1. Everyone likes to complain about ‘society’ but everyone forgets that we are society. Us. You and me and everyone else. There’s no organization known as society with set meeting dates and plans and agendas to carry out. It’s individuals and their beliefs expressed one by one that makes up society. Stay with me.
2. No generation has the answers. We think the past establishments were evil and wrong because they endorsed racism, religiousity, and privilege. Meanwhile we have come along and dismantled all that and made a more open society for everyone. That’s rubbish. We merely exchange one orthodoxy for another and when the orthodoxy of our day is challenged we react with the same vicious disapproval, shaming, shutting up and intimation and flat out ostracism that previous generations reacted with to those who challenged the ostracism of their day. You believe Trump supporters want to reinforce white supremacy and you have a moral responsibility to oppose them and preserve what you know to be good? Good luck then because the Klan also genuinely believed that Negroes and their supporters wanted to reinforce black degeneracy and they had a moral responsibility to oppose them and preserve what they know to be good. Tomorrow’s generation may believe that we really entrenched moral degeneracy and they have a duty to oppose us to make the world better. I’m not arguing for the absolute truth of any of the claims any generation makes but my point is that the people you castigate believe in the rightness of their cause and the error of yours just as you believe in the rightness of your cause and the error of theirs. Every stone caster does so from a moral high ground and when you realize that your high ground is really artificial you’ll feel less need to throw stones.
3. Every establishment marginalized someone. Yesterday the right was the establishment and every one on the left was the counterculture seeking to break their hegemony so that the marginalized can exist too. Well guess what, since the 60s the left has gradually risen to become the establishment and now those outside of it feel just as marginalized as a progressive would’ve felt. And today’s left establishment will resist them just as powerfully as every previous establishment did before. It’s not out of malice. It’s because the establishment sees the world in its image so it legitimately cannot fathom how people believe otherwise. If Hollywood, media, academia and all seem shocked at Kanye’s views today understand that it was just as shocked at Muhammad Ali’s views then. The only difference is that white conservative types and the other side have switched places. We agree with Ali then and think Ye is nuts now, they thought Ali was nuts then and agree with Ye now. Crazy but that’s how we are.
4. Everyone claims to love you but not really. Love, genuine love is really really rare and really really hard to practice. It’s easy to love anyone when your feelings about them are positive. You loved Ye when he made the song you would’ve made and said the things you would have said and challenged things with his platform that you wish you had the courage and platform to challenge. But Ye is a person. A human being. With Contradictory impulses, with a mind that can be influenced, with insecurities that can find expression in ways you cannot always predict, with an experience that does not always tally with yours and with opinions that don’t always make sense. Every celebrity who had felt the adoration, praise and love of the masses always asks him or herself the question: will you still love me if I expressed all the parts of me I don’t put in my art? And they always realize the answer is no. Because people don’t love you, they love themselves. And the moment they stop seeing themselves in you or their own image, reflection or advantage in you, or the moment you become a risk to them then they kick you to the curb. Because people don’t love you, they love themselves. Do you love Kanye right now? Probably not. But I bet you loved him in 2010. This is why I hold family so dear. This is why I value loyal friends so much and will do anything for them. This is why I see marriage as so important, even with all its failings. Because in this life too few people have the ability to love you through your best and your worst and are willing to do that. Yet that is what all of us want, deep down.
Should we all agree with Kanye? Hell no. But should we still love Kanye? Yes, especially now. But are we going to do that? I doubt it. We already threw him to the dogs.
And that says so much about us.