No 3,937 4:44

The Guardian - G2 - - Shortcuts -

Length: 3:54.

Age: Three months, one week.

I’m con­fused. What are we talk­ing about? It’s a piece of mu­sic.

Is it that one where no one plays their in­stru­ments? That’s 4’33” by John Cage. This is 4:44, a song by Jay-z, so-called be­cause that’s what time he woke up and started writ­ing it. It’s the first track on an al­bum of the same name that he re­leased in June.

I see. Any good? Yes. Pretty good. It’s been an in­spi­ra­tion to his pal Har­vey We­in­stein.

Isn’t he that fa­mous movie mogul and a cham­pion of lib­eral causes? Not any more. A re­port in the New York Times al­leged last week that We­in­stein has been sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing young women for decades. They claim he used to in­vite them for meet­ings in his ho­tel room, then take his clothes off and sug­gest a mas­sage.

Per­haps he got con­fused? Do we know if he also forced showbiz meet­ings on his mas­sage ther­a­pist? I don’t be­lieve so. We­in­stein de­nies the ac­cu­sa­tions, but has apol­o­gised for his un­spec­i­fied “be­hav­iour”, which he ad­mits “caused a lot of pain”.

Ah. So not re­ally a cham­pion of lib­eral causes any more? No. And not re­ally a movie mogul any more ei­ther. He has taken a leave of ab­sence to spend more time with his lawyers.

Right. So which part of all this was in­spired by Jay-z? The apol­ogy. Jay-z was (ba­si­cally) ac­cused of hav­ing an af­fair in his wife Bey­oncé’s al­bum Lemon­ade. The al­bum and song 4:44, in which he shows great re­morse, is (ba­si­cally) his re­sponse to that. As We­in­stein now says: “Jay-z wrote in 4:44: ‘I’m not the man I thought I was, and I bet­ter be that man for my chil­dren.’ The same is true for me.”

Hang on. I’m sure this is hor­ri­ble for

We­in­stein’s chil­dren, but the al­le­ga­tions against him are a bit worse than an af­fair, aren’t they? Yes. And fur­ther­more, Jay-z never wrote those words in 4:44. The clos­est he gets is: “And if my chil­dren knew / I don’t even know what I would do.”

So We­in­stein is a proven mis­quoter! That re­ally is unforgivable.

Do say: “My heart breaks for the day I have to ex­plain my mis­takes / And the mask goes away.” Don’t say: “I’m pre­par­ing 99 law­suits and I’m go­ing to win each one.”

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