by Oliver Bateman
Friday, 2
December 2022
Reaction
13:00

It’s time to leave Kanye West alone

The music artist needs help, not attention
by Oliver Bateman
Screengrab from Kanye ‘Ye’ West’s Infowars interview

Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, used yesterday’s 3-hour interview with InfoWars host Alex Jones to continue building hype for what was once thought of as a 2024 presidential run, and now feels more like a piece of performance art or a cry for help. Flanked by Nick Fuenteshis recent dinner companion at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Largo estate and possible campaign advisor — and wearing a black, eyeless mask over his face, Ye expatiated about the “Jewish mafia” and the merits of Adolf Hitler. 

He then engaged in a bit of prop comedy involving a small fishing net and a bottle of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink and took a phone call from far-Right internet personality and erstwhile congressional candidate Laura Loomer. To cap off a banner day, he tweeted an unflattering photo of Elon Musk, noting that this could be last tweet — then promptly earned a suspension and a “FAFO” (fuck around and find out) rejoinder from Musk. 


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At this point, it is nigh-impossible to offer thoughtful commentary on what is happening with Ye. People have tried, myself included, but the rapper always has one more trick up his sleeve. When Ye shared various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Tucker Carlson’s show, this seemed like a sort of zenith as far as absurd career sabotage went. If not that, then surely the Mar-a-Lago dinner, at which Fuentes, a pivotal figure in the 2017 Charlottesville riots who believes heterosexual intercourse with a woman is gay, got closer to Trump than ever before, represented the apogee. Or perhaps it came when he walked out of an interview on Tim Pool’s Timcast IRL podcast after angrily declaring that there are lots of Jewish people working in finance and media. 

As Hadley Freeman has written on these pages, it is clear that Ye is unwell. Yet it is also strange to see the ways in which celebrity culture and all things online are converging: groyper culture, the second iteration of Trump’s MAGA movement, and even some not insubstantial part of the Republican Party itself (Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference, after all, was attended — and defended — by the likes of former Iowa Congressman Steve King and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, the latter of whom said he admired Fuentes’ “well-informed and thought-provoking perspectives”). 

Ye’s celebrity status is raising the profile of these fringe movements, which is a problem for the Republican Party. As he memes Milo, Fuentes, and even Loomer into mainstream discourse — and rest assured, even if he’s on a dissident programme like InfoWars, Ye is covered by nearly every American news outlet — he shapes a very different future for the Right than whatever Glenn Youngkin or Mitt Romney, who condemned the Mar-a-Lago dinner, have envisioned. 

Not everyone has Romney’s elder statesman status and can afford to speak out; many Right-wingers will find themselves heeding the advice of January 6 organiser Ali Alexander to “just remain silent” about Fuentes’ presence alongside Ye (Alexander has also urged groypers to help correct the “optics” regarding Fuentes’ racism and anti-Semitism).

Some have compared this moment to the transgressive shock of late-1990s rocker Marilyn Manson or the mid-2010s avant-garde antics of dilettante actor James Franco, but neither man could have continued drawing media attention while pushing an agenda this subversive. Both would have been visibly deplatformed in some way, as Franco seemingly was in the wake of a host of #MeToo allegations (Manson, no longer an A-lister, is now facing his own abuse allegations). 

Most realistically, we are witnessing the sad consequence of a man struggling with severe mental health issues that have got out of control. There will no doubt be another, more shocking, appearance from the music artist, but by then it may be best to remain silent, and give it no further attention.

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago

Kanye undoubtedly has mental health issues and Elon has rightfully removed him from Twitter (again).
Twitter V2 doesn’t have ‘absolute freedom of speech’ and Elon has tweeted reasons for West’s removal – not the picture! He has commented graciously that the unflattering picture had been a motivation to lose weight (a while ago).
What is fascinating is that the progressives conflate Elon and Kanye – the usual lazy thinking accusations of fascism, narcissism, alt-right, Q-anon…. On it goes.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 month ago

There is absolutely NOTHING fascinating about West. He’s without any real talent (compared to a huge number of musicians/performers) and the only reason i can think of for the media obsession is the problematic nature of the media itself.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well if you actually read my comment, you would see that I did not say Kanye was fascinating. My comment was that it is fascinating that progressives conflate Kanye and Elon.
The discussion on whether Kanye himself is fascinating can take another thread if you so wish.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 month ago

Back after a lengthy time away and the first post I made went straight into moderation then disappeared. Super pleased I only signed up for a month.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 month ago

It’s time to leave Kanye West alone
I’ve been doing me best. Rather successfully, as I know nothing about him.
Pleased to be able to help.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 month ago

I agree on “with severe mental health issues”; he displays many of the key signs of bipolar disorder (with which I am unfortunately all too familiar).

Red Napier
Red Napier
1 month ago

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing this post.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 month ago

Its sad to see American blacks and Jews in conflict, they have such a long history together. They arrived in the US on the same boats

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  D Walsh

This conflict is not new at all. It’s been a theme of the black power movement for at least sixty years.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 month ago
Reply to  D Walsh

“They arrived in the US on the same boats”
I’m sure the Africans that arrived in chains since 1619 would be interested to hear that.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Some of them know

Dig a little deeper and you can know too

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 month ago
Reply to  D Walsh

They arrived in the US on the same boats
I’m not sure exactly what you meant by that, but I don’t think so. I haven’t investigated the demographics of Jewish emigration to the US in detail, but I gather that quite a few of them came in response to anti-Semitism in Europe (especially in the Pale of Settlement). (And yes, anti-Semitism has a long history in Europe; Herzl started the Zionism movement partially in response to the Dreyfus Affair.) For African-Americans, again, not investigated in detail, but I think most arrived as a result of the TAST. There have been more recent waves from the Caribbean (although that population arrived via the TAST too), and directly from Africa.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 month ago

Ye and Fuentes are perfect representatives of the Trump republican party. God help you.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Would that impact Trump’s moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? The nazi wanna-bes. Ye amd Fuentes, represent nothing more than the leftists playing the Nazi cards when Fascist fails for political purposes.