How Kanye West is countering the counter-culture

Nov 1, 2019 by

by Douglas Murray, UnHerd:

With his interest in ‘small-c conservative’ issues, the rapper is kicking against the artistic establishment.

What do you do when the culture is the counter-culture? It’s a question that has bubbled away in the West since the Sixties generation came to adulthood — if, indeed, they ever did.

It’s pertinent because it gets to the heart of one of the oddities of recent decades. From the Sixties onwards, the satire boom, along with a number of related cultural changes, turned power in the democracies around. Where those who rebelled were once the focus of disapprobation, now it was authority itself that faced mockery and exclusion. Each institution, from Parliament to the law, from elderly MPs to elderly judges, found themselves lampooned for being out of touch, and faintly ridiculous.

To be of ‘the establishment’ turned from being a mark of honour and success, into one of embarrassment and failure — at least a failure of imagination. The same turnaround happened in the arts, so that writers who were thought to be of the old establishment were supplanted by younger, edgier, counter-cultural figures.

The fact that the targets were often far from stuffy or establishment figures themselves didn’t matter, any more than did the fact that some of those who supplanted them were hardly as fresh as they were made out to be. But, everywhere, there was a great sweeping away.

And as the generation of politicians and artists doing the lambasting in their turn aged, as everyone must, so a conundrum of a kind developed. It turned out our institutions were run by people who disliked institutions, our governments run by people who presented themselves as outsiders, and our culture dominated by counter-culturalists.

In short, the culture became dominated by people who had formed themselves by being counter-cultural. The phenomenon is closely related to what George Walden observed in The New Elites as the striking fact that, by the turn of the millennium, we had elites that consisted of anti-elitists.

Read here

Watch: Kanye West Airpool Karaoke – YouTube with James Corden [excellent introduction to West’s new gospel music and his testimony – ed].

See also: Kanye West Pledges His Life to a Higher Power on ‘Jesus is King’ Album, from Billboard:

Related Posts


Share This