Paul McCartney & Kanye West. Where My Generation Is Getting It Wrong.Posted: January 7, 2015
It seems that one internet explosion leads to another. Wasn’t it Issac Newton who said that? I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant, if he didn’t just say it outright.
Last week, the net blew up with the news that Kanye West and Paul McCartney had recorded a song together. Then came the word that some Kanye West fans had communicated the idea that they had no idea that McCartney existed before he recorded with West. And then it started – a Mount St. Helens level eruption by the over fifty set (or the section of the over fifty set that knows how to use “The Twitter”) excoriating the younger generation for not knowing exactly who that talented guy performing with Kim Kardashian’s current husband was.
And you know what? They’re right to do that, to a point.
How Is It Possible To Not Know?
It isn’t reasonable to expect one generation to have a firm grasp on the scope and history of their predecessors’ popular music. But it is reasonable for them to have some knowledge of the musical icons of earlier eras. I wasn’t alive when Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman were at the peaks of their popularity. But I’m well aware of the contributions they made to the arts.
The Beatles were a huge influence on music and culture around the world. Knowing a little about them and who Paul McCartney is should be a given. It isn’t a matter of liking or disliking his music; McCartney is a historical figure.
Apparently it isn’t a given. That’s a shame. But those of us who remember the Beatles are not placing all the responsibility for this whole kerfuffle where it belongs.
The Sins Of A Few
First off, we’re not talking about an entire generation here. My guess is that if you sampled a college campus you’d find a significant number of students who could tell you who Paul McCartney is. But in today’s society, we indict vast groups of people based on the behavior of a few individuals. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve done it to police officers, black people and now those under a certain age.We’ve been wrong every time we’ve done it.
My generation tears into a younger one for failing to honor one of our icons. In the process, we tear down an icon of theirs – Kanye West. Not cool.
You see, just as it is important for our icons to be respected, it is important for us to respect the icons of others – yes, even the generations that follow ours. It isn’t about liking the music; what little I’ve heard of Kanye West’s music was horrific. But somewhere, there is a nineteen-year-old who both loves Mr. West’s music and knows who Paul McCartney is.
At this point in this piece, I’ve taken to task:
- Younger people who don’t know who Paul McCartney is.
- Kanye West, for producing horrible music.
- Members of my generation who’ve ripped an entire age cohort based on the ignorance of a few.
That leaves one person in this whole mess who seems to have avoided scrutiny – Sir Paul McCartney.
Just Say No, Paul
Let’s face it, the man has enough cash on hand to keep the power company from turning the lights off in his house. He’s got a legacy of great music that stretches back to the ’60’s. With that legacy comes respect, adoration even. My God, the man is a Knight. A Knight!
The question that folks my age are refusing to ask themselves is “why?”. Why would a man such as this even consider soiling his reputation by associating himself with a Kanye West recording?
It is a shame that some didn’t know who he was before he recorded with a rapper.
Isn’t it just as much a shame when someone we’ve all put on a pedestal kicks the pedestal out from under himself? I’m pretty sure Issac Newton said that. Maybe he planned to, but died first.