Kanye West has been behaving erratically as of late – could be the opener of an article written at any point over the course of the past 15 years.
Truly, folks have seen and heard so much of the “crazed genius” act that to say it’s worn thin at this point would be an understatement.
But again we find ourselves digesting headline after headline detailing the antics of the rapper/producer – this time he’s gotten himself in hot water over antisemetic comments which have cost him support from fans, peers, and sponsors alike – his highly lucrative clothing deal with Adidas being one of the latest and most substantial casualties of West’s latest episode.
Thankfully, we have another wealthy media personality to guide us with their sage wisdom through the ordeal, this time in the form of podcast personality Joe Rogan, who implores his listeners to have some patience with the egomaniacal attention vacuum who has made a career out of trying people’s patience for well over a decade now.
Rogan, a frequent critic of the “cancel culture” phenomenon, says in a recent episode of his highly successful Joe Rogan Experience podcast that the solution to dealing with Kanye West is to have a conversation with him.
He then points to a recent exchange between Lex Fridman and West during which Fridman asserts that West should approach individuals with whom he has a problem as such: individuals – rather than making generalized statements disparaging entire ethnoreligious groups.
Perhaps this stands to reason in theory: psychological research historically tells us that when children act out, the behavior generally doesn’t stem from a malicious or or aggressive place – but one from which understanding and support is being sought.
And as folks so often forget, children are just smaller, less developed adults.
The problem here is threefold, the first component of which is this: the average person can’t simply sit down and have a conversation with Kanye West.
People with access to platforms tend to approach the world in such a way as to assume that everyone has similar access to such resources, when in reality it’s a highly limited subset.
As such, when highly successful and influential individuals make statements to which many people take exception, they are generally safeguarded from any type of accountability by their celebrity status, financial standing, or influential connections. Therefore, the “canceling” of these individuals, for most, becomes the only recourse.
Consider the following scenario: You’re at the supermarket minding your own business when someone makes a hateful, racially charged remark which pertains directly to you. The reaction most folks would have would be to punch the person in the mouth, or at the very least, to say something in retaliation.
Conversely, if a famous person made that same remark, there would be no means of said punching in the mouth or retaliatory verbal firing back, as that individual would generally be inaccessible to the average Walmart shopper.
So in being hypercritical of the “canceling” of these individuals, we are essentially demanding that folks roll over and accept sentiments that are offensive to their being, which is a pretty sorry and yellow-bellied reaction to any sort of attack.
Secondly, to disregard the issue of access and pretend for a moment that to “have a conversation” with Kanye West is actually a viable option for every person – people simply don’t have the capacity to talk it out Full House style with every person they come across who has the inclination to behave in the manner of a childish, narcissistic halfwit.
People have problems of their own, and the patience to be the bigger person and navigate the convoluted inner workings of contumacious, inconsiderate attention seekers is generally a courtesy reserved for one’s own children, family, close friends etc, and oftentimes it’s a struggle for folks to find it within themselves to extend that courtesy to loved ones.
In no world should the average person attempting to navigate their day in an increasingly stressful society be expected to cater to and coddle whiny adult billionaires, which brings us to the third issue.
To assume that people like Kanye West will simply be willing to cease their repeatedly exhibited patterns of reckless, inconsiderate, destructive, and toxic behavior is an oversimplification at best, and is a quixotic excuse for a solution to a much more complex issue.
The doe-eyed naivety of such a sentiment is comparable to the idea that paper straws are the solution to the environmental destruction brought about by mass waste put into hyper-drive by a capitalism-obsessed society at large.
Furthermore, people aren’t obligated to extend olive branches to others who repeatedly indicate their own unwillingness to even consider looking inward, and that lack of consideration doesn’t deputize anyone else with the responsibility of doing the work for them.
So yes, in an ideal world, every problem could be solved with a conversation after which we would all hold hands and sing along to Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits. Nonetheless, to imply that this is any kind of tangible solution is a disingenuous notion at best, and a dangerous dismissal of reality at worst.
At the end of the day, you cannot help people who do not wish to be helped, and you cannot get through to people who have committed themselves solely to the echo chamber of their own limited perception of the world around them.