Color me completely unimpressed by the Kanye interview. Sifting through his incoherence yields much less than people think.
Before I begin, a few disclaimers about my attitude toward Kanye West. I started off unimpressed by the man. He had a big hurdle to overcome to impress me and, by my lights, he failed.
In 2006, Kanye willingly let Rolling Stones put him on the cover of the magazine as Christ with a crown of thorns on his head. He’s never apologized for that, at least not so far as I could find in a relatively quick internet search.
In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, when Louisiana’s local and state governments were utterly unprepared for the hurricane (and when years of graft caused the levees to break), Kanye said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” It was a stupid thing to say.
Both the above events occurred when Kanye was young and brash, so perhaps I shouldn’t hold them against him. I was stupid in my 20s and lucky enough not to play that stupidity out before the world. But there are other things I keep in mind when I think about Kanye.
He married into the Kardashian family. That is a sick, twisted, corrupt, morally awful family, and you don’t need to read about them in the Vigilant Citizen to know that. Let’s just say that I was totally unsurprised to read that Kris Kardashian was the guiding “genius” behind getting her daughter to get more publicity by “accidentally” ending up in a pornographic video. Bad judgment on Kanye’s part, to say the least — or he’s someone who willingly sold his soul for his career.
Kanye is self-admittedly bipolar. That’s certainly not his fault, but it makes everything he says and does questionable. Bipolar people bounce around a lot in terms of beliefs and actions, so they very quickly turn on past attitudes and old friends.
And lastly, a matter of personal preference: I think Kanye’s “music” is absolutely appalling. It’s not just that I consider rap to be anti-music; it’s also that I think what Kanye does is genuinely bad. He is the avatar of a debased culture that has given up on any pretense of actual music — just as art, architecture, and fashion have given up on any pretense of beauty. If you add in the fact that every song is rated “explicit” (i.e., obscenities, violence, pornographic references, or whatever), you might agree with me that Kanye is not a man with any interest in uplifting the world.
So, what about Kanye’s interview with Tucker Carlson? Color me unimpressed, including about those matters that most excited conservatives.
As a general matter, while I can’t deny that Kanye is a billionaire while I’m an older suburban mom worrying about my old age because of how Biden is ravaging the economy (so who am I to talk?), I found him completely incoherent. My ultimate take is that Kanye is a man of limited intelligence who really tries to think deep thoughts. Thus, I think he was trying to answer Tucker’s questions but was unable to do so. His answers went off track after about five words, something that wasn’t helped by the fact that Kanye assumed that everyone is conversant with the smallest, most boring, and banal, details of his life.
I thought I saw panic behind Tucker’s eyes as he tried to pretend that what he was listening to made any sort of sense. Indeed, Tucker’s eyes looked remarkably like the eyes of a rat caught in a trap, desperately trying to figure a way out. You might even have noticed that Tucker made no effort whatsoever during his little breaks to elaborate on what Kanye said. I don’t think that was because Kanye’s meanings were self-evident. I think it’s because Kanye spews nonsense.
In a way, Kanye is like a doctor, arrogant enough to think it’s everyone else’s problem to decipher his illegible handwriting. With his elliptical, circular, non-responsive, pointless answers, Kanye expects others to find meaning.
And what about his three big points? The ones about abortion, support for Trump, and those “white lives matter” shirts? Well, I give Kanye credit for distinguishing himself from the Hollywood crowd. Like J.K. Rowling, who has taken a strong stand against transgenderism (even as she correctly insists that she’s a die-hard leftist), Kanye doesn’t need to be loved anymore by the people he relied upon on his way up, so he can exhibit a bit of independence. He’s brave because he now can be, without serious consequences. And in fact, I don’t think he was that brave.
Abortion: What you’ll notice is that Kanye never says abortion is wrong. He simply says it’s black genocide (my phrasing, not is). In other words, Kanye doesn’t have a principled opposition to abortion; he just has a principled opposition to black genocide. I agree with him that we’re witnessing a black genocide and it’s nice that he’s speaking out about it, but I’ll just note that he’s coming from a place of pragmatism, not overarching morality. Applaud what he actually said but don’t give him props for what he never said.
Trump: Again, Mr. Inarticulate couldn’t say what he like about Trump. Mostly, he slammed Trump for using him, when what actually happened was that Kanye reached out to Trump, and then Trump, rightly, and probably to flatter Kanye, noted that Trump’s support had soared thanks to Kanye’s willingness to support him. After that, in a perfect, albeit incoherent, antisemitic trope, Kanye said that Jared Kushner’s huge efforts in the Middle East, which led to the Abraham Accords, were all about money. That kind of remark stinks and is as bad as Ilhan Omar saying the only reason Republicans support Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, is because Jews buy them off.
(As an aside about the difference between Israel and her neighbors, neighbors that Democrats vigorously support, Israel gave sanctuary to a gay Palestinian man. Somehow he ended up back in Hebron — perhaps because he was kidnapped — where the Palestinians whom leftists love beheaded him.)
White Lives Matter: Kanye gets more of a pass on this. He ultimately said that the shirts said “white lives matter” because they do. Perhaps that’s enough from a guy who can’t talk in a straight line. I’m very cynical, so I suspect that what his gut was really saying wasn’t “white lives matter.” I think his gut was saying “publicity.”
One last point: Kanye claims to be guided by pure Christianity (as I said, he used to liken himself to Christ) but if you skim the home pages of tabloid-style papers like the Daily Mail and the New York Post, what you discover is that he’s a vicious man who is currently enjoying the pleasure of taking potshots at people who offended him. And again, these potshots aren’t part of a principled universe in which he rightly challenges people for ideological failures or criminal or moral acts. Noooo. He’s attacking them with all the sophistication and finesse of the elementary schoolyard bully.
I don’t doubt that Kanye’s ex-wife’s boyfriends and friends are uninspiring and probably very morally flawed people. However, as far as he’s concerned, their awfulness is simply tied to their having betrayed him in an ugly divorce. I get that — completely — but there are no conservative principles there either.
I’m not celebrating Kanye, and I don’t think anyone else should either. And do remember, given the type of person he is, he’ll be turning on conservatives soon enough, even without unknown nonentities like me criticizing him.
Image: Screen grab of Kanye on Tucker.