There was me thinking that Ye couldn’t sink any lower. Boy, was I wrong. In his appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show on Thursday, accompanied by racist dateless wonder Nick Fuentes, the artist formerly known as Kanye West plumbed new depths of bilious anti-Semitism, all while wearing a black mask-cum-balaclava.
His somewhat fashy head gear turned out to be appropriate, given what Ye would later come out with. He praised Hitler several times. ‘Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler’, he said. Hitler ‘seems like a cool guy’, West added, as he painted the greatest criminal of the 20th century as an underappreciated fashion icon and civil engineer.
West’s thin pretence for his Hitler loving – that he just ‘loves everyone’ – wore thin pretty quickly. ‘The Holocaust is not what happened’, he said, unprompted, at one point. At another, impersonating Benjamin Netanyahu, via the means of a toy fishing net (seriously), West rehearsed all of the most poisonous tropes: ‘We have the control of the history books, we have the control of the banks, and we have to go and kill people.’
Jones, recently bankrupted over his claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was faked, somehow became the voice of reason, simply by being the only one present capable of explicitly criticising Hitler. He kept trying to give Ye a ladder to climb down, to no avail. ‘I’m in the Twilight Zone right now’, said an exasperated Jones. This is the man who thinks chemicals in the water are turning frogs gay.
The surreal nature of it all didn’t make it any less sickening. In Ye, we see a fusion of many of the most poisonous forms of anti-Semitism, expressed in almost faux naif form, from black-nationalist blather about black people being the real Jews to all the old tropes about Jewish media and Jewish banks. The comments under each and every viral clip reveal how much purchase this ancient racism has among various online cliques.
At the same time, there is something very modern about Ye’s almost giddy outbursts. Indeed, in his bizarre new partnership with Fuentes, a 24-year-old livestreamer who shot to infamy after the 2017 far-right Charlottesville rally, and Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right-adjacent shit-stirrer who was kicked off Twitter before it was cool, West has aligned himself with what we might call Very Online Racism – the poisonous phenomenon of racism as a form of trolling.
When it first emerged, what marked out the alt-right, the loose association of cunts who latched on to Trump’s election and whose company Ye appears increasingly to be keeping, was the sense that it was almost more interested in getting a reaction than achieving goals or power. So marginal are these freaks in actual, offline society that outrage has become their currency, their business model, their entire reason for existing – the thirst for ‘liberal tears’ overwhelming almost everything else.