We all knew where this was headed. We’ve all heard those stories before, the ones where Kanye supposedly said or did something so stupid we dismissed the anecdote entirely. They sounded more like rumors told by someone who had a grudge after a celebrity denied them an autograph. We filed these stories away with other information we disregarded only because we didn’t want to believe it.
And every album release is immediately heralded as the return of the king. Another batch of stupid-but-infectious rap/pop songs. And if you speak up and say you don’t like it, you’re kind of just an asshole. Because Kanye is so perfectly representative of our national ego that any criticism targets all of us. It’s like you’re saying you don’t like us, as a people.
So then he starts making his rounds ahead of the new album, and he says he’s a Trump fan, and he says some deeply problematic, moronic, and insulting things about slavery in America. And plenty of folks went off and acted surprised and angry.
Are we? Are any of us surprised?
No, we are not. We already have a point of reference. Just think of that one guy from grade school, who I will call Derek. You know Derek. He was the one who took the frog from bio class and hid it in his backpack, lit it on fire on the way home. Then in high school he made a fake bomb threat and spent some time in juvie. Then you saw him years later, in a TJ Maxx, and you went to go talk to him, because people change, they work on themselves and strive to be better than they were before. But then he starts yelling at an employee, just reaming her out for not having these cheap foam sandals in his size.
How many red flags did we need to figure out that Kanye is Derek in disguise? Was it not the last straw when he married a woman who doesn’t just make us ashamed to be American, but ashamed to be human? How many times do we have to listen to “Runaway” before we say, no, being an asshole is actually not something worth celebrating?
And we seem to forget that it’s within our power to make him slink away into irrelevance. All we have to do is stop listening to him, stop talking about him, and for Christ’s sake, stop giving him money.