After nearly two decades of creating the most inventive, catchy and groundbreaking music in the history of organized sound, hip-hop god Kanye West managed to alienate almost all of his left-leaning fanbase yesterday by repeatedly tweeting about his fondness for President Donald Trump and other conservative figures.
He even had the audacity to come at former President Barack Obama. (In Kanye’s defense Barack once called him a “jackass,” which is tough but fair.)
But amid all his inflammatory Trump fandom, Kanye also managed to incur the wrath of Extremely Defensive Microsoft Excel Stan Twitter, a subset of users who absolutely love the spreadsheet software and won’t entertain any criticisms about it.
As with many of Kanye’s tweets, It’s unclear what exactly he meant here. Some options:
- Is Kanye suggesting that Excel is a waste of time?
- That money is nothing but a construct?
- That we need to rid ourselves of the yoke of labor, and pursue our artistic dreams?
And as one of my friends who works in professional services points out, Kanye’s tweets also raise the question: “How do you burn something that’s digital?”
The metaphor was apparently lost on my aggressively left-brained finance friend, but his frustration with the artist’s anti-Excel sentiments is shared by everyone who works in a financial or analytics role, or any gig that involves serious number crunching, and thus, hours formulating pivot tables on Excel.
And so, they poured into Kanye’s mentions to defend their beloved software.
For anyone who doesn’t regularly use Excel, or who has nightmares about trying to create formulas in the esoteric software program, attachment to it seems mystifying at best, and a sign of low-level sociopathy at worst.
But for many professionals, in jobs such as accountant, financial analyst, sales manager or market researcher, Excel more or less is their job. Their days revolve around creating formulas, inputting data points and deriving insights from the various Excel spreadsheets they manage. I have personally witnessed full grown, professional men spend about an hour expressing their love for Excel to each other while on a bachelor party.
“[Analysts] sit in front of multiple computer monitors all day, every day, and Excel is up on at least one of those screens literally the entire time,” explains my friend Kevin, a corporate real estate professional. “It’s an amazing program that has limitless possibilities, and it’s ingrained in our minds.”
“[Excel] is my lifeblood,” adds Sheree Shelton, accountant at MEL funder Dollar Shave Club. “I’d literally starve without it as I have no other skills outside of out counting beans.”
Their jobs would be infinitely more difficult without Excel, so their affection for it is understandable, despite being nerdy as shit.
One of the most Excel’s most vocal online defenders is Wu-Tang Financial, an account that tweets about the natural intersection of finance and hip-hop culture. They were incensed:
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s social media team quickly jumped on the opportunity to turn Kanye’s tweet into a marketing opportunity:
And blockchain enthusiasts used Kanye’s tweet to promote cryptocurrency and decentralized banking.
There has been no shortage of hand-wringing throughout the past 24 hours about whether Kanye’s tweets are a genuine pledge of support for the controversial Trump administration, or a galaxy brain-level troll job by the world’s greatest provocateur. We have yet to arrive at answer.
But we have learned that hell hath no fury like a bean-counter scorned.