As someone who is tired of seeing people bullied, persecuted, and hit with the scarlet letter of social ostracism for the sin of holding controversial or “unacceptable” personal opinions, rap superstar Kanye West is a revolutionary breath of fresh air, while Shania Twain has proven to be a sniveling coward.
This has nothing to do with politics. This is about preserving free speech, which these days means standing up to organized social media mobs. And I can prove it. In December of 2016, I praised actor Charlie Sheen for refusing to apologize after he used his Twitter account to ask God to “take” President Trump. Sheen belligerently closed this request with a “fuck you” emoji.
“Sheen is facing some serious blowback and still standing his ground,” I wrote at the time. “I say this is good for America. We need more of this. We need more people willing to express themselves in ways that make others uncomfortable. And we need fewer spineless cowards like Steve Martin who assume the fetal position as soon as Disapproval rears its fascist head.”
If you recall, comedian and actor Steve Martin scurried away like a punk after he was criticized for using the word “beautiful” to describe the late Carrie Fisher.
Sheen’s tweet (which is still live) is something I would never tweet about anyone, much less a president, which is the whole point of my defense. My personal opinion and values are not the point. If you want to live in a country where everyone is free to express themselves without fear of losing their jobs or careers, without fear of being blacklisted from the public square by a Twitter or Facebook, without being bullied into an Orwellian apology, you have to defend those who personally offend you.
We all have a God-given right to be an asshole, and those assholes are the canaries in the free speech coal mine. As long as assholes are free to be assholes, the rest of us are safe.
So this is about free speech, not Trump.
Prior to today, all I knew about Kanye West is that he was the guy who said President George W. Bush does not care about black people (and later apologized), that he was not at all happy when Taylor Swift beat Beyonce at the 2009 video music awards, and that he is a giant in the world of music and culture.
I also know Kanye met with then-President-elect Trump at Trump Tower, which was a pretty big deal at a time when America’s corrupt media and cultural elite were still reeling from Hillary’s loss and already in a desperate crusade to polarize the country against Trump by toxifying him. But there was Kanye, not only meeting with Trump but agreeing to a photo-op.
All I know about Shania Twain is that about 15-years-ago she starred in some sexy music videos, sold a gajillion albums, and disappeared for a long time.
So I have no dog in the Kanye/Shania thing, no pre-conceived biases.
This week that all changed.
Despite his past boorish behavior, Kanye has proven himself a man. Despite her good looks (which in my book forgives a woman almost anything), Twain is a pathetic mouse.
Kanye not only stood up for Candace Owens, a black woman who dares to espouse conservative ideas, according to reports, he is openly telling friends that he “loves Trump.” Naturally, the blowback from the fascist left, the organized left that demands ideological purity and conformity, most especially from black people, has been brutal.
Kanye’s response, however, has only been to double down, to stand up to the mob, to defend intellectual freedom. He refuses to apologize. He refuses to back down. While I have no idea what his politics are, he is firmly standing up for free speech, and that is good enough for me.
Yes, some believe he is just trying to garner attention to promote his upcoming album.
If that is his motive, look how he is going about it. Rather than sucking up to his base, he is provoking them, asking them to think, and looking to his expand his base with that half of the country the entertainment media wrote off decades ago.
And then there is Shania Twain, who is already a pop/country legend, who already has more money than she could ever spend and a jam-packed trophy case, but she still lacks the moral poise and presence of mind to stand up for herself.
After admitting in an interview that Trump’s straight-forward style would have won her vote (she’s Canadian), the social media mob howled and Twain folded as fast as anyone ever has by tweeting a mealy-mouthed apology.
The result? Now no one respects Twain. Had she done the moral thing and told the mob to go to hell, she would have at least earned the respect of Trump supporters. Now both sides see her as pathetic, and once you give in to the bullies, things only get worse. Twain is not seen a low-hanging fruit and will have to watch everything she says going forward…
Meanwhile, Kanye West is freer today than he was just a few days ago.