*Author’s Note: I will be using Robert C. Solomon’s “Living with Nietzsche: What the Great ‘Immoralist’ Has to Teach Us” as the base of my arguments.
Introduction: Part 1
I would be concerned and make sure I had my passport if Kanye West was beloved as much as Taylor Swift. I wouldn’t be in America.
We know both of these ‘artists’ because Kanye told the American public they were wrong to vote for Taylor. This was a blessing in disguise for both, as Swift would get great sympathy and West realized he only could keep an American audience if he made an album so good they would like him in-spite of their distaste for him.
Where Taylor Swift will probably be forgotten in twenty years Kanye West will be studied.
Though I’m not writing for academia, I am coming at this thesis with same spirit, as many scholars are passionate and curios about art and study the art itself not just the headlines.
At the present moment, I am interested in why there is so much hate toward West. What do the principles this man represents in the media that rub the majority the wrong way?
People will say that is easy, he is an asshole. Maybe, but so are a lot of musicians from Axl Rose to members of Radiohead. Why does a majority of all ages, race, and creed hate Kanye West?
Why is this hate strongest in America?
America is a strange place historically, a country that left the European royalty behind to worship God, hard work, a Puritan ethic which have become an intertwined trinity.
This evolved into a democratic ethic for all men (expect black ones and women) being created equal. A country of humility and work ethic that stays clear of the sins of the world with the oceans of God to safe guard them.
Now a lot of this to use a pejorative term was ‘bullshit’ as blacks were looked at less than 1/3 a human being and were slaves. Most of the founders were elitist but the ‘ethic’ of America was a different story. The myth of patriotism will always be stronger than the reality.
This has been ingrained into the countries psyche as we still want president’s with a ‘humble story’.
One thing that was not valued by America was art which became a value of the middle classes of their European brethren. When the theory of Darwin spread many people decided to go turn to new books beside the Bible.
America did not follow suit only using this knowledge to scientifically defend slavery as blacks were lesser animals than the white men. While Catholics get derided for being ‘Cafeteria Christians’ picking what is good and bad about their religion, it was American Protestants who were kings of leaving biblical laws on the table while enjoying others.
America would stick with God and slavery but Europe sought out philosophers and psychologists for answers. Where Freud made inroads and would even find his teachings in America in the 1950s, it was a no-name philosopher that Europe would turn to after Second World War.
Existentialists building off the teachings of Nietzsche became an ethos in Europe but not in America and probably never will except by a small academia minority.
America had growing pains too freeing slaves and ending Jim Crow laws less than 75 years ago but still remaining tied to its Puritanical and philistine philosophy.
Nietzsche had no chance to be apart of the American mainstream, the closest he got was a small movement of a bastardized and philistine/anti-romantic philosophy of Ayn Rand–a philosophy that should be labeled Godless Puritanism.
Nietzsche had a philosophy of worshiping the self and the arts. A man went back to the Greeks but left out the gods except Dionysus and Apollo. A man was not here for his brother, for God, or even his country–he/she was here to overcome their self and reach their highest potential.
A radical, and still radical idea.
In Nietzsche’s view you were better off listening to a song than a man of God because ‘without music life would be a mistake.’ He taught ideas counterpoint to the fabric of America and Christianity. That some people were better than others, that art was better religion, and you should stay away from the herd–very similar to the lyric “There’s leaders and there’s followers/I rather be a dick than a shallower.”
Yes, Nietzsche would have not been a guest on Oprah though him and Dr. Phil would be a good debate.
There has been no famous people who has espoused this philosophy publicly except for Marilyn Manson who even named his best-selling album AntiChrist Superstar after Nietzsche’s book “The AntiChrist”.
Yet, Marilyn Manson like Lucifer fell very hard soon after his rise to fame, but one artist has become the übermensch that Nietzsche preached about, a man who for better or worse as embodied many of Nietzsche’s ethics and that man is Kanye West.
At the present moment, he is America’s worst nightmare: a black man espousing Nietzschean principles (which many African-Americans don’t enjoy as well) and having the power to live the American Dream.
Coming Soon: (Part 2: The Birth of Yeezus )