tl;dr: The Kanye West & Jimmy Kimmel feud; has trolling become mainstream?
I don’t know much about Jimmy Kimmel, but I do know alot about trolls.
That word has a different meaning to me, back when I used to muck around in the less savory bits of the internet. More recently, it has grown to mean creating deliberately provocative messages with the sole purpose of creating disruption, arguments, or fooling someone. Troll are self-serving, and their antics are short-sighted and often purely recreational; they are, in many ways, a fundamental feature of the internet as I understand it.
That said, to people who are not from the internet, trolling is a very new, and very confusing thing, especially when outside of context, i.e. on TV.
As I’ve said earlier, I know next to nothing about Jimmy Kimmel, except that he runs a relatively popular talkshow called “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” However, he recently garnered quite a bit of the internet’s attention through a twerking hoax video that went surprisingly viral. Here’s it in convenient gif format:
After getting nearly 9 million hits a day, it was finally revealed that it was an elaborate set-up, as proven here:
You can read the whole story as it developed on Storify right over here. I’ll admit, it’s rather well played, and it’s not even his first YouTube stunt. Virality is a difficult thing to encourage, especially when it’s faked, and I applaud his understanding of the medium.
That said, recently after this whole affair, Jimmy Kimmel got into an adorable feud with Kanye West. It kicked off after a particularly hilarious Kanye interview led to a mocking tribute on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where parts of the interview were faithfully recreated by children. Kanye west was not thrilled by this, and started a loud twitter feud, which includes some of the following gems:
JIMMY KIMMEL IS OUT OF LINE TO TRY AND SPOOF IN ANY WAY THE FIRST PIECE OF HONEST MEDIA IN YEARS
JIMMY KIMMEL PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES … OH NO THAT MEANS YOU WOULD HAVE GOTTEN TOO MUCH GOOD PUSSY IN YOUR LIFE…
SHOULD I DO A SPOOF ABOUT YOUR FACE OR YOU FUCKING BEN AFFLECK…#NODISRESPECTTOBENAFFLECK #ALLDISRESPECTTOJIMMYKIMMEL!!!!
I LIKE YOU, YOU KNOW ME, I WENT TO YOUR FAMILY’S WEDDING
WHO YOU MADE IT CLEAR TO ME WASN’T YOUR FAMILY WHEN I WAS ON THEN PHONE WITH YOU 5 MINUTES AGO, YOU MANIPULATIVE MEDIA MUTHERFUCKER.
Naturally, the internet was thrilled by this:
Which he of course responded to in turn, yet escalating his ‘first rap beef’, and so on and so forth. Apparently this ‘rap beef’ has been resolved by Kanye West coming onto the Jimmy Kimmel show, and much of the original footage has been made private, including the child interview and the Kimmel response to Twitter:
The internet has a short attention span, and most people have already probably forgetting about this little debacle, but to me, I still get the slightest suspicion that this was all one big attention ploy. Kanye West’s twitter has ~10,000,000 followers, and while I’ll admit that is largely a function of his persona and his musical talent, it is clearly a significantly valuable asset, and I doubt it is being managed exclusively by Kanye himself.
I’m not saying that this ‘feud’ isn’t authentic, just that with this much money and attention involved, and Kimmel’s penchant for ‘trolling’, that perhaps there was more to this little debacle than was immediately obvious.
Perhaps these two are in on a joke that the audience is not, and are having their own kind of laugh.