Kanye West was having a great weekend until he wasn’t. One moment, the rapper-producer-entrepreneur was dispensing pearls of pseudo-philosophy on Twitter to the retweets of adoring observers. The next, many of those same admirers had turned to denouncing him instead.
Oh, and he had become an alt-right darling. Whatever West is going through at the moment, the response to his Twitter spree reveals more about the people who have fled from him – and those who’ve flocked to him, too.
10 reasons why we’re unfollowing Kanye West:
1. West’s fortunes reversed when he expressed his admiration on Saturday for red-pill YouTuber Candace Owens, an African-American Donald Trump supporter known for, among other things, referring to Black Lives Matter protesters as “whiny toddlers, pretending to be oppressed for attention.”
2. The following day, he tweeted nine videos from Scott Adams, who gained his fame first for creating the cartoon “Dilbert” and second for proclaiming that rape is a “natural instinct” of men and society a “virtual prison for men’s natural desires.”
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3. West is a lost man seduced by the far right’s promise to provide a sense of purpose. All that pseudo-philosophy does suggest a preoccupation with the sort of existential problems figures such as psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has become a surprise lifestyle guru, claim they can solve.
Damn. J. Cole put how we’re feeling about Kanye perfectly. pic.twitter.com/OorjUicANl
— Marcus Perez (@Markaaaay) April 26, 2018
4. This isn’t the first time his forays into politics have discomfited some fans – to the mental-health struggles that led to his 2017 hospitalisation.
5. It could just be that West is cloistered in a world of wealth, away from the realities of racism that motivated incidents like his declaration on live television after Hurricane Katrina that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
6. He may be too preoccupied with his image of himself as a truth-teller to recognize that the unconventional communication style he finds so attractive in Trump is just a way to cover up lies.
7. Ascertaining why West thinks what he thinks is probably as fruitless as finding meaning in the bromides he’s been offering up the past few days: “all you have to be is yourself” (108,000 retweets, 237,000 likes), “the beauty is in the imperfection(s)” (54,000 retweets, 139,000 likes), “everything you do in life stems from either fear or love” (105,000 retweets, 245,000 likes). It might be more useful to examine what the reaction to West’s provocative tweets reveals about the left and right alike.
let’s move in love not fear
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
8. Progressives, West’s more typical fan base, greeted his return to Twitter with breathless engagement. (Apparently, they’d forgotten about West’s onstage announcement last summer that he’d have voted for Trump had he voted at all, and his post-election visit to Trump Tower.) But the moment West expressed his approval of Owens, liberals recoiled. Eager to signal their lefty credentials, they withdrew their support the moment West went against the party line.
Thank you Kanye, very cool! https://t.co/vRIC87M21X
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2018
9. In the end, the weekend’s West affair was a very public display of people using other people.
10. West has hyped up his announced album even further with the publicity he gained from courting controversy. Liberals have shown off their willingness to enforce ideological purity, no matter who the offender is. And the far right has demonstrated, once again, that they’re willing to flip-flop at the slightest sign that they might be able to land a mainstream celebrity recruit.
“Don’t trade your authenticity for approval,” West tweeted last week, to the tune of 170,000 retweets and 344,000 likes.
Kanye is succeeding on getting on my nerves
— Vukile (@MTshwete) April 26, 2018