Date: July 12

The incentive for the TMZ cameramen to be decent people is just not there. Unfortunately, events such as a Kanye outburst are exactly what they aim to provoke, which can most effectively be achieved by relentless, cringeworthy prodding. In this case, the reporter intercepts Kanye, then begins to spew the contrived “Yo what’s up Yeezus, I’m a big fan, bro. I love your work”-type language (said in the strange, characteristically phony way of L.A. paparazzi).

Let’s be real, if the “reporter” was a real fan, he would have produced an array of French pastries in anticipation of the god’s arrival.

Ye, having none of it (and seeing no French pastries in the immediate vicinity), says at first, “I appreciate that, but don’t talk.” It’s a reasonable request, but then Kanye goes on to ask a little more of his new friend: “I don’t want to hear paparazzi talk to me… And don’t talk to anyone I know. And tell everybody, never talk… to anyone…that anyone knows. Don’t talk to themselves. Don’t talk ever again.”

Perhaps Kanye just wanted the reporter to participate in his newly adopted minimalist aesthetic. Unfortunately, it would be hard for the reporter to “tell everybody” to “not talk” if he himself is not allowed to say anything. Ye even made a rule against talking “to themselves,” which will prove extremely challenging for any schizophrenic members of the paparazzi. In any case, Kanye seemed to have made his message loud and clear, as is his wont.

Though the reporter responds “I feel that” to all of what Kanye says to him, he doesn’t exactly take a vow of silence. He continues to pursue Kanye, asking about “The Throne 2.” Then, naturally, cue the part where the celebrity walks up to the camera and the image gets shaky before it cuts out completely.

What is perhaps most interesting is the way that TMZ framed the situation. Rather than say, "Hey, maybe Kanye has a point, maybe we shouldleave people alone when they don’t want to be bothered," they painted their reporter as a victimized fan, an innocent subjected to the wrath of someone who thinks he’s “bigger than the Constitution.” (They should have said, "The Magna Carta.")

It's funny, too. Wasn't Kanye just talking about, "So go and grab the reporters/So I can smash their recorders" on "New Slaves?" Life immitates art, as usual. —Alexander Gleckman

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