Kanye West, Anger, And The ‘New Charter of Living’
Kanye West has recently outraged a large segment of American society that still believes America is a biblically inspired Republic, embodying the values of its Constitution.
He has done so by publicly threatening not just one or two specific Jews but the entire Jewish people. This is well within the spirit of the classical medieval antisemitism, once largely religious, that was secularized by Mussolini and Adolf Hitler during the 20th century, with horrific results.
West comes by his Jew hatred “dishonestly,” for it is well documented that, since the death of Reverend Martin Luther King Junior, an admirer and defender of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, medieval antisemitism has seeped into the African American community via the likes of Malcolm X and the despicable Louis Farrakhan.
West is not an original thinker or a thinker at all; he is just the next in a series of high-profile American antisemites, and the news is now filled with these facts about his outbursts.
But there is another factor at work here, and that is West’s rage or wrath, a socially patterned emotion that has been growing among young African American as well as “White” musicians and lyricists, with their recently invented repertoire of rap and hip hop. Mr. West is one of this genre’s prime exponents, having made millions of dollars from the creation and performance of pieces within this style.
Image: Kanye West. YouTube screengrab.
Most ethnomusicologists, who are often consciously and unconsciously influenced by cultural relativism and leftist cultural politics, will no doubt take a pass on West’s latest outrage. One awaits with Job-like patience for the hoped-for tidal wave of outraged protest from the American ethnomusicological and musicological community, comfortably ensconced in America’s liberal arts colleges and universities. But other scholars without blinders may give us one of the keys to understanding West’s well-publicized outburst of hatred.
Dr. Peter Wood is the President of the National Association of Scholars, an organization of educators and researchers dedicated to monitoring “wokeness” on the American campus and advocating a return to liberal education. Wood, a professional anthropologist, has turned his ethnographic eye on his own society America, and his book, Wrath, America Enraged has much to say about the growing acceptance of public demonstrations of rage coming from the American left and from the stars of pop culture.
On page 54 of his book, Wood argues that the new rage permeates popular music. He lists eleven of what he considers to be the angriest anthems of popular music from 2000 to 2013. Number seven is Kanye West’s song, “Black Skinhead” (2013). It is important to share the lyrics:
For my theme song My leather black jeans on My by any means on Pardon, I’m getting my scream on Enter the kingdom But watch who you bring home They see a black man with a white woman At the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong Middle America packed in Came to see me in my black skin Number one question they asking Fuck every question you asking If I don’t get ran out by Catholics Here come some conservative Baptists Claiming I’m overreacting Like them black kids in Chiraq bitch
For those well-read in history, modern, socially patterned anger often ends up being directed at Jews and Jewish symbols. To add insult to injury, just three days ago, on October 17, 2022, the Times of Israel reported this latest outburst from Mr. West:
Kanye West launched into a fresh tirade against Jewish people during a podcast appearance on Sunday, after being restricted from major social media platforms for similar rants.
The hip-hop star, now known as Ye, spoke on Revolt TV’s “Drink Champs” podcast, hosted by rapper N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, where he made antisemitic claims regarding Jewish ties to media and wealth
“You get used to paparazzi taking a picture of you, and you don’t get money off it. You just get used to being screwed by the Jewish media,” West raged, adding that “the Jewish media blocked me out.”
Anyone who reads today’s news knows that places like New York City are experiencing an upsurge in random violence that has three roots: Critical Race Theory, a movement to defund the police, and a popular culture that demonizes “whiteness” (whatever that means, but, ah…It means multi racial supporters of the Constitution, for when African Americans express these sentiments, they are accused of being white!).
And so, artists (?) like Kanye West are both a cause and a symptom of the new anarchy that is permeating North American popular culture. Dr. Wood puts it succinctly:
…The wrath right now…draws on the cultural dynamics of new anger. We can see the difference in several ways. This wrath is self-consciously and conspicuously theatrical…Cancel culture is too. And Black Lives Matter, a total inversion of the civil rights movement, is new anger writ large and in flames. It is wrath as a charter of living.
And Kanye West is selling the new anger with everything at his disposal.