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Breaking down Dr. Kanye West's speech at SAIC

Written by
Chris Bourg

Most colleges and universities invite distinguished alumni, important public figures and other luminaries to speak to graduating students at their graduation ceremony. The School at the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), however, invited Kanye West.

Kanye, who can be referred to as "Dr. West" from here on out, was presented with an honorary doctorate from SAIC and asked to impart some words of wisdom to the future artists of America before they embark on their journey into the real world. He did so in the most excruciating, awkward way possible, complete with long pauses and incoherent changes in subject matter. Let's delve into some of Dr. West's keen insights.

"I am a pop artist, so my medium is public opinion, and the world is my canvas."

Far be it from me to correct you, Dr. West, but public opinion isn't a medium. A medium is the means on which a messaged is delivered or conveyed, like this website or radio communication. Public opinion is the message that you convey over that medium. Nice start, though.

"I'm sorry is something that you can use a lot. It gives you opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give your opinion again. People say you should not be sorry for your opinions."

In other words, Dr. West is telling us that saying "I'm sorry" is a free ticket to spout off your horrible opinions without backing down from them, no matter how moronic they are or how many people you hurt as a result of saying them. I'm sure Taylor Swift and Beyoncé agree with that sentiment. And way to contradict yourself at the end.

"George Bush..."

Oh boy. I'm sure this will end well, just like the last time he invoked the former president's name in front of a group of people.

"...has some very cool self portraits. I didn't know he was an artist."

That's all he says about George Bush before jumping into the next random topic. What the hell does that even mean? How does this random musing benefit these graduating art students trying to navigate through the confusing realities of post-graduate life?

"I felt my nerves a bit, and I don't feel that feeling a lot. The nerves of humility and modesty, when being honored. A humanization, a reality of being recognized. And all I thought as I sit here shaking a little bit is, I need to get rid of that feeling."

We would never have guessed that Dr. West doesn't feel the "nerves" of humility and modesty, based on his obnoxious and narcissistic public behavior.

"This honor is going to make your lives easier. Two reasons: You don't have to defend me as much, and I'm going to make all of our lives easier."

This line totally isn't narcissistic or self-serving. We applaud you for your selflessness here, Dr. West. 

"And it's these Floyd Mayweather belts that are needed to prove what I've been saying my entire life."

What? Like his title belts? 

"Whether it's the cosign of Paul McCartney grabbing me and saying, 'It's OK, he doesn't bite white people.'"

I don't think Dr. Kanye knows what the word "cosign" means. And what does this have to do with anything? Remember, he's still addressing a crowd of art school graduates.

"Or the New York Times cover, or the Time Most Influential cover. And now a doctorate at the Art Institute of Chicago."

By this point in the speech, the SAIC was perhaps regretting giving Dr. West that doctorate.

"When I was giving a lecture at Oxford, I brought up this school because when I went on that mission to create in other spaces... It would have been easier if I could have said, 'I have a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago.'"

Now you can go back there and give the same rambling, nonsensical lecture with the qualification that you have not just a degree, but an honorary doctorate from SAIC!

"Thank you."

No, Dr. West, thank you, for finally bringing this speech to a close.

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