In 1968, Bob Dylan lived in Woodstock, New York, where he recently moved to escape public scrutiny, focus on his new family and eventually record a shit of world historical music with the band. When visiting the north of the state, friends found Dylan enjoying his new bucolic life, "happy to talk about stonework more than Vietnam", as Barney Hoskyns writes in Small Town Talk his story of the 2017 Woodstock scene. "He even expressed his support for George Wallace, the pro segregationist governor of Alabama."
The idea that the man who wrote "The lonely death of Hattie Carroll" greatly increases the avatar of the racist reaction can still surprise some people. But, of course, it was just another example of Dylan being Dylan, touching up his friends and pointing out his disdain for his role as a spokesman for the sixties. In 1968, Dylan also knew that his conscious foolishness would not get much farther than his table. Fifty years later, Kanye West's dinner is as big as his Twitter followers, and the wall between sincerity and irony, loose counterarguism and a genuinely deranged belief has essentially collapsed into a kind of hate speech. of potato.
Sure, there have been right-leaning rockers before. But the kind of raw damage that West has caused feels new, delivered with a cheerful and vengeful narcissism that makes Morrissey look good and sensible. It's hard to think of another artist at the peak of his career who has alienated so many people so quickly for political reasons. For a generation of hip-hop fans, it's a seismic, even a quasi-oedipal betrayal, a time when the only thing that prevents some people from saying goodbye to Twitter against Kanye is that he could inadvertently offend the mentally. ill.
But probably we should not be surprised either that the pop preeminent narcissist is down with our little emperor. Even before the reality star disappeared, Trump became the Trump bully, Kanye was already vaguely Trumpian, charging through his Olympic ascension in a whirlwind of arrogance and ambition, giving his songs fictional titles to win at all. coast, as "Power" and "Stronger", pulling a prize from the hands of a woman because that's what celebrities do, shooting assholes aphorisms a kilometer per minute, creating chaos and scandal.
During their promotion, both also thrived in demolition institutions. The astonished look on Mike Meyers' face when Kanye interrupted a nationally televised charity event to tell us "George Bush does not care about black people" is not so different from the deer enamel in the headlights that plagued Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio in the first Republican debates when Trump appeared to ruin his careers by absorbing all the oxygen with his unscripted fulminations. Their creative processes are not different either. Kanye frees Pablo's life and then states that it is only a draft that would end when and / or if he feels it is the brilliant hip-hop-opus equivalent of Trump. The White House does everything: every Fox and Friends poorly written appearance or policy decision or press release. It's a disaster to be shuffled later. We are living in the Presidency of Pablo.
Unfortunately, the darkest connection between the two is political. The racism of the Trump brand was unique: a mix of dog whistles of "law and order" by Wallace-ite against the backdrop of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim xenophobia. When he made a half-hearted gesture toward the African-American community, he offered a nihilistic olive branch ("What do you have to lose?"), Playing in his status as a stranger and an accumulated sense of systemic betrayal at the hands of Republican Democrats and Politicians. same. West echoed that sentiment during his tweetstorm when he noted: "Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed." That sense of cynicism may have played a role in the decline of African-American participation on the day of the 2016 elections, helping put Trump in the White House.
West visited Trump Tower during the presidential transition, another Crazy Kanye convulsion that most people tried to snub as a strange moment of vertigo in our process of adapting to Trump's new hellscape. A year and a half after his presidency, we still have not acclimatized, which for Kanye is undoubtedly another perverse draw: the ability to maintain our attention by making us feel terrified, as if we were listening Yeezus in a cycle, a violent purity of relentless amoral attack that Shania Twain misinterpreted as "honesty" and Kanye called "dragon energy", perhaps because tiger blood was already taken.
Ultimately, how you feel about Kanye is how you feel your own ability to separate the art from the artists that do it, whether or not you're the kind of person who almost throws up every time you pass a movie. Woody Allen in TCM. In addition to having an incredible taste of shit in hats, Kanye is also the engine of a massive amount of incredible music full of raw beauty and stimulating contradictions. It's the music that until this week that breaks the deal most of us could still hear with revelation and enjoyment. Do not let the idiot who did it ruin you.