Accusing political opponents of being mentally ill used to be frowned upon in democracies, yet that was the prime tactic media and Twitter voices deployed against Kanye West, who was also labeled an “incel” and “boot licker.”
The 41-year old rapper was at his most bombastic, as he wore a MAGA hat to the White House on Thursday, where he was personally received by US President Donald Trump, who gave him a hug.
While Kanye has previously expressed sympathies for the current administration, the visit provoked an outpouring of unadulterated condemnation from the mainstream.
Sad. @SECupp said it best about the Kanye-Trump meeting: “That was really sad. I think you had there a man who’s clearly not okay, and a president who’s willing to who’s willing to exploit that.” pic.twitter.com/JuadQFMxkH
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 11, 2018
MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle respond to the Kanye West – Donald Trump Oval Office discussion…
Ali Velshi: “Wow! That was bonkers…That was crazy.”
Stephanie Ruhle: “That was an assault on our White House.” pic.twitter.com/3xlLrzDGeq
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 11, 2018
I don’t think Kanye is well. I swear I’m not saying this at all because of his political opinions. He’s allowed to feel however he wants. But his cadence and delivery don’t seem right. I hope I’m wrong.
— andy lassner (@andylassner) October 11, 2018
I’m not sure anyone has been more critical of Kanye West than me. But after watching him today, I’m changing my mind. I feel bad for him. He clearly has clinical issues. It’s not that he’s unintelligent or has bad intent, he just desperately needs mental health counseling.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) October 11, 2018
Of course, while much of the criticism was framed as purported concern for West, who was hospitalized with temporary psychosis in 2016, and underwent lengthy rehab, this didn’t spare him from being used as a set up for an easy punchline about Trump.
Out in public watching the disastrous Trump/Kanye summit and someone said “He looks so unwell,” to which two strangers replied simultaneously “Which one?”
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) October 11, 2018
Glenn Greenwald and others with no stake in Trump were also unimpressed at this outburst of insensitivity among the professed tolerance, regardless of whether they believe Yeezus to be an authority on US politics.
Exploiting and mocking the fact that someone has previously sought medical treatment for mental health issues in order to disqualify them from participating in public debates and being taken seriously is reprehensible & CNN should be ashamed of itself for airing that (see 2:40). https://t.co/k1Qv1jXkrh
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 11, 2018
Taking the lead from CNN, which a day earlier harked back to a whole series of unwelcome stereotypes, calling West a “token negro” and an “illiterate negro” many picked up on that line of attack.
“Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read.”
–Bakari Sellers, (black) democrat strategist
“[West is] an attention whore, like the president…He’s the token Negro of the Trump administration.”
–Tara Setmeyer, (black) CNN analyst
But Trump’s an anti-black “RACIST”?
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) October 11, 2018
If I ever become a parent, I’m going to show my children that Kanye-Trump summit and say, “Kids, this is what happens to people who don’t read.”
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) October 11, 2018
The KARDASHIANS are Trump supporters (Bruce has openly stated his support for Trump for years) And Kanye is doing all this shucking’ & jiving as a way to shield Kim & the rest of the family from criticism. So Kanye is doing the whole sacrificial slave routine for the Kardashians
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 11, 2018
In an attempt to further marginalize West, who said that he lacked male role models, and felt more empowered by Trump than Hillary Clinton in 2016, several prominent voices, who do not actually know what an “incel” is, tried to paint Kanye as one.
Kanye West is basically an incel. He said seeing a major presidential campaign that centered a woman (for the first time in history btw) didn’t make him feel good as a man.
— Kimberly Nicole Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) October 11, 2018
What a sad, perfect distillation of the male weakness that hides beneath so much apparent male strength.
Kanye says he felt disempowered by the slogan “I’m with her.” Solidarity experienced as threat, as smallness. https://t.co/AQJ7Ghn2tN
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) October 11, 2018
Or, somewhere on the edge of pop psychology and offense-giving state that he has “daddy issues” after he said that Trump represented a “father figure to him.”
I have daddy issues too, Kanye. Work them out on Grindr like a normal person.
— Randy Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) October 11, 2018
“MALE ENERGY.” You know, this constant search for a daddy figure is going to be the death of humanity. If centuries of religious wars and colonial genocide haven’t taught us anything about autocratic patriarchy by now, Darwin help us.
— White Daddy Search (@thespinsterymc) October 11, 2018
Others just decided to stick the boot in.
Trump was even shocked by how much “boot licking” Kanye was ready to do
— The Old Man (@oldmanebro) October 11, 2018
After ex-gf Amber Rose revealed how Kanye loved to have his anus manually probed — fearing his buddies in the hip-hop community would think his love of ‘anal pleasuring’ would be seen as a ‘gateway to homosexuality’, Kanye West needed a MAGA cap to make him feel like a man again.
— Bill Madden (@activist360) October 11, 2018
Kanye is a disgrace to this world. shut up about male empowerment & support women so we can finally have equality you sexist mess of a pig. As if men need empowerment when they’ve been doing what they want with women since the beginning of times, thinking that they’re superior. pic.twitter.com/SZbWYyaUb1
— dreã ⌲ (@buteracypher) October 11, 2018
Amid all the noise, there were a couple of salient points.
In the eyes of the Democrats:
– Showered with praise.
– “An example to all”
– “Role model to the youth”
– “Token black”
– “Mentally ill”
– “Race traitor”
– “Needs an intervention”
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) October 11, 2018
I mean dumb handwringing over Trump having Kanye in the Oval Office after years of slobbering over the celebs that had meetings with Obama is the exact stuff that makes everyone hate the press and like trump more.
— Brittany (@bccover) October 11, 2018
But for all the mutually assured destruction, at least the world at large was introduced to this, so something was gained.
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