue cynic. Type Atypical personality. Don't hate - that's MY job. Follow my musings on Twitter @laurenthedark

What does Kanye West have in common with author Dan Brown?

Although both love seeing their names printed in italics and are obsessed with ancient artifacts (in Kanye’s case, his reputation), both have a link to the theoretical subfield of noetic science. Dan Brown’s latest novel, “The Lost Symbol,” delves into this discipline which studies vast quantities of information that can, when dissected, support the existence of a collective consciousness. This theory is the basis for outings like We Feel Fine, Global Consciousness Project, and the Web Bot Project, which crawl the internet looking for recurring keywords, phrases, and data that can reportedly detect the underlying “mood” of the masses.

What does this have to do with Kanye? On Wednesday, Kanye fell victim to the noetic field yet again after being beset with the hottest hashtag, #RIPKanyeWest, on Twitter.

According to reports, the rumor began as a comical response to his appearance in the Spike Jonze directed short, “We Were Once a Fairytale,” that was abruptly removed from his website. Later, false reports of his death in a car crash surfaced after the rumor made its way down the invisible telephone line. Twitter users took the convoluted story and, happily, ran with it. Many news outlets picked up on the tweets immediately, despite being less interested in the previous #TakeKanyeInstead hashtag that began trending in the wake of the VMA incident and immediately following the death of actor Patrick Swayze. The boldness of the tag without the joking nature of the previous Kanye-related topics seemed to pique the immediate interest of mainstream media, along with the fact that the topic remained the top trending topic all day, unlike other celebrity death hoaxes that faded out after being debunked.

The ongoing cyber hostility against Kanye may be tapping into the collective consciousness of former fans or haters in general, but the “jokes” may come to be no laughing matter in the future. The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act may one day prevent trending topics such as this from taking off, deeming the tongue-in-cheek death wish as actual harassment. It does seem that there is rampant hostility against the performer, echoed time and time again in the form of popular Twitter hashtags and trending topics on other social media hubs that were created, not to lampoon his persona, but to either wish or outright announce his demise.

However, as with social media, noetics, and the law in general, nothing is certain. Do we want him “gone” so to speak, or are we just joking around? Since there is not yet a collective answer to that question, the trends and tweets regarding Kanye will continue periodically, indefinitely.

Imma let you finish.

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Lauren Cannon