What was that?

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE - JONATHAN CAPEHART

“The idea that he is some kind of am­bas­sador to the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity is laugh­able,” I said early Thurs­day af­ter­noon to vet­eran jour­nal­ist and MSNBC an­chor An­drea Mitchell. “He” was MAGA-hat-wear­ing mu­sic mogul Kanye West. Lit­tle did I know that a few mo­ments later he would prove me right.

The scene un­fold­ing be­tween the two re­al­ity TV stars who con­tinue to lead re­al­ity TV ex­is­tences was like a liv­ing re-en­act­ment of Win­ston Churchill’s famed line about Rus­sia: “It is a rid­dle, wrapped in a mys­tery, in­side an enigma.” Or maybe it was just a lat­ter-day min­strel show. Other than pro­vid­ing brain-shrink­ing dis­trac­tion, I haven’t a clue whose in­ter­ests were served by what went down at the Res­o­lute desk in front of Trump and the White House press corps.

Ac­tu­ally, they were there to talk about a pres­i­den­tial par­don for Larry Hoover, the for­mer “chair­man” of the Gang­ster Dis­ci­ples street gang in Chicago now serv­ing six life sen­tences in a Colorado su­per­max prison. He was sent there in 1997 from an Illi­nois prison (where he was in­car­cer­ated for a 1973 mur­der con­vic­tion) af­ter he was found guilty of run­ning a drug ring from prison. But Kanye’s gon’ Kanye. Hoover’s at­tor­ney was able to give only a thumb­nail of his client’s tale be­fore Yeezy jumped in:

“Re­ally, the rea­son why they im­pris­oned him is be­cause he started do­ing pos­i­tive for the com­mu­nity. He started show­ing that he ac­tu­ally had power. That he wasn’t just one of a mono­lithic voice, that he could wrap peo­ple around.

“So, there’s the­o­ries that—there’s in­fi­nite amounts of uni­verse and there’s al­ter­nate uni­verse so it’s very im­por­tant for me to get Hoover out be­cause in an al­ter­nate uni­verse, I am him and I have to go and get him free. Be­cause he was do­ing pos­i­tive in­side Chicago just like I’m mov­ing back to Chicago and it’s not just about, you know, get­ting on stage and be­ing an en­ter­tainer and hav­ing a mono­lithic voice that’s forced to be a spe­cific party, you know, peo­ple ex­pect that if you’re black, you have to be Demo­crat.”

And West kept spout­ing off from there, a rhetor­i­cal Ro­man can­dle spray­ing non­sense about wel­fare, his “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat, the 13th Amend­ment, male en­ergy, “Chi-raq,” bipo­lar dis­or­der, sleep de­pri­va­tion, “the iPlane One,” Adi­das, Fox­conn, etc.

West’s an­tics be­fore a smil­ing Trump are all the more galling be­cause the pres­i­dent of the United States should have bet­ter things to do. He could have as­sured the na­tion that his ad­min­is­tra­tion was on top of things in the Flor­ida pan­han­dle af­ter Hur­ri­cane Michael tore through it. He could have been hun­kered down with his eco­nomic ad­vis­ers over the free-fall­ing stock mar­ket. He could have been work­ing the phones to de­mand an­swers about the fright­en­ing dis­ap­pear­ance of my col­league Ja­mal Khashoggi.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.