Years before Donald Trump turned his Twitter meltdowns into a mainstream political event, there was one man who truly pioneered the concept of the one-sided, stream-of-consciousness tweetstorm: musician, designer and all-around ideas man Kanye West.
Whether you're talking about his bizarrely epic 2016 fight with Wiz Khalifa or the simultaneous defend-and-attack method he used to announce his design company in one of the longest rants in history back in 2012, Kanye has never been shy about using the platform to air his grievances — or to provide fans with fortune-cookie wisdom about basically everything. Therefore, you never really know what you're going to get when you see a @KanyeWest tweet: it could be hilarious, it could be baffling, it could be frightening. Unlike the prolific account of our POTUS, Kanye's Twitter feed has been one of the greatest sources of amusement that the internet has ever known — that is, until he deleted it in May 2017. But after a period of nearly one year, in mid-April, Kanye's Twitter handle reappeared on the platform.
Kanye's re-emergence was marked by an announcement that his account would be the home of a book he'd be writing in real time, and for the period of almost a week, that's exactly what it was. Pure, glorious, mind-bending titbits that only Kanye could put forth into the world. It was such a perfect reminder of a pre-Trump world that it even drove this writer, in particular, to get push notifications sent to her phone every time one of these gems was sent out into the world — and to keep those notifications turned on despite the fact that they soon became overwhelming and non-stop.
"Distraction is the enemy of vision," one said. "Style is genderless," posited another.
But on April 21, the goodness came to an abrupt and catastrophic end, one that has been ongoing, ugly, and, at the time of publication, still careening all over Twitter. It all began with a tweet that was sent on Saturday morning, one that praised an arch-conservative Trump supporter who has been vehemently anti-Black Lives Matter. "I love the way Candace Owens thinks," it said — and from there, the backlash was swift and well-warranted. In other words, Kanye's period of unabashed glory had clearly come to an end — unless you're Bill O'Reilly, who popped up the next day to defend Kanye's honour in what almost reads like a parody tweet:
Kanye West finds himself under attack by the American Stalinists. Please read my column posted right now on https://t.co/fqUvO5EEW0 about the attack crew. Frightening. I'll deal with Mr. West tomorrow.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) April 22, 2018
Just in case you were somehow able to look past this whole thing (I wasn't, and turned off those once-celebratory notifications), Kanye popped up again on April 23 to share with the world yet more ill-advised thinking: this time, it was a series of clips taken from a to-camera (and super ridiculous) video made by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Adams has a long history of misogynistic behaviour and thinking, and is a long-time Trump supporter who truly believes that our president is the smartest man on Earth. Taken in sum, it would appear that Kanye's Twitter rant suggests that we are all trapped in our own "mental prisons" and Trump is the only one who's been able to break free, and that we should all, for some reason, aspire to be more like Trump to be free.
Again, even if you were to somehow convince yourself that Kanye isn't aspiring to join the more alt-right among us, it's here that the scariest thing of all came about. Regardless of whether or not these tweets resonated in the wrong way with the audience that received them, they're being taken as a sign that Kanye's ready to take on his position as hero of the right-wing extremists which have been proliferating online:
.@kanyewest I admire your bold moves against the thought police. And if you want to see these control-freak vampires really go crazy, please join me on my broadcast!👌
— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) April 23, 2018
There you have it: Alex Jones, noted denier of reality and all-around terror-based conservative troll, has officially announced himself as team Kanye. And so long as he keeps sharing thoughts along these lines (and chooses not to distance himself from these kingpins of internet sludge), Kanye is as good as on team far right. Especially since he did apparently say "I do love Donald Trump," after all.
Suffice it to say, we're disappointed. Kanye's return to Twitter showed such promise — and now, like many formerly good things in America these days, he too has gotten caught up in the political muck.