On Tuesday, Molly Roberts, an editor for the Washington Post’s opinion section, published an article titled, “Kanye West, alt-right darling,” addressing rapper Kanye West’s recent tweets that were decidedly conservative.
Hmm. Alt-right? You mean that motley crew of anti-Semitic, white racists who believe in white supremacy? There might be a problem with that: Kanye West is black.
No matter. After calling West an “alt-right darling,” Roberts was on a tear, noting West’s approval of YouTuber Candace Owens, who is also black and supports President Trump, and his approval of Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert” and also a Trump supporter, Roberts patronized that West’s conservative perspective might be the result of mental illness:
It’s easy to cast West as just another lost man seduced by the far right’s promise to provide a sense of purpose. All that pseudo-philosophy does suggest a preoccupation with the sort of existential problems figures such as psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has become a surprise lifestyle guru, claim they can solve. It’s also possible to connect West’s eccentric behavior on Twitter — this isn’t the first time his forays into politics have discomfited some fans — to the mental-health struggles that led to his 2017 hospitalization.
And if it’s not mental illness causing West’s embrace of conservative values, what else can Roberts cite? You’ll never guess:
Or it could just be that West is cloistered in a world of wealth, away from the realities of racism that motivated incidents like his declaration on live television after Hurricane Katrina that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” He may be too preoccupied with his image of himself as a truth-teller to recognize that the unconventional communication style he finds so attractive in Trump is just a way to cover up lies.
Then, the condescension that conservatives are desperate for a celebrity they can champion and the bitterness over West’s loss of “authenticity”:
The roster of pro-Trump celebrities in 2016, on the other hand, would hardly sell out a festival. When Roseanne Barr is your headliner, you have a serious PR problem. It’s no wonder the prospect of signing a star as big as Kanye West led so many former foes to forget they’d spent years disdaining him. In short, the right is desperate for an avatar, and West seems like a good get – especially given his popularity among black audiences. … And the far right has demonstrated, once again, that they’re willing to flip-flop at the slightest sign that they might be able to land a mainstream celebrity recruit. “Don’t trade your authenticity for approval,” West tweeted last week, to the tune of 170,000 retweets and 344,000 likes. Too late.
Someone is having a bad day.