The Kanye West story has proven to be an interesting exploration in intolerance from the so-called “Tolerant-Left”. From John Legend’s condescending text that comes off with a cultish “No, brother, you musn’t think like that” with no elaboration as to why, to the usual “complete idiot” talk from Rosie O’Donnell and the late-night talk show hosts, none of whom known for their political acumen either, West has revealed the left to be concerned entirely with groupthink. Anyone who challenges them must be crazy, mentally ill, stupid or hateful, and potentially a combination of those factors.
While Kanye’s tweets continue to carry with them a more positive message, that does not appear to be the focus here. West’s tweet storm consisted largely of short messages about loving others, and a retweet of Chance The Rapper suggesting that “Black people don’t have to be Democrats.” Chance hasn’t received quite the response, but I wonder if that’s just a matter of him desiring to say nothing else.
What’s weird about this for me is that this caught me entirely by surprise. So much happened so quickly that I am just now starting to get a grasp on what happened. What I have picked up on this is the pronounced irony that while West’s two platforms over the last few days are “love people” and “I don’t agree with everything he does or says”, the response has been that you are not permitted to agree with anything Trump does or says. Even the message of loving your political rivals has become lost in the melee and that has to be by design.
But the most fascinating aspect of this has got to be defending John Legend’s condescension and, in a way, proving West’s point about how freethought has become a bad word. The Rolling Stone has an essay out that wants to talk about “Why Kanye West’s Pro-Trump Tweets are a real threat”. The essay is a broadside against Trump and Trump supporters that ends with “When you wear that hat, you are aligning yourself with the man who wants to deport immigrants who have done nothing but pursue a better life” (aka illegal immigrants) “To bar trans people from serving in our military” (there’s more to the conversation than that), “to subject gay, bi and queer people to legally protected prejudices of all variances” (I’m assuming this is the Religious Freedom thing) and ends it with this legendary bit of hyperbole “You are joining the likes of the tiki-torch clutching white supremacists who stormed Charlottesville in the promotion of what that hat and the man behind it symbolizes.”
The writer sees no distinction between a Trump supporter and a Nazi. And West is the problem.
Elsewhere, Vox covered John Legend’s conversation with West, which West later publicized. Notice how Legend begins immediate with “You’re way too powerful and influential to endorse who he is and what he stands for” and then moves to speak for people close to West. The writer than considers “Free thought” to essentially be a luxury of the rich. Ben Shapiro has many of the best reactions today, as well as a through analysis for why we are seeing this catastrophic reaction from many on the Left. This is the same reaction that Rossane Barr is getting and that Shania Twain had to meekly apologize for. Pure anger and vitriol for celebrities who dare think against the safely moral majority. Finally, the New Yorker wrote an essay wondering what “We” should think about Kanye’s tweets, and essentially questioned his mental health
And that is what makes this so much fun. The anti-Trump types, with maybe four exceptions that I can point to, have been fighting a caricature of Trump that seems to change with the weather. Trump is this vicious, vile, awful racist/sexist/bigot/homophobic/Nazi/fascist/authoritarian/psychopathic narcissist with a Russian in every corner of the White House. He is all of those things Monday, some of those things Tuesday, and whatever he wasn’t on Tuesday is what he will be on Wednesday. Whether or not this is all hype for his upcoming albums or not, Kanye West has exposed the Left as a sort of thought police with no tolerance for alternative views of thinking and oddly, nothing to say on West’s message of love for one’s rivals, or the concept of freethought. One imagines this can only be because they despise those concepts as well, just not as much as a few black celebrities thinking for themselves. They could’ve written off someone like James Woods as just an old white guy. But West has become, in mere days, a cultural powerhouse with the support of his wife who is perhaps more of a cultural influencer than he is. This is not to say that either West, nor Kim Kardashian should be thought leaders, I’d leave that to Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens, but the former two are the heroes we need right now.