I Loved Kanye West and Hated Taylor Swift. Then 2018 Happened.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever side with Swifties.

Comments: 184

  1. Taylor Swift didn't say, "Vote for Phil Bredesen for US Senate and Jim Cooper for US House because I'm a celebrity and I'll vote for them." Swift pointed out that Bredesen's opponent, Marsha Blackburn, "voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act." She's using her position to inform voters. Good for her.

  2. @Eric J She also stated that blackburn's vote history was appalling and terrified her. Steve Schmidt rated Blackburn a 13 on a 1-10 scale of crazy. "Marsha Blackburn, who has voted against equal pay for women multiple times, insisting that “women don’t want it”. She’s also a co-sponsor of the “Birther Bill”, denies that Mitt Romney ever passed a healthcare program in Massachusetts, and gave an infamous interview where she falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act was a violation of HIPAA, and when asked repeatedly to explain how that’s even possible, she just kept repeating the same falsehood robotically without actually providing any logical answer. She was also a big proponent of the 2013 Government Shutdown, and on the day it began, went on FOX and Friends to optimistically predict that it would actually teach ordinary Americans about all the “big government” ideas that were being defunded that they can do without.at the South Carolina Freedom Summit and claimed Christians were a persecuted minority in the United States. When reporters followed up on her remarks and asked her to name an example of such persecution, she failed to be able to cite a single one.

  3. further- "as a participant in GOP’s Planned Parenthood witch hunt insisted that after all investigations had been concluded that PP had still been caught “selling baby body parts”, and during the paranoia around the affair, attempted to use the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation as a means to demand a complete list of every medical students, residents, or other medical personnel around the country who have ever participated in an abortion, because there’s no way that such a thing would enable domestic terrorists in the radical anti-choice movement to assassinate those people. Votes for- 2/16/17-HJR 69, to make it legal for hunters on wildlife reserves to kill several species of hibernating bears or wolves while they’re sleeping. 3/16/17:HR 1181, which would allow veterans deemed mentally incompetent to continue to own firearms, and not have them taken away without a judge’s written order. 5/4/17:House GOP’s healthcare plan, that would kick roughly 24M people off their health insurance plans, allow up to 28K more people to die a year, give $50K in tax breaks to millionaires, and would eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions which would include such medical conditions as pregnancy (current or past), postpartum depression, or prior sexual assault." She is extremely dangerous. One would hope the very low bar would require that our elected officials would have their feet grounded in reality. But apparently that is just a bridge too far in this political climate.

  4. @Sharon I wonder if it's the "Tennessee-ness" in her? (I can say that because Ah'm frum Tennessee.)

  5. Good for you for realizing what utter nonsense it is to put stock in celebrity endorsements. They are, aside from musical/acting/dance talent (except Ms Kardasian whose 'talent' is an open question), they are just ordinary citizens like the rest of us.

  6. @Anne-Marie Hislop With all due respect, some celebrities are actually well-informed global citizens and I like to hear what they have to say about the issues.

  7. @Panthiest Yeah, but that's a poor reflection on you; especially as a Democrat. Ms Swift is a thick as a brick as they say. She's seen the inside of a thousand foreign music venues, and speaks how many foreign languages exactly/ She's been to a hundred countries and can name the leaders of how many of those? On the other hand, maybe her heart's in the "right place" and she's be. en spreading some of her multiple-millions among the less-well-off. Or taking aserious interest in teh "equal pay" issue and hiring loads of talented women to organize and produce her shows and music... Hmmm. Nah, not doing that either.... So, in efefct, all your comment means is "I love being mislead by Taylor, when she spouts hypocritical nonsense". But WHY?

  8. Or maybe we should just pay less attention to celebrities in general. Maybe we should enjoy them as entertainers instead of idolizing them. Maybe we should cultivate an appreciation for performance that prepares us for the complexities of what artists express and deepens us. Maybe we shouldn't have voted in a reality-show host as president because we don't know the difference between celebrity and leadership.

  9. @C Wolfe exactly!

  10. @C Wolfe Hmmm. Mr Obama had lead exactly what before YOU voted for him? Eight activist lawyers and hangers-on in murder-capital USA (Chicago)? Then along comes Trump who's been leading, very successfully, an organization with tens of thousands of staff....for decades. And with HIS OWN MONEY at stake. Gee...and YOU claim that OTHER people don't know what leadership is? BTW: Should you be of the opinion that Trump has not been successful in business, facts are that 40% of people who inherit business "empires" blow them up, and that more than 90% of "family businesses" are wrecked by either the inheritors, or else THEIR kids. Trump, and his savvy offspring are very successful by any standard!

  11. For a deeper look at Kanye West's peculiar place in the American political scene read Tanahisi Coates recent piece in the Atlantic. Politicians have always used celebrities as props and Trump is no exception. But because lets not assume that because someone is a great artist they are also an astute political analyst. When you turn on the news channels, especially PBS you see former government officials and people from think tanks. Most are white (over 80%) and you never see serious issues being discussed by entertainers. This is not to say that some entertainers have done the work to earn a right to be at the mic. Danny Glover comes to mind as does Harry Belafonte. Their work in the political arena broadened their perspective, knowledge and capacity to provide analysis. Kanye West simply hasn't done that work. Coates accurately points out that he doesn't even read on the subjects that he publicly speaks about, such as the 13th Amendment. So let's take Wests meeting with Trump for what it is. Two egos being massaged by a photo op. For serious politics strike Kanye off your list.

  12. The only thing I can see that these two people have in common is the music industry. I don't listen to their music but from what I've read about them Ms. Swift is a thoughtful, calm, engaged global citizen, while Mr. West is on the verge of going insane and seeks attention in whatever way he can. I'll go with Ms. Swift on this one.

  13. @Panthiest huh. Swift is directly quoted...“I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.” And from somewhere else you draw the conclusion that she knows plenty about politics[ is calm and engaged? Really..... Isn't it time for older types to start LISTENING to what younger women have to say....instead of transferring YOUR thoughts onto them?

  14. What surprised me about Ms Swift's declaration was its eloquence. This girl can string a word or two together, and not just in a song. What Mr West tells me is there's no accounting for musical genius. How can he have said the tings he's said in the past, and support Donald Trump?

  15. Taylor Swift is brilliant. She stages and arranges all of her productions down to the last detail. Most performers have a crew that does that. At a very young age, she took over the music business. She has to be top of the line CEO material to be able to do that. Her fan base originated in country music, which is very conservative. She kept quiet about politics, most likely for business reasons and she did realize that she needed to learn more about the world. She's all grown up now. She owns the music industry. She has power. Now, with the current conditions caused by Trump, this is her time to speak out. Now they will listen to her. Her statement for the Democrats was polished and sophisticated, the mark of a mature individual. Taylor Swift is not another version of the nonstop Kardashian show. She is the real deal, a titan of her industry. Make some noise Taylor.

  16. @Bruce Rozenblit She's not a country singer and never was.

  17. @me: One of her first songs was about Tim McGraw. Yes, it was indeed a country song. I remember hearing her on NPR when she was 16 years old (just as she was beginning to be discovered) and I thought, "That kid is going to go places." Sheplays multiple instruments, writes her own lyrics (very unusual in the pop world), and is a very savvy business women. She's also gracious and poised. If I had teen daughters, I'd want her to be a role model for them.

  18. @Bruce Rozenblit Please re-read the article. In your exuberant expression of fandom, think you may have missed the point.

  19. Bravo! It takes a certain amount of self awareness and courage not only to recognize an error, but make a public Mea Culpa. May your recognition that celebrity doesn’t equal expertise in other fields, or true leadership spread and a new generation will rise that will look for their leaders to be the smartest people in the room, not just the richest and loudest.

  20. @Mom Of 3 Girls It's always the same with the "new generation'.Tthey know very little and are mostly bedazzled by glitz and glamour, whether it be entertainers, or politicians. Eventually most of them wake up and start thinking instead of being overcome by "the vibe". Real life teaches them stuff. And of course there's the famous PT Barnum, who when asked how he expected to keep fooling the gullible, naive, and not-too-bright forever, answered "Simple. There's a sucker BORN EVERY MINUTE" That is your "new generation" Mr Barnum was referring to.

  21. Congratulations, Ms. Mzezewa, for having the courage to change your mind. Yes, celebrities are just people that we have elevated to some magic place in the world. We can admire and love their work but they are just people. Look at how many of the people we admire - and put the heavy burden of being more than human onto - use drugs or kill themselves. They are not superhuman - they are just people like the rest of us. I am thrilled that Ms. Swift now feels she has enough knowledge to speak up about the current political climate and endorse Socially Conscious political candidates in her home state. I read a few years ago that she was building a mini-Versailles to live in and was sick to my stomach because Versailles in France was/is the epitome of insatiable, socially unconscious, morally bankrupt greed - by Marie Antionette, Charles and their Robber Baron hangers-on. It was not a golden time. It was the time of the French revolution and the French people did the only thing that would stop the corruption - they cut the heads off every single person of royalty, their hangers-on and their families as far down as they could find them. Drastic - yes. Perhaps if people like Ms. Swift, with their immense reach to average people, speak up and work for true democracy - Social and Economic Equity for ALL Americans and average people around the world - we can prevent the kind of carnage the impoverished people of France were forced into. Thanks, Ms. Swift.

  22. Beware persons that need to draw attention to themselves constantly, either to make a living as in show business, or get name recognition in politics, or because they simply crave it. We do not know these people, none of them. Most of the great ones are not on TV or social media. They are right down our streets. Find them.

  23. And this, ultimately, was the reason I couldn't vote for Cynthia Nixon for governor of New York State.

  24. @Jennifer That's not fair either. Did you take Reagan seriously?

  25. I honestly like either of them and I don't care or follow any celebrity except Anthony Bourdain. His death broke my heart and I then understand how we can feel so connected to a celebrity even they have no idea who we are. Like it or not many people are sheeples and their idols hugely influence what they think is cool and right especially when they are young. I agree that we should form our own opinions however I applaud Tay Tay for using her platform to advocates her well thoughtful opinions. Kaynes on the other hand is literally insane.

  26. It sounds like the author just grew up... Yes these are entertainers ... the art is not the artist...they have extraordinary talent in skills in their art...but in other parts of their personality they may be thoroughly average or worse...

  27. How to tell if a music performer's opinions on politics of the day are genuine or driven by an insatiable thirst for attention? The same goes for anyone else whose livelihood is based on their popularity. Much better to read various op/ed pages and/or news magazines on a regular basis and then decide for yourself.

  28. Oh brother! (Oh sister!) Tell that to Alice Johnson, a black grandmother who would be still doing a life sentence without the intervention of West and Kim Kardashian. Her freedom was justice long overdue. So as important as the urgency of prison reform is, particularly ending criminal prosecution for non-violent minor felonies like simple drug possession, we ought to applaud the President’s commutation of Johnson’s cruel sentence. Surely we need state prison reforms, for they have the largest number of prisoners such as Johnson, trapped in gulags like ones in New York and Louisiana. Trump has little or no power to commute state prison sentences affecting prisoners in Johnson’s situation. Governors of both parties have that power. Press them to use it.

  29. @Bayou Houma Trumps justice department is promoting longer crueller prison sentences over drug charges. Trump is promoting the expansion of the industrial prison complex. One sentence continued it is only a publicity stunt. I am pleased her life was saved but I am not fooled by the stunt

  30. @Bayou Houma Would we have seen any intervention at all if her family spoke to trump instead of a kardashian? She wouldn't even be on the trump radar if that was the case. trump pardoned joe arpaio; enough said.

  31. @Bayou Houma You shouldn't have to be a Kardashian or a west to have a voice that matters.

  32. "they should not advise the president on issues that affect millions of Americans." Why not? This president is so thinly informed and self interested HE has no right either morally. Trump is looking for attention, calculating politically. Perhaps West is too. I hope Ms. Swift has a more awakened and expansive mind and urges those who have registered to vote that they must actually vote. She can kick in as to why. At the moment this is about numbers, not depth of knowledge regarding policy.

  33. Other than generic go out and do some good messages to their fans, I just as soon not hear the opinion's of entertainers and people from the sport's world. Almost all of them at some point turn out to do things that make them inappropriate role models for children, and adults ought to know better than to pay attention to their ramblings. From taking advice on health issues from Gwyeneth Paltrow to listening to the Reality Show Performer in Chief (Trump), giving them any credibility is likely to give you a lot less time above ground. Swift and Kanye are just the latest that I wish could be put on mute when I read a newspaper or turn on the TV.

  34. @Kevin I contemplate the reading level of the average collegiate/professional sports luminary.

  35. Yes, I am also amazed at the way one's feeling about a celebrity can change when she or he opens their mouth. But, a favor please--enough of the "love" and "hate" thing. I think that we could all use as little less of both emotions, and if not both, than certainly hate.

  36. "We need to stop looking to stars for cues on how to vote just because we like their art." What a sad state of an informed electorate when an opinion piece needs to point out the above.

  37. Maybe don't take your political cues from celebrities. Or elect them president.

  38. Strange things happen when we find out what kind of people we have been idolizing, and are enormously disappointed in the discovery their very good, or very bad, character. Just look at Mel Gibson and Bill Cosby. Really good at what they did, but really, really bad people.

  39. So you posit that the right side of the debate is Swift, not West. That's fine, but why does the title say 'neither'?

  40. I’d be happy if entertainers just used their celebrity to say, “Go register. Then go vote.” No political freight. Just a simple exhortation to participate in the process—and thus to make our government more truly representational. Over 160,000 new voters registered in the 24 hours following Taylor Swift’s announcement. Can you imaging how many more people would exercise their franchise if more celebrities made such simple calls?

  41. I don't think we need to add more fuel to the fire.

  42. I'm too old to know much about Taylor Swift or Kanye West. I do believe it's simply human nature, especially when we are young to want to project our views and opinions onto certain artists if they provide the slightest hook. It's always disappointing to learn that an artist wasn't who we thought they were. Kanye apparently led his fans to think he was one thing and turned out to be something else altogether. Taylor Swift seems a bit different because she was a blank slate politically. It seems that a lot of conservatives projected things onto her simply because she was white and started out in country music. Their disappointment was different because it was purely based on projection. People saw what they wanted to see, but she had no history of being outspoken politically. I don't really see much point in comparing the two. They are obviously very different artists largely appealing to different audiences. The disappointment in Kanye expressed here is understandable. He actually did seem to change from past positions. Any disappointment or joy among Taylor's fans is based purely in what they expected from her. Perhaps they need to ask themselves why they expected her to be one way or the other in the first place.

  43. @Rick Does anybody else remember all the conservatives/trump support being so very upset when Bradley Cooper from the film American Sniper supported liberal causes and candidates? They felt let down. They felt betrayed. Apparently they couldn't tell the difference between a movie and an actor in the movie and real life. Welcome to the modern world.

  44. @sjs: That's nothing new. I recall hearing how members of the public would approach actors who played evil characters on soap operas and berate them for being so mean. I also recall that members of the public used to approach the actors who played the three angels on "Touched by an Angel" and ask for supernatural help.

  45. @Pdxtran And let's not forget all the people who wrote to the old TV show The Millionaire with reasons why they should be given the money.

  46. Maybe the lesson here is that you shouldn't look to any musicians for political advice or even mentorship. They are musicians not role models.

  47. @AndrewE It depends on the musician. U2's Bono (for example) knows far more about addressing worldwide poverty, the fight to contain and defeat AIDs, and debt-relief to developing nations than the current occupant of the White House.

  48. @NA True enough. Would his words be less compelling if he did not go by the moniker "Bono"? (George Carlin had some choice words about single-name monikers.)

  49. @AndrewE They are not role models. They are people with opinions like you or me and a right to express them. The fact that they are famous seem to make their opinions news-worthy. I think it is an absolute bonus that Taylor Swift urged people to vote and they listened to her and registered. She didn't even ask them to vote Democrat, just sign up and vote according to their own conscience. That's great! Nothing great about Kanye West's inane posturing.

  50. Well done Taylor Swift. Remaining politically neutral is a luxury that caring people can't afford these days. And when you have become an unwitting figurehead for white racists, you really do have an obligation to address that. The creator of Pepe the frog took a hands-off approach and look what happened.

  51. Someone needs to explain to me why Kanye West is news? I find his views on anything irrelevant, kind of like the Kardashians.

  52. @Tom I have to confess that when I first heard "Kardashian" I thought it was a reference to the "Cardashians" of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

  53. Trump and West are proof that reality TV and it’s “stars” are a sickness that’s infecting the country.

  54. Ye (as kanYE is now known), has been promoting his name ,brand ,etc. for as many years as I can remember and Nothing More. He is a Phony just like his in laws the Kardashian gang. Why did it take you as long as this to realize it?

  55. @rich g give her a break. She changed her opinion. Good for her!

  56. “As Mr. West heads to the White House, it’s worth considering what qualifications he (and his wife) have to help shape national policy. The answer is none.” The same could be said of the Stable Genius currently serving as President, as well as his wife. What’s wrong with listening to experienced people vs amateurs? If I need open heart surgery, I talk to a doctor, not the plumber.

  57. @Bill Seng Just as you don't talk to a psychiatrist about plumbing or HVAC or electrical repairs. Exception: if one wants an informed opinion on ANYTHING, talk to a politician, economist, or a Romneyesque English major MBA/JD corporate CEO.

  58. He is talented, there is no question. He is so revered by supporters and intimates that I suspect no one ever argues with him. Or says, "Kanye, that doesn't make sense to me." Or asks him what he bases his opinions on - because of his celebrity and angry eruptions when questioned. I strongly suspect that he may be bipolar. It's dangerous to have all those around you treat you like a god or guru. But at least he's not running the country.

  59. Yes, she took me by surprise and I'm grateful for her activism now. But she still can't sing.

  60. @Linda Jean - I appreciate her activism too. And millions of people like her singing. Are they all wrong?

  61. @Linda Jean: Even if you don't like her voice or lyrics, she's talented. She writes her own lyrics, plays multiple instruments, and has incredible business savvy. And she's worth more than likely all of us commenting combined (and she's generous with her wealth).

  62. One lesson in this: let's not decide we hate young, self-made female celebrities for what male supporters read into them.

  63. I've never been a fan of Taylor Swift's music, but I would also never hate her or any other celebrity for political positions they never expressed publicly. That's ignorant, in my opinion. People don't have to perform their politics, or be activists, if they don't want to. But when they DO, they should and will be rewarded or punished as their fans see fit. If we take Swift at her word, I think it's very mature and responsible to say "Hey, I'm not super informed on politics so I'm gonna keep whatever opinions I have to myself." And good for her on her recent statement; obviously she was worried about people ASSUMING (including the writer of this article) that she is a conservative. Remembering what happened to the Dixie Chicks, that's not a small thing. And with Kanye, I like his music and previous work (although his not-for-profit in Chicago has its OWN scandal marring it), but I NEVER thought he was "super woke." And it's pretty clear that Kanye has been in decline mentally since his mother died. Hence, this "MAGA" phase he's in. In a nutshell: Don't make assumptions about people's politics based on race/geography/artistic expression.

  64. I liked a lot of Kanye's older music, but he started to lose me a bit as a fan around the time Yeezus dropped. It didn't take anything away from his older music, and obviously, we knew Kanye was a little eccentric. This... is different. He is openly displaying a level of ignorance that only his most ardent supporters would defend as "logical and genius", much like Trump's ardent defenders. The only difference is Kanye does not wield the levers of power, so each time he pushes his "Image" further towards some sort of "MAGA-BLM-Felons-Should-Vote" mixture of completely juxtaposed nonsense, the world just gets to either laugh at him, or defend him. So, unlike Taylor Swift who is speaking out during this polarized time because she believes in something, Kanye is simply speaking to be heard, regardless of the effect it has, he will be the center of attention. Alas, Kanye does have influence (or... had?) within the black community. He was iconic and successful for over a decade and had previously advocated as such... but now, as he grabs for attention, the President simply uses him like a prop and he either doesn't care or is on board, which is incredibly disturbing...

  65. I deeply appreciated West's music from College Dropout in 2004 and largely ignored the celebrity chatter. It even seemed that he recognized his personal flaws and built that into his lyrics. Like many I was appalled by his statements regarding the president. But the night of Kavanaugh's confirmation took me a step further. There has been much talk about his rambling diatribe that humiliated the cast of SNL after the broadcast. What hasn't been commented on was his performance during the show. Dressed as some sort of soda bottle he performed a song that repeated the phrase 'Freaky Girl' over and over and over again. It was rhythmically monotonous, melodically non-existent and like all of West's performances nullified the contribution of all instrumentalists. What clicked for me is that for nearly 40 years (we often forget that the history of Hip-Hop) I have made excuses for Sexist and Antisemitic lyrics in Hip Hop, I have gone along with the praise of Kendrick Lamar even though there is not a line in even his best album 'Butterfly' that I find thought provoking. It is often said that Rock is a dying form and possibly that is true. But West's sexist song as a victory chant over Dr. Ford doesn't just indict him. Maybe we have been giving Hip Hop a free ride for far, far too long.

  66. @Greg Jones - I'd love to quote some of West's lyrics here but that would violate the NY Times policy on comments promoting hate speech. Ironically, that doesn't stop the NY Times from providing him with endless free publicity.

  67. As one who is mentally preparing "to shuffle off this mortal coil" and to leave cleaning up the mess to my grandchildren (let's hope they get the chance), I'm glad to see that at least some young folk can see that Kanye West is about as good a role model as the incumbent President (i.e. pretty useless).

  68. Really heartbreaking to think about Taylor Swift's total silence during the 2016 election when Trump won by a mere 79,316 votes.

  69. @Allison - A lot of things to regret about 2016. For example, after record breaking black voter turnouts in 2008 and 2012, 2016 saw the largest fall in black voter turnout ever recorded. 765,000 fewer blacks voted in 2016 than in 2012. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/12/black-voter-turnout-fell...

  70. @J Jencks Among other factors, the 2013 Supreme Court ruling which overturned the pre-clearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act allowed a whole slew of states (mostly in the south) to remove voters from the roles, close polling places in black precincts (over 1000 closed) and otherwise make it more difficult for minority voters to register and vote. So that's probably part of the issue you're addressing.

  71. @Allison Yes, would that she had held forth on the efficacy of the vaunted Electoral College.

  72. In defense of Ms. Swift's decision not to address earlier rumors about her---- the internet is a bottomless pit of crazy. It would be a full time job for a celebrity to address everything being said about her. Plus, if you deny rumor #1, but say nothing about rumor #2, the natural inference would be for folks to say that there is no denial of #2 because it must be true. It is better to say nothing.

  73. Public allegations of physical abuse by Kanye West against his exes goes back at least to 2012. His "Monster" video reveals a mind that violently objectifies women's bodies, to the point where he relishes the sexual allure of their corpses (see link below). Ironically, though the NY Times provides West with endless free publicity in the form of op-eds like yours and reviews of his latest works, I can't post his lyrics in this comment or it would violate the NY Times' policies regarding hate speech and the incitement to violence. Thanks for finally noticing he is not one of the nice guys. Here's his "Monster" video. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idz9aYXq98U

  74. For better or worse (and most likely it's for worse), we now occupy a time when good citizens feel conscience-bound to engage in the quest for social/economic/racial/gender-based justice, rather than remain voiceless and inanimate on the sidelines. Some of those good citizens happen also to be celebrities who are willing to stake some of the capital they've amassed throughout their careers to stand for issues larger than themselves. America has a rich history of actors, artists, athletes, musicians and writers who have done exactly that. Ms, Swift has just joined their ranks.

  75. I was on the wrong side, too. I now realize it says more about me than about either Ms. Swift or Mr. West. I thought her switch from country music to pop was evidence of her shallowness. Or maybe I wanted her to be shallow because her father bought her a career. On the other hand, I thought West was at least authentic, with a voice from his background that was grounded in common experience. Then their lives happened, and I realized that Swift has evolved, she has a great commercial sense and however she started, she has evolved into a smart business woman with a beautiful voice. I realize that Kanye West is a tragic figure, a man who clearly suffers with mental illness. A man that isn't getting the right help. He has run amok and it's pathetic. I don't really care for either of their genres so I am still not a fan of either. But now I respect Taylor Swift. And I pity and do not respect West.

  76. @Michele "I thought her switch from country music to pop was evidence of her shallowness." Of course, country music is the apotheosis of profundity.

  77. @Michele Both the article and this comment give those of us who don't give a rat's patootie about celebrities, nor their supposed political views a real reason to worry about the hordes of folks who apparently do. Sheepish voters are frightening. I hope they'll all stay home on election day and wait for the results to be tweeted. Meanwhile, they can support their favorites with their iTunes accounts.

  78. @Quite Contrary Well thanks so much for your response. If you read my comment you will note I stated that I am not a fan of either singer's genre, therefore, not a fan. But I am aware of current events. Do you think being aware of current events is equivalent to being influenced by celebrities? If yes, I can recommend some beginning reading in logic.

  79. While I understand the confabulation of pop culture and politics on one leverl on another I blame it for a great deal of the political apathy in America, especially among young people. Music, the movies, the arts in general are an emotional world distant from the more rational task of choosing leaders, establishing justice and conducting public business. Yet masses of people are so utterly immersed in the former that the latter holds zero interest, to their detriment. They will only act if their icons implore them to act, and even then only robotically. If there is ever a place for appropriate compartmentalization, it is here.

  80. @In Wonderland The essential truth is that it's hard to get excited about ideas. Easy to get excited about music. Look at the lyrics of any song by either Mr West or Ms Swift as text on a page. They hardly matter, yet these two are multi millionaires from selling it to a beat. It seems we all need to conform to an idea -- the idea of being black or white, young or old, male or female. So much easier to follow a template than mold oneself. So hard to be authentic in a way other than pro / con stereotype. So, we become fans of people who exemplify something as a shorthand for personal ideals when a fully edited essay is more appropriate. Robotic action implies manipulated by an outsider with control. My point is we surrender control because it's easy and quick to say we like this or that. I appreciate this essay because it rises above robotic action. Though I'm more interested in how Ms Mzezewa could ever ever condone Mr West's actions at the music awards in 2009. Even if he deserved the award, his actions alienated me forever since. I couldn't care less who he mates with or how he dresses. Musical genius? Hardly Mozart. Millions of followers? Hardly a role model.

  81. On the bright side , we seem to have avoided (for now) the whole Court nomination being played out on a special reality TV show episode called 'The Supreme Apprentice'. If Kavanagh was hired on 'The Supreme Apprentice' . we could be watching "real incredibly good justice" meted out right now on the latest episode of ' Supreme Survivor' . In the unlikely "must see TV event" that Kavanagh was 'fired', he would be 'Dancing With The Stars' along with former president Sarah Palin . One thing about 'conservatives' : Things could always be worse.

  82. This is more a reflection of you than them.

  83. As an old white guy, I can appreciate the focus of rap when it started, social injustice, the plight of blacks in America and the world, economic injustices, police brutality, etc, etc. How does a rapper that comes from those roots embrace an old white racist? The need to shock people, for one. Need to be aggressive and get in people's faces, need for publicity. I hope some people are right and Mr. West is trying to make a point about we should have freedom of thought in America. I would say, though, cozying up to the head Censorer is surely not the way to do it. Cognitive Dissonance. Ms Swift has no need to dispute Aryans that proclaim anything. I'm glad she's speaking her mind on the current environment, but it surely is a two-edged sword for celebrities. I'm glad she's strong enough to weather the storm. Go girl.

  84. I cringe every time a celebrity goes on an obscenity laden anti-Trump tirade. To me this is purely an attempt to bring the focus on themselves rather than the causes they are supposedly supporting. After a ban on money in politics, I would also support a ban of celebrities in politics irrespective of who they support.

  85. @Sipa111 Celebrities are people and if they are US citizens they are voters and as much entitled to their opinions as anyone else. You don’t have to agree or be influenced by those opinions but they are certainly entitled to give them.

  86. Let's all take a look in the mirror at our celebrity-addicted culture, lest we allow it to sidetrack us from the reality that genuine societal change is rather different from pronouncements by loved or hated celebrities. Neither climate change, burgeoning economic inequality nor any other high-consequence issue really gets addressed with our thinking invested in celebrity culture.

  87. I'll never understand why anyone cares what Swift, West, Oprah, or any celebrity says. I'm not even certain you should care about anyone's opinion, full stop. But, perhaps, that is a little too much to ask anyone to do, we are political animals after all. That aside, I've found that reading primary source material (those materials not relayed, interpreted, or analyzed by another) is probably the best way to form an opinion that is truly my own. Read the Supreme Court Decisions, they're actually quite accessible in terms of readability. Read the legislation, in full. These are far less accessible, and tedious to read, it does help cut through all the spin you hear when the talking heads mouth the party line on national television.

  88. @Mark F “ I'm not even certain you should care about anyone's opinion, full stop.” People should really pay more attention to the opinions of experts. You don’t have to automatically buy into them. You can demand they explain their opinions. But treating “experts” as a dirty word is a big part of more Americans believe in demonic possession than climate change. (At least as of 2015.) We have a cultural belief that “democracy means my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.” I absolutely support your idea of reading Supreme Court opinions and legislation. It’s a great way to get first hand information. But it’s possible some people who spent their career working with or studying something might know something you don’t.

  89. I could not care less about the politics of any celebrity in any genre or medium. The thing that bothers me in instances like this is that so many people do care. As for Taylor Swift, I'm not a fan but I always respected her for keeping her political leanings to herself.

  90. @Azathoth Just congenially curious, specifically whom would you allow not to keep their political leanings to themselves?

  91. @dwsingrs8 Unless I misunderstood what Azathoth wrote earlier, that poster didn't say anything about allowing or disallowing anyone the right to speak their mind on politics.

  92. It should also be noted that Taylor Swift did not endorse either candidate. She said she was voting for them. However, she also told her followers to educate themselves on the candidates and to choose the one whom they feel reflects their values and opinions. But, the biggest impact she had was to encourage people to register to vote, and then, to actually get out there on November 6 to make their voices heard. Good for her.

  93. I stick with the Boss. Bruce Springsteen has never made a secret of his affiliation with the Democratic Party and democratic ideals. It is still up to We the People to get out and VOTE!

  94. Thank you so much for coming out on this news that is hitting mainstream today in other ways. You have courage and insight and will help lots of us see things differently. Your new and valid information is what we need to hear about. BRAVO!

  95. I'll never understand the weight Americans give to celebrities for their political opinions.

  96. @David - like electing a game show host as president, for instance.

  97. @David Following Taylor Swift's statements there was a surge in voter registrations. That is significant. Following Kanye West's embarrassing performance, I expect a surge in applications for immigrant visas to Canada.

  98. What Trump and Kanye know most about and care most about is celebrity and staying in the public eye - in fact his wife and her family have no talent beyond being celebrities.

  99. That accolades are now heaped upon those who simply choose to align themselves with decency is a testament to how profoundly deep are the depths of the Sunken Place trump has towed this country into!

  100. I dont look to celebrity and celebrity culture to define my political views. i dont understand why anyone would.

  101. To me, it is disappointing to see how many people think that what a celebrity says is more important than our own views. Shame on this country for abandoning critical thinking in order to make our own decisions about important matters, and embracing Argumentum ad Autoritum to lazily let others do our thinking for us.

  102. Let's face it. Neither of them are really talented; just more examples of the decline of Western Civilization

  103. One point to add in Ms. Swift’s favor. She was probably right to say nothing about the alt-right adulation. It would just have given publicity to a phenomenon most of us never heard of until this week.

  104. am watching Kanye West and Donald Trumps press conference. Unpresidented.

  105. So West, who claims he is the greatest artist in the history of the human species, says that he lacks male "control" in his own home but wearing a MAGA hat made him feel like "superman". I feel so foolish ever seeing anything in the music of this petulant vicious 41 year old child.

  106. I've not liked him since he acted like a jerk to Taylor Swift. Something was off about him and his current actions solidify that in my mind. Kanye, like, Trump, was bullied and he acts in kind. No worries, as with everyone Trump likes, he'll betray Kanye when he is no longer useful to him.

  107. "Don't follow leaders/Watch the parking meters..." Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan

  108. Well said, thank you--

  109. I appreciate this piece - but the idea of criticizing Taylor Swift in the first place for not being political is wrong, in my opinion. Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are and have always been silent on politics or any controversial issues (exclusive golf clubs!) because as Jordan says - Republicans buy sneakers, too. So - turning the ire and critique on an 18 year old Taylor Swift seems grossly unfair - and a little sexist given that those two sports titans got and still get a near pass. I'm glad Ms. Swift has spoken out - but that idea that she had to and should have done so sooner is just plain wrong.

  110. Now I like Kanye and dislike Taylor.

  111. @New York Let me take a wild guess .... you voted for Trump!

  112. I remember when that debate started ,back around 1965- 1970. Pressure mounted for artists to make their positions known about Vietnam, with the likes of Jane Fonda,Dylan, Hendrix (who went there and got back alive) and Country Joe MacDonald among many. It was generally the position of the recording studios for artists to stay away from controversy.I worked back then for a well known artist and days before his performance in Paris,the Kent state shootings took place. The artist decided to make a statement on stage, a first in Europe at the time. fortunately there were no social media to boost visibility and acrimonious debate. We have come a long way,and ms Swift has done a great service to democracy by issuing her call to vote.There is little doubt that the way the GOP and its leadership have been conducting themselves,the call to abandon all semblance of civility as suggested by H Clinton,can bring about an era of bitter conflict among Americans. There is no wall that could contain such pent up agressivity against "the mob" ,as president Trump has labelled members of the Democratic party. Is president Trump betting on civil disorder to issue an executive order giving him extraordinary and discretionary powers ,using his Supreme Court majority to validate it?

  113. Why love or hate people we don't know? Who cares what someone says about a topic on which they have no expertise? Being a singer or actress or comedian or real estate mogul/lifestyle brand owner doesn't make you anything other than a singer or actress or comedian or real estate mogul/lifestyle brand owner. This culture of celebrity worship is what gave us a celebrity president. The antiseptic isn't embracing celebrities who dislike him, it's ignoring celebrities' inexpert opinions.

  114. It's sad that you let people's personal, presumed, political stances dictate your own person opinion of that person. I'd say you're part of the problem with the country. People of a different political persuasion are not the enemy.

  115. "When he got on stage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and rudely interrupted Taylor Swift, telling her she didn’t deserve the award she had received, I might have been among the few girls in America who ultimately took the jerk’s side." In the nine years since 2009, is it still the case that you "might have been," or have you made a final decision regarding the noble Mr. West's wresting from and commandeering the microphone of Ms. Swift? (Was that one of the things about Kanye West that you "loved"?) What more would he have had to have done at that time that it wouldn't take you nine years to make up your mind about the matter? “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for." This quote is Ms. Swift's acknowledgement of epistemic humility which Mr. West would be well-advised to heed. Per the perhaps oversimplified maxim: "There are two kinds of people: those who know that they don't know, and those who don't know that they don't know."

  116. I have no doubt that part of Trump's appeal is celebrity worship.

  117. I think the reason Kanye is getting a lot of pushback isn't because he's trying to tell other people what to think, its because he isn't letting other people tell him what to think. Kanye has always been skeptical and distrustful of the police, why is he going to look more kindly at the thought police?

  118. Perhaps overly identifying with celebrities isn't a great idea, especially if it means you can't recognize that Kanye West is a narcissist, while the purportedly apolitical Taylor Swift actually cares about people and issues. In 2015 Swift forced Apple to back off its predatory treatment of musicians. As Swift stated in her letter at the time: "Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs....We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers…Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation." Swift was advocating for the economic rights of all musicians in 2105, and now states: “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights.” Meantime West wants you to know he's with Trump because he doesn't care about any rights but his own. Choose your celebrities wisely.

  119. The irony, of course, is that it is the opposite reaction for most Americans that I know. Nearly everyone is appalled by Swift's recent actions, and they have gained a new found admiration for Mr. West. And as OP has stated, never in my wildest dreams would have have believed that this could happen. Nevertheless, here we are, so a toast to Kanye West from his many new fans :)

  120. It's amazing what the human mind can do when we let ourselves remove our prejudices.

  121. What I find most encouraging about BOTH Kayne and Taylor's declaration of their political stances is that it simply encourages more people - particularly of their age range - to pay more attention to politics and even encourage them to vote. I don't care which way any celebrity leans in regards to their politics. What I disliked the most about 2016 is the fact that so many celebrities and people in their 20-30s simply made it clear they didn't "think about politics" or didn't care about the outcome of the election since nobody running was all that appealing. Heck, what did it really matter anyway, since it was so obvious that Hillary was going to win, right? Please, celebrities (and other "leaders" of society), get your followers to vote.

  122. @Ryan Really? You didn't think there were enough celebrities stating their political opinions in 2016? That's a first.

  123. It’s not true that there was no reason to think she was liberal. She calls herself a feminist and pals around with Lena Dunham. She won a lawsuit against a sexual assaulter. Her song Mean is about showing up bigots - and Welcome to New York celebrates gay couples. Has anyone been listening to her?

  124. @Mary - so if she wasn't a liberal, she'd be pro-bigotry, anti-gay and wouldn't object to sexual assault? Sad to say that is about where things are at right now.

  125. @Mary Thank you. I am not particularly a fan of Swifts, though I do think several of her music videos show a funny young woman, and to me someone with a sense of humor about themselves is usually not a jerk. The white supremicists who see in her an Aryan Goddess are doing what men from time immemorial have done to women. Basing their opinions of her in how she looks, without, apparently ever listening to what she says.

  126. I think we ought to not fall into dichotomous lines of thinking any more than mainstream and social media already breed.

  127. I disliked Al Sharpton but I found him no more dishonest than his critics. I’m quite fond of him now. I’ve studied my own family’s history with blacks and slavery it’s not pretty.

  128. So just to be clear, this article is telling me that we can't necessarily tell someone's politics by the melanin content of their skin? How the heck am I supposed to know what somebody thinks now?

  129. It's sad that someone's affinity for a celebrity would lead them to overlook and excuse that celebrity's obnoxious and narcisssistic bullying of a female celebrity at the very moment of her achievement. Isn't this pretty much the same excusing behavior exhibited by the MAGA crowd toward Trump? Let's not forget that not only did Kanye step all over and denigrate Taylor Swift at the music awards ceremony - he also photoshopped a nude photo of her laying in bed with him, just to further put her in her place. I'm glad Ms. Mzezewa has finally seen the light. President Obama nailed it right off the bat when he accurate called Kanye a jack***.

  130. I am sorry, but whether or not we side with "celebrities" like West or Swift or Trump, for that matter......none of them has the experience in the world, nor the political intelleigence needed to influence voters. The are entertainers! If American voters are relying on reports from People Magazine or the quotes of those reported on in such publications, we are in big trouble.

  131. @Mike The fact that they are entertainers is irrelevant. People of all types can have intelligent, nuanced, and thoughtful opinions. Using this criteria, Taylor Swift has Kanye beat, hands down.

  132. @Mike You did notice when the uneducated part of the country voted in their favorite celebrity, trump. We are already in a lot of trouble.

  133. Why would you hate someone you don't really know but are just making assumtions about?

  134. If Taylor Swift had criticized the people calling her her an Aryan goddess it would have drawn more attention to them.

  135. Taylor Swift is a good, potentially great, songwriter and an adept business person. She rapidly identified her market and she serves them well. And even though that target market doesn't include me, I have to agree that some of her songs are very well written. Kanye West is an aging rapper clinging to relevance. I'm told that he was very good at a time--but not in a way that I understand. Again, I'm not part of his target audience. He is not a model of mental stability. I won't take political cues from either of them. I can decide for myself. But I appreciate Ms. Swift's encouragement to her following to get involved, to vote, and to consider the positions taken by these two candidates. I happen to agree with Ms. Swift in this instance. Even if I didn't, I would appreciate her encouraging people to get involved. I don't see Mr. West encouraging anyone to do anything.

  136. It seems Taylor Swift has called for her fans to register to vote. I haven't heard Kanye do that. His followers are not likely to believe the Kanye hype about MAGA, so maybe that's the reason for his activism silence.

  137. Kanye's appearance in the Oval Office today was appalling. Worse was Trump making faces at people in the room and appearing to laugh which seemed to mock Kanye. Kanye is ill and Trump is more than willing to exploit Kanye because Trump loves celebrities and needs to have at least one token black supporter he can trot out in front of the media. Trump's willingness to use Kanye this way was disgusting. But beyond that - this isn't even the first time recently that Kanye has appeared unhinged and ranting. Where is Kanye's family? Where is his wife, Kim Kardashian? Why isn't anyone trying to get Kanye the medical care, or rest, he needs, instead of allowing him to go off on a tangent in the Oval Office in front of millions of tv viewers? Doesn't Kanye have a doctor who has an opinion about this stuff, whether it's good for Kanye to get this huge amount of media attention - and criticism - when he isn't well? Why isn't anyone protecting Kanye?

  138. @fast/furious Where is Kanye's family? Where is his wife, Kim Kardashian? Perhaps Kanye's family doesn't know what to do when a loved one is mentally ill. How do you protect someone from themself? Celebrity and money don't inoculate the vulnerable to exploitation. Yes to US Weekly. The stars are just like us.

  139. @fast/furious this is such an ignorant, racist point of view. Kanye is a free thinker, someone with radical ideas that have changed music permanently, for the better. Now, he's using his platform to get facetime with the President of the United States. If I had ten minutes of the President's time, I would have a lot to say - some might even call it a rant. But as soon as a black man starts trying to bridge the gap, think freely, and send a message of love instead of hate, people like you come out of the woodwork to declare him mentally ill and unfit to be in public. This is the worst take of all - invalidating a political opinion you disagree with, on the basis of insanity. Sorry, but you'd better wake up to the fact that some people simply agree with Trump's mission to MAGA.

  140. Thank you, Tariro! I believe President Obama put it quite succinctly: "Kanye West is a jackass." I have never cared for Taylor Swift's kiddie country pop, but the fact that she is taking a stand at this crucial time says a lot. Hopefully we will all be able to "Shake Off" these Trump years soon.

  141. I would advise every reader of this article to Google the lyrics of "Gold Digger", which Ms. Mzewewa professes to still know. To call them misogynistic is being kind. I have felt very strongly that Mr West and other rappers who sing similar songs have been given such a major free pass by serious music critics (who I've read consistently on all types of music for years) and many listeners (like Ms. Mzezewa). Why he was ever deemed to be such an "artist" & "genius" is way beyond me. And while your googling, pull up the African-American male presidential voting percentages for 2012 and 2016. See what you find there.....

  142. Weird, I would expect to like an artist based on the quality of their product, not which side of the political aisle they sit on. But I guess in 2018 you can't like an artist's work if they happen to have different politics than you.

  143. @MC Maybe you're being disingenuous, but I can't believe u believe what you're saying. In the rewst of the known world, relationships are based on likes, and dislikes, which are basically formed at first sight, and if the day comes, as it inevitably does, that they show their true selves, the divorce is forever and irrevocable and no amount of rationale/reasoning can change that reality.

  144. @MC and weirdly enough, that is not an uncommon attitude. There are plenty of people who won't listen to certain artists based on there political views. Even if the songs don't reflect those views. I personally feel Ted Nugent is a moron, but will crank up 'Cat Scratch Fever' if it comes on the radio.

  145. When she was younger, Taylor Swift seemed to recognize that she didn't know enough about history and politics to advise others on how to vote. Then she heard with her own ears the statements of Marsha Blackburn on issues that matter to her. So she broke her silence. That seems like a reasonable position to me, a sign of maturity. Kanye West, on the other hand, doesn't even know how little he knows--about history, politics, or anything. And he goes about proving it with each public utterance. He's a fool with a megaphone. No wonder he and Trump are best buds.

  146. @NA Maybe she (Taylor Swift) still doesn't know very much (since she misrepresented Marsha Blackburn's positions and she doesn't even know that her opponent supports Brett Kavanaugh). Most celebrities are fools with megaphones...and most of us have realized that for a long time.

  147. @DavisJohn: misrepresented how? PolitiFact rates Taylor Swift’s assessement of Blackburn’s positions “mostly true.” What have you got, specifically?

  148. Taylor didn't share her opinion DAYS after her tour ended - she shared it literally the morning after the last night of her tour. She has ignited her population and fandom and we could not be happier.

  149. Tariro Mzezewa is a beautiful and skilled journalist and, I suspect, an intelligent and interesting writer in whatever style she finds herself. Were it an epistle or an informal letter, I'm quite sure it would be delightful and captivating and end much too quickly. In part, this says she knows well of what she speaks. As for personal attractions and dislikes and the psychology of relationships, she also is well-informed, I can tell by her calm ability to explain and without rationalizing, reverse her position which is what rational people do. Sociopaths and psychopaths, two types who have been eradicated by the psychological canon renaming them to something indefinite and too inclusive. So that's just about everyone who has the ability and predisposition to be intermittently explosive. Now I always liked Taylopr Swift, her music and grace and her styled way of performing. But she is freer now and exhibits, in the way my puny exposure permits me to say, a skill and quickness that indicates mental acuity, courageous daring, and guts. My daughter reminds me of her. A millennial, she passed the Bar and has always been a reserved critic and conversationalist, preferring to know the facts before entering into a dispute, but now, after all this time, she knows right from wrong, as does Taylor Swift.

  150. Taylor. Just a kid, really. 28 yrs old. Million plus dollars to Louisiana flood victims. Hundreds of thousands to food banks, wild-fire victims, programs to protect kids from on-line predators, children's heart defect victims. And she doesn't think slavery in America was a myth.

  151. The core of this. is that ,miraculously, Taylor Swift convinced thousands upon thousands of people to register to vote. I'd welcome any other celebrity who would step out and plead with their followers to do the same. That she is also for what I think is a better candidate is icing on the cake.

  152. Hate to burst your bubble, but the reason why 160,000 people registered to vote after Taylor Swift's comment was because the deadline to register to vote was in many states was the next few days.

  153. If anyone takes political advice from folks in a business which exists, in large measure, for the purpose of spinning fairy tales, they will get the politicians they deserve.

  154. So the author is basically saying that she lets her political bias determine which celebrities she likes and respects. Why does anyone think what celebrities say is important?

  155. "I love you as long as you agree with me. Then, I hate you." It's sad how many people are proudly espousing this mentality. Simple, shallow, and self-defeating.

  156. "Most celebrities aren’t experts in foreign policy or economics or health care." This is a truth we should be able to live with, except for the celebrity in the White House for whom profound ignorance is a campaign asset.

  157. One of the best satires I've ever seen written on why no one should care about the politics of their favorites actors or artists. Wait... This is serious... Oh dear.

  158. See how easy it is to change your mind and see things from a different perspective. Now, come back to your senses and change your mind back. You were right the first time.

  159. Why anyone would look to either of these people, or any popular culture figure, for guidance on important issues is beyond understanding.

  160. Interesting column. People like or dislike(or in the case of Ms Mzezewa-love)other people today based on their political viewpoints. I think Taylor Swift is a fine talented entertainer and Kanye West's music overall does not grab my attention. I do like Kanye's stand on politics and probably not so much for Ms. Swift. I don't like, or dislike either one more than the other because I don't know them and never will and those who render judgement on these two successful people based on whether each likes, or dislikes the President are superficial and lack life experiences. (In this case, it seems to go beyond that as they personally attack and destroy those who like the President) Half my friends and family would be not allowed in my home based on such idiocy.

  161. I'm not making some hipster assertion that I don't have favorite shows, artists, author's, athletes, etc. I do. It's just that I cannot understand being particularly invested in following their lives. Maybe if I thought it was possible to truly know their lives, it would be different. But unless it's part of some police investigation, what gets passed to the public is largely someone's marketing product. If someone has built a school or donated to a cause I support, great! I still don't know them. Consider how Eminem (aka "Slim Shady") once rapped: "I've created a monster, 'Cuz nobody wants to see Marshall [Mathers] no more, They want 'Shady'! I'm chopped liver!" There are were a lot of fans who were under the impression that they knew the man named Marshall Mathers. As a result of Eminem's signature style of unapologetic music, with lyrics that were sometimes highly misogynistic, homophobic, racist, violent, subversive, angry and (depending on taste) absolutely hilarious, a large part of his fan base was upset and/or cheering to find him slamming Trump's presidency in a viral video. But they are still trying to engage with a fictional persona. Usually, that's somewhat harmless (albeit strange), but it becomes dangerous when someone gives a fictional character REAL power. Yes, I'm talking about the TV clown in the Oval Office, but I know there are plenty of people who'd have voted for Stephen Colbert. I just can't identify with that impulse.

  162. Kanye and his award show stunt interrupting Taylor Swift because he felt what he had to say was more important than what she had to say as an award recipient spoke volumes. That moment perfectly captured the same traits he's continued to display consistently since then: rudeness, narcissism, selfishness, lack of self-control and inability to empathize with another person. His latest antics should therefore not surprise people. The worst thing I ever heard TS being accused of is her "playing victim" whether in the Kanye debacle or about ex-boyfriends in her songs. Oddly to me, most of the "hate" she got was from young liberals from big cities. They would advocate being PC but criticize TS for being offended when people said hurtful things about her. They advocate equal treatment of women but castigate Taylor Swift for mining her dating experience for song material but don’t mind at all when a male songwriter did the same. The truth was something a bit ugly: because she had roots in country music, she was presumably Republican and was therefore fair game to denigrate. The TS hate was a bit of bullying, jumping on the bandwagon and maybe a bit of elitism or reverse racism. Now that she’s a known Democrat supporter, all is apparently forgiven. I simply shake my head because we progressives cannot accuse the GOP of hypocrisy when we have people on our side that engage in similar behavior. We need to call out hypocrisy in both parties.

  163. Maybe we should find out where Placido Domingo stands politically because he's a better singer than both Swift and West. Kanye West demonstrates that being famous is not the same as being "woke." So maybe we should actually try to discover what our politicians are doing and saying and use that information to make up our minds.

  164. Morning crew missed it. Once again: What's missing from this essay is the fact that Swift has turned her art--much like Madonna--into self-indulgent propaganda. So now is it still art or just more Hollywood DNC Politburo advocacy for our Sovietized New York City mass-media to feed on? Seems the latter, QED, at least for the moment.

  165. @Alice's Restaurant— I think that you’ve sorta got it right: Swift, like Madonna, has pretty much figured it out, and sold out. And this surprises you ...how...?

  166. I never thought that I would Ruth Marcus and George Will in my platoon with Stev Schmidt as platoon leader but her we are.

  167. Hold on here. First you commend TS for urging people to vote which led to 160k folks registering and then you end your OP by stating "We/ people " should not take our political cues from celeb's. ????? Why can't Kanye have his own political opinion without taking heat from liberals who cling to tribal talking points. You no longer "Love" Kanye b/c you don't agree with him? All of his contributions are now suddenly wiped clean b/c he doesn't fall in line with the rest of the Left to bash Trump? It's ok to disagree with some of the things he does and still like him, let alone trade him in for Taylor Swift. And why bask Kim K? She was instrumental in the release of someone who deserved a commuted sentance. But again, it's because she doesn't bash Trump. Good grief!

  168. Kanye West for UN Ambassador!!

  169. Kanye is trolling, culminating in today's brilliant performance art piece in the White House.

  170. Kanye West is married to a Kardashian. Kanye West is Trump's good buddy. Kanye West thinks slavery was a choice. Strike 1,2 and 3.

  171. Ms. Mzezewa, I am glad you saw through the nitwittery of Mr. West celebridiocy. Please take the next step. Your well written piece shows that you have functioning mental processes. Use them, not just to judge the media's celebridiots, but to decide on your own. West, Kardashians, Swift, who cares. If they are talented, respect their talent. But don't expand it to their opinions outside their competence, which in the case of West and the Kardashians, stops at Cuban cigars, make-up, and getting photographed nearly naked.

  172. Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss facts; small minds discuss people; incredibly stupid minds discuss celebrities.

  173. Somebody needs to tell Kanye that he's not liked with white supporters and equally not liked by black supporters. Kanye is, and always will be, a walking disaster. His music is good but he's really not getting this...or anything else.

  174. People haven't been paying attention, Swift has done times in the past that hinted at her political stance. 1. Her sexual assault trial and donation to RAINN (Anti Sexual-Assault Org) 2. Supporting March For Our Lives 3. Her speech on tour during Pride Month for her LGBT fans. 4. Her post about Women's March. Besides that, she clearly cares about people because she is known for randomly donating to people in need (sickness, afflicted by natural disasters, literacy, music) and spending hours at hospitals visiting sick fans, writing and performing song about Ronan (a little boy who died of cancer) at StandUpToCancer and naming his mother as a co-writer, donating books to Nashville Public Library, and so much more that people never heard about.

  175. Kanye West was and never will be a Paul Robeson nor a Harry Belafonte nor a Common nor a Curtis Mayfield nor a Jay Z nor a Gil Scott-Heron nor a Nina Simone nor a Bernice Johnson Reagan. Kanye is no Ronald Reagan nor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Kanye is a rapper college drop-out with mental health issues married to a courtesan. Kanye is engaged in black -faced minstrelsy. During the Kennedy Administration a gathering of black intellectuals included playwright Lorraine Hansberry, writer James Baldwin and Harry Belafonte gathered to talk to Bobby Kennedy outside the White House. Kanye has no where near their intellect nor gravitas. That was then and this is now. Who cares what artists of any color aka race think about anything?

  176. “I’ve disliked Ms. Swift as much and for as long as I’ve adored Mr. West. This had less to do with their music than their politics. Or what I perceived their politics to be. Hers: conservative. His: not.” —Tariro Mzezewa In other words, Ms. Mzezewa differentiated between the politics of Ms. Swift and Mr. West entirely based on PERCEPTIONS—wherever they may have come from—and NOT facts. And they seem to have changed once again, again based on perceptions rather that facts. How typical of Leftists. And one might also wonder just how much their respective races—i.e., “colors”— had to do with Ms. Mzezewa’s prejudgements, too. Until it became politically convenient.

  177. I was throughly convinced that the Kardashian (i.e. Kayne West) realty-show phenomena was a certain sign of the fall of western civilization. My cynicism grew deeper withe election of Trump. But hey, what's the harm of a broadcasting the day-to-day non-event lives of a relatively hot looking family? So what? It's bubblegum. And hey, if Kim Kardashian can draw attention to much needed prison reform just because she has the powerful legacy of a just-OK sex-tape, I say kudos to her and the whole horny Kardashian clan.

  178. Might want to update this after Oval Office debacle.

  179. Ms. Swift seems like a bright, intelligent person who is a good songwriter and savvy about the business she is in. She's empathetic toward her fans, and her post about the election shows she is a thoughtful person. But as she says herself: she is a music artist first and foremost, and isn't looking to run the world. Mr. West on the other hand occupies a much more raw space in our culture. He built his career on musical talent, but also on a fierce willingness to speak his truth about race and what he sees as structurally wrong in our society. He's living his public life more as performance art than what we think of as how a "music artist should behave" - and is trying to break up the concrete, so to speak, that keeps people locked in prejudice and conflict with others. I don't read a whole lot in his pronouncements or overtures to Trump other than trying to shake people out of their stupor and think for themselves - and to take a look around at the ills in our society and how we are treating whole groups of people.

  180. @Turgid Well, if you're ever on stage with a microphone, be vigilant and mindful of the theoretical possibility that he might be around and of a mind to commandeer your microphone, the warrant for that being that he is, after all, Kanye West.

  181. @Turgid Calling slavery a choice and openly supporting a racist president isn't performance art. At best, it's a feckless, destructive publicity stunt. At worst, it's an expression of an ignorance so profound no one should applaud it. Or is it worse if he's doing it for attention? I can't decide.

  182. @Turgid. “fierce willingness to speak his truth about race and what he sees as structurally wrong in our society.” The operative phrase here is “his truth.” Uninformed, historically inaccurate, basically just some guy’s ignorant take on race and structural inadequacies in American society. And we’re supposed to accept his fatuous claims for what reason, exactly? Because he sold a few million records?

  183. "This had less to do with their music than their politics. Or what I perceived their politics to be. Hers: conservative. His: not." That's a terrible way to determine whether you like someone or not. Let's judge people on more than just their politics. It's prejudgements like yours that have riven this country apart, causing people to choose their neighbors based on their party affiliation, erode friendships, jettison common decency from social media, etc. It's great that your viewpoint changed but, once again, it was predicated on politics. Talk about contributing to division. These sorts of outlooks are why.

  184. The people I admire are teachers, scientists, doctors, volunteers (etc.), and anyone who reaches out a kind hand to help another.