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Guest Column:

Kanye West, come live with us

September 24, 2009|By Kristen Hansen Brakeman

After witnessing hip hop star Kanye West’s inexcusably rude treatment of Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards this month, it became clear to me that this man needs some help. Not psychological help, no, what he needs is a refresher course in basic manners and polite behavior — the stuff we parents teach our children about the time they enter kindergarten.

I talked it over with my husband and we’ve decided to offer up our parental services to Mr. West to help him re-learn some of the basics. We will do this as a public service, both to future award show nominees and to young people who might be influenced by his outlandish behavior.

Now, I realize that Kanye tragically lost his mother only two years ago and at first I sympathized that his outburst the other night might have stemmed from this. But then I remembered that the many other instances of his boorish behavior pre-date her loss: the grousing backstage at the 2007 VMA’s when he didn’t win, the storming out of the 2004 AMA’s over his loss to Gretchen Wilson, and his other leap to the stage to protest Justice and Simian’s victory at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Clearly Kanye is still a work in progress, and my husband and I would be happy to step in and give him a much-needed dose of parenting.

Somewhere, somehow, Kanye lost sight of these fundamental childhood rules: listen quietly while others are speaking, don’t take what isn’t yours, and be both a good loser and a good winner. Our 5-year old daughter, Peyton, is in the process of learning these basic rules and we could easily extend our instruction to Mr. West.

Why just yesterday, young Peyton ran around the house yelling, “I got the last cookie! I got the last cookie!” We gave her a stern lecture on the evils of bragging, how it makes other people feel bad and how it might make other kids in the music business, oops, I mean kindergarten, not want to play with her.

Also, we’ve had a lot of conversations about winning and losing because Peyton has taken a keen interest in Candyland as of late. Kanye might benefit from some of these talks. We have instructed Peyton that it is definitely not OK to yell and scream and storm out of the room when Mommy lands on the final purple square. Also, she can’t claim that the game does not have validity whenever she doesn’t win.

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