News & Politics

Remember When Criticizing Kanye Was Racist?

President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West pose for a picture in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Join me, Dear Reader, and gaze back through the swirling mists of yesteryear: It was September 2005, and Hurricane Katrina had just ravaged New Orleans and a wide swath of the Gulf Coast. And if you were of a certain mindset, President George W. Bush had been ravaging the entire country ever since he stole the election from Al Gore. Bush had just defeated human oscillator John Kerry as well, and Democrats were angry as… well, they were angry as Democrats. A huge natural disaster was a great excuse to vent at the living embodiment of everything they hated. So they blamed Bush.

Enter: Kanye West.

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” This was the moment when Kanye became a superstar. Even people who didn’t like his music cheered on this semi-coherent rant. Kanye spoke for every American who wasn’t quite smart enough to articulate an argument against Bush, but still knew in their bones that Bush was bad. Any attack was welcome, and the angrier and more irrational, the better. They literally blamed Bush for the weather, and Kanye became their hero.

And if you didn’t like what Kanye said back in ’05, or thought it was the wrong venue to say it, or had any other criticism whatsoever, guess what that made you? HINT: It starts with “R” and ends with “acist.”

But that was 13 long years ago. Since then, Democrats have had two glorious terms of Obama, and it made them so deliriously happy that they figured they could nominate Hillary Clinton and get away with it. Whoops! The glass ceiling is still intact, and all their dreams are dead, and now they don’t care about anything except #Resisting the guy who defeated them.

Enter: Kanye West.

“They bullied me backstage. They bullied me.”

I’m not going to claim to understand what Kanye said last week on SNL. Just as in 2005, the man is operating on a plane of reality that most of us can’t reach and don’t care to.

But would it surprise you to learn that criticizing Kanye for his political speech is no longer racist?

It’s always good to hear from my favorite demographic: SNL Cast Members Against Celebrities with Political Opinions.

Imagine working at SNL. You helped create the Trump phenomenon, you gave him millions of dollars in free publicity, and then you watched helplessly as he actually won. Now you flail away at him week after week, trotting out a fading Hollywood actor to lampoon him, and yet nothing seems to work. And now, a once-vital member of your team has betrayed you by wearing a MAGA hat and reminding you that you don’t know as much as you think you do.

No wonder you’re so pissed off!

I find Trump’s cult of personality exhausting, just as I grew tired of the cults of personality centered around Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Worshipping an individual, any individual, is not a very good substitute for thinking about things for yourself. But I can understand why a guy like Kanye appreciates a guy like Trump. Well, maybe “understand” is too strong a word, but I can see that they’re two of a kind. Kindred spirits. Kanye and Trump are both loud, idiosyncratic narcissists who have succeeded wildly by doing things they’re not supposed to do. They both made their bones by ruthlessly insulting their opponents and critics. Their plan is No Plan. Trump is about Trump, and Kanye is about Kanye.

Whether you think Kanye is the black Trump, or Trump is the white Kanye, they’re basically the same dude. So the following item kinda makes sense, or at least as much sense as anything makes in 2018 America:

I say, good for them. Why not? In 2008, America turned POTUS into a celebrity. Then we eliminated the middleman and elected a celebrity. Why wouldn’t he want to hang out with another celebrity?

Just you wait, this is only the beginning of Kanye’s political career. Trump didn’t make a serious* run for president until he was almost 70, so Kanye has several decades to make his moves. He might not become the 46th POTUS, or the 47th, but at this point it’s inevitable.

#Kanye2048!

*Well, you know what I mean.