What a week! Being Jewish has never been easy. And I am in no way comparing the public fall from “grace” of a loose cannon, unstable genius who has always found it necessary to publicly embarrass himself (and others – see George W. Bush, Taylor Swift etc.) to the countless atrocities inflicted upon the Jews since the dawn of Judaism.
But this particular circus is scary…the acts themselves, many of the comments on social media and elsewhere, the tacit nods of appreciation, the silence (in pockets), the delayed response by Nazi-founded affiliate Adidas, the emboldened hate groups, and the greater macro-dynamics and undertones. So scary, in fact, that IDROS has been compelled to weigh in on this seismic event and subsequent fallout instigated by a racist, narcissistic buffoon who has regularly spewed more bullshit than high season in Pamplona.
He has always told us who he is. Pink’s prescient but easy 2009 Twitter post following Ye’s selfish, rude and misguided grandstanding at the MTV VMAs has never seemed more relevant. But he has consistently told us that he is not only an ass, but a racist, immature little man-child who believes the world revolves around him and all others should kiss the sacred ground he walks upon. When someone tells us repeatedly who he or she is…it is incumbent upon us to BELIEVE him/her. But in our culture, the good ole dollar means more than anything. We see it again and again. If someone can produce movies, or run a hedge fund, or throw/run with a football, or hit a baseball, or host a TV show, or tell jokes or govern a Southern state, or run an oil company, or own a professional sports team, or run a large real estate company, or own a media company, etc. very, very well (and others profit from these talents)…well then letting a racist/misogynistic/homophobic comment or tweet slide is par for the course. Those who prove they can make other people money are pretty much untouchable…even for nefarious and illegal actions, let alone their hallowed and protected right to speak (or type) freely.
And damn him, but Yeezus could make money. Pretty much everything he touched turned to gold. So his inner circle and various media outlets have turned a blind eye or ignored him at every turn, scoffing…”oh Kanye…he so crazy” or “he’s off his meds, don’t mind him” or “don’t be so thin skinned…it’s only words” or “Kanye being Kanye…don’t mind him” along the way. Worse, some protected him to the point that they buried some extremely dangerous quotes and off-the-record comments (like his adulation for Hitler, which was nearly the title of his eponymous album we know as Ye).
Let me be clear: Ye and his enablers are dangerous! And they kept a lot of the most serious and disturbing rhetoric out of the public eye for years. Why…because he was their golden goose (or because they feared being sued for libel/slander). And I have issue with that last part (and the first part, of course) because shouldn’t media members be encouraged to blow a whistle on thoughts, comments and ideas that could present a danger to others? Isn’t it similar to a doctor or lawyer breaking patient/client confidentiality to prevent a crime? He did make a very antisemitic public comment in 2013, discussing Obama, but it wasn’t followed by a shitstorm of follow up Jew hatred, double downs and refusals to apologize that accompanied his latest episode, and so it was promptly swept under the rug and dismissed as “Kanye being Kanye.”
The PoS Ye has 30 million social media followers. THIRTY F-ING MILLION! That is twice the Jewish population of the entire world. There are levels of wrong, just as there are levels of responsibility. His misguided hate speech (which likely could have been nipped somewhat in the bud, or at least mitigated had one of his enablers or media protectors acted sooner (like in 2018 when he professed his love and adulation for the Fuhrer)). Clearly this latest outburst was inciteful. White supremacists proudly hung antisemitic banners over a freeway in the second most populous city in our country and gave the Nazi salute while the hatred swayed in the wind below them. Too many comments on every mainstream social media outlet praised the rapper, echoed his sentiments and said he was “right.”
That is why Elon Musk welcoming him with open arms to his soon-to-be owned bird-brained social media company was so scary to me…and should be to the rest of you. That is also why the self-proclaimed genius’ deal to buy Parler is terrifying. (And don’t get me started on the likes of Tucker Carlson).
I am all for free speech. People confuse financial consequences and social ostracization with legal ramifications (read: there are none in a country with protected free speech) all the time. They whine every time “cancel culture” rears its head; they talk about the good old days, when comedy was free to be comedy (read: people had free reign to attack every marginalized group out there for laughs, no matter at whose expense those laughs came. About the great free wheeling days of Mad Men, when boys could be boys and make sexual innuendos and bang every co-ed in the office, no matter the power dynamic (and back then, the power dynamic always tilted Y Chromosome). The problem is not “cancel culture.” The problem is the unchecked criminal behavior: the hate crimes and incitement of violence. As for the “cancel culture” response, it can be overdone and wielded more heavy-handed than it should be in some cases…like everything else in America, we can’t do anything in moderation. We don’t understand the concept.
But in this case, the Heartless rapper deserves everything that has come thus far, and so much more.
Bottom line, words have consequences. You are seeing that in real time.
Social Media wasn’t a thing when our Bill of Rights was written, and many of its nuances could not be anticipated.
There is a reason members of the KKK wore (and continue to wear) hoods. They didn’t (don’t) want their doctors, lawyers, neighbors, children’s teachers, etc. to know they were in the Klan.
I do not believe speech should be protected if the speech is made anonymously. After all, what then are we protecting? And whom? Put your name on it. Say it without a pillowcase covering your hateful face.
This becomes even more germane (again, not Jackson) in the modern world, where people toss salvos and vitriol from the comfort of their basements (or more likely, their mother’s), using fake profiles, stolen pictures and no repercussions. And those are the actual human trolls. What of the tech-generated, algorithm-based bots? And these will get more and more dangerous with the development of better AI, and more time to learn about humanity and what makes us tick. And believe me…they are learning at exponential speeds.
What goes on in the shadows is and has always been terrifying. Zed’s basement in Pulp Fiction exists, on some level, all over the world. Add to that the element of tech-driven, undetectable, dangerous and inciteful language and behavior and we have a recipe for unimaginable consequences. Jews invariably will be targeted at a higher rate than all others and recently have been seeing an uptick in hate crimes (from our base line which was already unenviable). It is not surprising that most Jews are portrayed as neurotic in all movies and tv shows…we are. And we have every right to be.
Which leads back to the clown prince of Jew Hatred.
How can a billionaire, who has literally found uber success in everything he has touched (from fashion to music production to performance art) have any reason to blame Jews for anything? Oh no, a Jew told him “NO.” Sorry, I guess you will have to go back to your miserable billionaire life and all your other successes. But nobody puts baby in a corner. Nobody can say no to Kanye. Especially one of the Jewish faith. And so it’s open season, not only on the specific person who said no, but on all Jews.
Interestingly, in his song “Who Gon Stop Me” he mentions the Holocaust (and equates the street thug experience of African Americans to the Holocaust). It’s best to avoid comparisons of the Shoah in general, but I guess poetic license in a song lyric can be somewhat justified (you be the judge). Still, what I find intriguing is that his protagonist in this song (and the very title) has the same very cavalier attitude as its author did following his latest barrage of antisemitic outbursts…he literally tweeted that he can say whatever antisemitic garbage he wants, and his most valuable partner (Adidas) can’t do anything about it (aka, who gon stop me). Talk about life imitating art.
Aside from his 30 million adoring followers (and likely more in his overall fanbase) and the comments many of them wrote in response to Ye’s recent Twitterstorm…do you know what really keeps me up at night?
HE OWNS A SCHOOL! Let that sink in.
Sure, it closed down in the wake of this fiasco (though the letter to parents insinuates that the school will be back, open and ready to taint (read: indoctrinate) innocent minds in 2023. And as of this writing, it seems it may not close at all.
A friggin’ school! And a school cloaked in secrecy…I kid you not. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
I mean…as the old adage goes…give a kid a Jew to hate…he or she will hate that Jew for a day (or three). Teach a kid to hate Jews…well that hatred will last a lifetime, and likely be passed down to future generations to continue the hatred. It’s the gift that spans generations. Wait, I believe I just found the new school motto. Anyone know a copyright/trademark attorney?
So yeah. IDROS is scared.
The world is a scary place for a Jew without the Jew Hate. The greed, the guns, the pandemics, the political divides, the economic woes, the war in Ukraine, terrorism, murder hornets, the war on women, sexual abuse, global warming, natural disasters, oligarchs, tyrants, homophobia, drug cartels, etc.
But for us Jews, we get so much more for our money:
We have metal detectors and police presence at our houses of worship.
We get accosted, excluded and treated unfairly on college campuses around the world by pro-Palestinian groups and a slew of other anti-Israel affiliates…even by some professors!
We face discrimination in every walk of life.
We suffer verbal and physical abuse and far too often, murder.
We are threatened more often per capita than any other race, religion or minority, through distributed flyers, graffiti, vandalism, bomb threats and other forms of harassment.
We are denied our history, our culture and our collective truth by holocaust deniers, anti-Zionists and conspiracy theorists.
We are blamed and scapegoated for pretty much everything, by everyone.
We are accused of being rich, powerful and controlling, and also for being subhuman scum.
We face antisemitism from the right and the left. Even known antisemites use us as pawns for their own political gains.
We are accused of being white when it suits people of color in their railings against white privilege, and of being of color when it suits white supremacists and other far right groups in their insane rantings and utopian ideals.
We are not white! Fellow Jews, stop checking that box on the census and on questionnaires. We are other. We always have been other and get told as much by every other group on earth regularly. Sometimes they tell us nicely…more often though, they don’t.
I have children. Jewish children. And I love raising them Jewish and showing them our traditions and discussing our history and ancestry. Going to Israel with them recently was one of the most incredible experiences I could imagine. A dream come true.
But…I am dreading the talk. My kids are too young to really learn about the Holocaust (and the inordinate number of other sickening and genocidal acts of horror inflicted upon us throughout history). To really grasp what it means to be a Jew. Black parents often mention having “the talk” with their children…about their horrific history. About Jim Crow. About institutional racism, red lining, block busting and gerrymandering. About how to interact with police and authorities. About what to do, and not do, if/when they ever get pulled over, etc. And it’s truly heartbreaking that they must have those discussions.
We Jews have our own version of the talk. And IDROS dreads that day…the day my children lose their innocence and learn the truth about our heritage. About what that means, and has meant for their grandparents, and great grandparents. About why there are significant holes in our family tree. About the loss, and the torture, and the starvation. About the freezing cold, the never-ending shivering. About the forceful exile and imprisonments, and the squalor and disease. About the seizure of their belongings, and homes. About their abandonment. About the not knowing. About the omnipresent fear. About their night terrors, and pent-up rage. About Sophie’s Choice-like decisions they all had to make. About their salvation/liberation, only to return to homes that had been stolen from them, and neighbors who wanted them to (read: forced them to) leave. About Israel, a beacon of hope, and how it was attacked from all sides the day it declared its independence. About the two subsequent wars all of its neighbors waged unsuccessfully. About the continued terrorism by the Palestinian, Lebanese and Iranian backed militias. About the pogroms. About the purging of Jews from all countries in the Middle East. About the 1972 Olympics. About the Tree of Life and Beth Israel Colleyville Synagogues. About the Paris attacks, and those in the Jewish day school in Toulouse. About Charlottesville and the tiki torches. About Daniel Pearl. And on and on and on.
So thank you Kanye, for giving me 30 million more reasons to dread that rapidly approaching day…the day I must show my own children that I am afraid and officially welcome them to their reality…to the most hated group on our planet. You, like your idol Adolf, will not succeed. Enjoy your hateful life.
Love and Light,