Thursday, May 03, 2018

behold: the power of Yeezus*

Daily Caller: "Black Male Approval of Trump Doubles in One Week."

Hilarious. We can probably thank Kanye West for this.

A couple remarks, though:

1. Why trust a Reuters poll? These and other idiots got the 2016 election utterly wrong, and they continue to show the same biases that caused them to view reality askew in 2016.

2. If, however, we assume the poll is trustworthy, Kanye West's ostensible influence on black men's attitudes toward Trump could be viewed positively or negatively. On the positive front, these poll results could be a sign that many black men have been quietly thinking along MAGA-ish lines, and they now feel freer to express their perspective. According to this perspective, Kanye's recent tweets, interviews, and sundry public statements have had a liberating effect. Viewed negatively, this could merely be yet another example of a celebrity exercising influence over a sheep-like populace that does little more than latch onto anyone with an ounce of conviction.** Far from being mental emancipation (did you hear/read Kanye's recent statements about black chattel slavery? Here's decidedly left-leaning Vox on the topic), this is just more mental bondage.

*Okay, so you're old and white and pop culture has left you far, far behind, such that you don't understand modern references. I get it. Once I stopped teaching high-school kids in the 90s, I began to feel the same drift away from the mainstream. What the hell is "Yeezus"? you're wondering. Yeezus is the name of a recent album by rapper Kanye West. One of Kanye's several nicknames is "Ye" (the last syllable of his first name), which led to the Yeezus album title as well as to the Yeezy line of shoes and sports gear. A cynical interpretation is that West is a megalomaniac, so he naturally associates himself with Jesus, hence "Yeezus."

**I'm still not convinced that Kanye actually has clear convictions or is a principled free thinker, as he now likes to call himself. Until I see otherwise, I think he's more of an attention-seeking shit-stirrer who's living in the moment and basically marketing his brand, i.e., himself. But as I've had to say many times in the past, I could be wrong, and this wouldn't be the first time I've misread a person or the public mood. Time will tell.


Charles said...

Did I miss the memo that said we were supposed to take anything Kanye West says seriously?

Kevin Kim said...

Oh, I totally agree. But he's trending in rightie circles, right now, because he's been on a tear for the past few weeks. One of the salutary side effects of his various flailings has been the highlighting of just how many black conservatives are out there, even if Kanye himself hasn't exactly embraced the conservative label (as noted, he prefers "free thinker"). West is supposedly reading the works of Thomas Sowell, a prominent African American on the right, but to be honest, I have trouble imagining Kanye reading. Sowell is a sophisticated and super-bookish intellectual, but Kanye? Really? Reading Sowell and understanding him? Not so sure about that.

I still think all of this is more of a flash in the pan than the beginnings of any sort of political sea change, but Scott Adams disagrees, and he's been more right than he's been wrong. Adams apparently sees West as a sort of bridge between the left and the right. Maybe he's a liminal trickster figure...? West, I mean—not Adams, although Adams skirts some borderlines himself.

John Mac said...

Whatever West may or may not be, he scares the hell out of the left because he is speaking out contrary to leftist doctrine. This is simply not acceptable, especially for a black celebrity. To me, this exposes the inherent racism of the left and is how I read West's statement about slavery. Any black person who dares escape from the doctrinal plantation must be made an example of...we can't have these folks thinking for themselves after all. Recall they did the same with Condelezza Rice and Clarence Thomas.

Kevin Kim said...


True enough. I cited the "plantation" notion in an earlier post, but you're right: it's hard for many liberals to fathom such creatures as gay and black conservatives, or even gays and blacks who simply don't toe the leftist party line.