What is really timeless? ft. Kanye West’s tweets

Remember the 80s/90s/00s/10s? We were/looked/said so stupid! That’s because the “now” becomes the past after a while, and that shit (time) is scary. I don’t want that, I want to be timeless! And stop viewing the past as older times and start treating it like it’s a couple of events de-attached from time. I want everything I say to be understandable regardless which year it is. And how do you do that?

By removing all references!

I can illustrate this by showing some tweets by the artist, producer and fashion designer Kanye West:

Timelessness level 0.1

•  “SouljaBoy on point, drums sound proper” (2007)
•  “MJ’s new album is going to be the record of 2008, bet that” (2007)
•  “Homecoming on MTV all this week” (2008)
•  “Does Spotify work in the U.S.?” (2010)
•  “Together, we can turn the tide and make music history. Start by turning your profile picture blue. #TIDALforALL (2015)

How much do these tweets matter today? When SouljaBoy isn’t hyped anymore, MJ (Michael Jackson) is dead, MTV is getting older and older and Spotify obviously works almost everywhere? They may be nostalgic or fun because we know the references, but wait 20 more years and the tweets will be outdated.

So, let’s check out some Kanye West tweets where he has removed the temporary references:

Timelessness level 0.5

•  “Life is 2 short man. Turn off the TV and get to work. Work on what you love. Live your dreams and hustle like no other. Most of all, enjoy.” (2008)
•  “I hate stickers on laptops” (2010)
•  “I don’t own own a phone so no tweets in the club… lap tops are hard to dance with hahahahaaha” (2010)
•  “I don’t want to see any movie that doesn’t have mind blowing special effects… #EVERAGAIN (2011)

These cover more broad subjects and mean kind of the same to us today as they did ten years ago. But laptops, phones, movies and TV haven’t always existed, and in 50 years they may be gone or have completely different purposes in our lives. So with time, these tweets will unfortunately also lose their relevance!

Let’s see if Kanye can remove the semi-temporary references too:

Timelessless level 1

•  “We need scientist and top world designers to directly affect governments.” (2011)
•  I haven’t done enough research on conservatives to call myself or be called one. I’m just refusing to be enslaved by monolithic thought.
•  “Boyfriends are like rush hour traffic… ALWAYS IN THE FUCKING WAY!” (2011)

Did we talk about science, designers, conservatives and traffic 50 years ago? Yes, and some of them way before that! These are timeless tweets. They can be passed on to generation after generation without losing their meaning. But Kanye hasn’t reached peak timelessness yet:

Timelessness level 1000000

•  “Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!” (2008)
•  “People ar so scared of pain hurt and embarrassment that no one takes risk anymore … I’ve made so many mistakes that made me better today” (2010)
•  “I hate small talk.” (2011)
•  “Please: Do everything you possibly can in one lifetime.” (2015)

Now we’re at level 1000000 of timelessness!! Life, death, love, friendship, family, feelings, thoughts, ideas and dreams have always been hot topics that we probably talked about as soon as we could talk at all. One of the world’s oldest texts, Instructions of Shuruppag (ca 2500 BC), deals with similar broad and general subjects. It also deals with the practicalities of handling slaves, but apart from that it’s still pretty understandable:

Timelessness level 89832482572871897198247182

•  “You should not travel during the night: it can hide both good and evil.”
• 
“A loving heart maintains a family; a hateful heart destroys a family.”
•  “You should not speak improperly; later it will lay a trap for you.”

The language is old-fashioned, but how different is the message from other things people say today? Not very! These 4500 years old quotes are probably more relevant than most tweets from 2010.

Kanye West has made lots of timeless art, which I briefly mentioned when I talked about his album “Yeezus” here. He wanted Yeezus to lack all references to current music trends, which means he didn’t put any dubstep in it even if you had to by law in 2013. This made Yeezus a timeless album. But when he says “Damn, your lips very soft, As I turn my Blackberry off, And I turn your bathwater on, And you turn off your iPhone” in the song “I’m In It” it shaves some edge off the timelessness, because these are really fresh references. People will forget about Blackberry’s and (maybe) iPhone’s in 100 years, but Kanye’s music and a lot of his philosophical tweets will stand the test of time.

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