If you’ve been following the Twitter happenings in the last few days (the Twappenings?…I’ll work on it) you’ve seen both the left and the right explode over Kanye West’s acknowledgment of black conservative Candace Owens.
Owens herself was naturally excited (who wouldn’t be) and right-wing social media shared his post with glee and fascination. The left-wing predictably freaked out.
Never one to let a good cultural battle go to waste, MSNBC’s Joy Reid took the opportunity to poke at the right-wing excitement over Yeezy’s comment.
Ok, I giggled at “Chachi”. I’m no fan of Reid’s “professional crank” schtick but I have to admit that if you sift through her sass, she actually does make a fine point.
It’s no secret that I believe conservatives have spent way too much time focusing on policy and governmental issues and not nearly enough time focusing on the culture. It was Andrew Breitbart’s entire reason for setting foot in the political sphere in the first place, and I’ve often said that if he were alive today he’d most likely be doing more work in the entertainment field and less in the political sphere.
Politics is downstream of culture.
Liberal ideology didn’t take American culture by force. Conservatives abandoned it. They left it behind as too silly, too inane, too fluffy. It can rightfully be said that left-wing ideology routinely dismisses the realities of human nature. In the case of culture, right-wing ideology has done the same.
Most Americans don’t really care about tax structuring, deficits or regulations. Not on a daily basis. Those subjects are extremely important but they are dry. They’re boring!
But most Americans are also very much willing to absorb ideas about these subjects that are folded into their favorite shows and songs, or expressed by their favorite artists in an easily digestible soundbite. When conservatives abandoned the culture for loftier pursuits, liberals filled the space left behind and now we have a pop culture sector that is almost exclusively occupied by liberal thought and creations.
Reid is right in that many conservatives will pretend like they don’t care about celebrity and pop culture. I don’t agree with her assessment that conservatives are “satisfied” with the Ted Nugent’s of the world but I do agree with her point that follows. Conservatives certainly do thirst for cultural relevance. Many of us do realize that when conservatives of the past acquiesced pop culture to the left, we also abandoned our seat at the table of power.
There certainly is an excitement that spreads among the right when celebrities like Kanye West say what he said. Much like Reid, I find it a bit hypocritical. We conservatives are always talking about how the opinions of celebrities who speak from gated communities and ivory towers are worthless and should never be given any weight. Then we fawn all over anyone with celebrity status (past or present) who risks espousing conservative values out loud.
And those people generally turn out to be “Chachis”…people who don’t have a lot of mainstream career-cred left to lose.
I wouldn’t agree that the entire right wing is “giddy” over Kanye, but many are; and the reason they’re giddy is that so many of them feel not just abandoned by Hollywood, but regularly insulted by Hollywood despite their dollars going to support the lavish lifestyles of those who ungratefully malign conservatives with their platforms.
I’m not giddy about Kanye. And you’re right. You and your leftist pals control American culture and just LOOK AT IT.
Disgusting, vile and depraved. Thanks for admitting it’s all your fault.
Now fix it. https://t.co/Da5I0YmKJH
— Stacy Washington (@StacyOnTheRight) April 23, 2018
This isn’t the left’s fault. Generations of conservatives before us declared pop culture too vile to participate in. They didn’t understand that leaving the entertainment cave with the last flashlight would just mean more darkness. The space is still occupied, but now there’s no one there to shed any light.
So yes, modern conservatives certainly do thirst for power and influence on the cultural stage. We long to have our views represented as what they are – normal and common. Liberal entertainers continue to represent those views as reprehensible because they rarely have any connection to the America that lies beyond their world of bodyguards and limousines.
So how do we stop sounding so thirsty?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: stop raising politicians. Stop trying to make our conservative children into political pundits and stars at CPAC. Stop trying to isolate our kids from the culture. Rather, expose them to the culture by guiding them through it and teaching them how navigate a vile world with grace and courage. Raise your kids to be programmers and video game designers, and then when they grow up to run the next Google or Facebook we won’t be having these ridiculous battles over censorship on social media.
Raise your kids to be writers and creatives. Don’t scoff at your artist brother or nephew just because you don’t think he’s pursing a profitable career. Encourage your niece or sister who dreams of being a pop artist or songwriter. Even those “Tinsel Town” dreams can turn into influential and lucrative careers. The entertainment industry isn’t just about flash. There are tons of jobs that support the final product – producers, sound engineers, grips, make-up artists…the list goes on and on.
Don’t turn up your nose at good entertainment or those who enjoy it.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone posts a rude comment from a popular entertainer like (just for example) Miley Cyrus and inevitably some conservative scold pops into the comments to drop a, “Miley WHO??? I couldn’t care less about some pop bimbo”.
Well, first of all you know damn well who that person is, and if you don’t that’s not a badge of honor. You shouldn’t be proud that you don’t know who the people influencing your children and grandchildren are; and make no mistake, the Miley Cyrus’ of the world have a profound influence on your young ones.
Let’s get back in the game. We’ll see more of ourselves represented as “normal” in the seat of pop culture if we start participating in that world again.
Joy Reid is right on this one – we’re too thirsty…embarrassingly so. It’s time to be the ones at the well again. It’s time to be the ones who quench America’s thirst for entertainment instead of passively hoping guys like Kanye West will prove us right.