So, Kanye West is tweeting like a bumper sticker conservative.
In the past few days, West has taken his Twitter game to new political heights. He’s tweeted:
All of which sounds like solid, empowering conservative thought. It’s understandable that conservatives are pleased about a massive cultural figure suddenly embracing such concepts. But conservatives who are evidencing tremendous excitement over Kanye are falling prey to the same sort of celebrity-centric mentality they criticize from the Left. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, Kanye just said something halfway intelligent!” It’s another to say, “Hey, Kanye’s suddenly got it! He’s a thoughtleader!”
The jump from the former perspective to the latter is far too fast in today’s politics. Kanye West is the same fellow who once accused George W. Bush of targeting black people during Hurricane Katrina. He’s also tweeted about the shortcomings of fur pillows and about the need for antique fishtanks.
This, in other words, is not a thoughtleader. He’s a rather crazy human.
But the Right is so starved for celebrity that we’re often willing to overlook the crazy for the feeling of legitimization. That’s the same reason so many conservatives suddenly see Roseanne as one of them, despite the fact that she is a wild leftist who says insane things on a regular basis. Treat conservatives like humans with ideas, and some on the Right will respond with the enthusiasm of a puppy greeting its master at the door.
That’s a mistake. It’s particularly a mistake because allowing the halo effect to impact your views of celebrities means elevating celebrities in an area in which they’re not particularly qualified. Just because Kanye knows rap doesn’t mean Kanye knows politics. And just because conservatives like an occasional treat from the hands of popular artists doesn’t mean they should grant those artists credibility as arbiters of political matters.