The past month of Kanye West’s existence has been an inherently confusing thing. Not only is the musician’s full-hearted embrace of churlish far-right antagonism an unexpected lurch from the rapper, even after his Trump Tower appearances last year, but the very manner of its delivery has been erratic and frequently incoherent. West’s “MAGA but I made it positive” philosophy doesn’t stack up to much of anything, but he’s sticking by it with increasing vehemence, all while tweeting a bunch of shit about how it’s really about “love.” Also there’s the whole “slavery was a choice” thing. And the “poopity scoop” rap. And the one with T.I. It’s a lot.
The collision of one of the world’s most famous, divisive musicians and our particularly media-swallowing president is perfect fodder for discussion and analysis, and so people have been, trying to make sense of the whole thing. It’s almost obligatory subject matter. There are a lot of thinkpieces that purport to settle the situation with finality (ahem). There are a lot of theories, many built around speculation of West’s mental health, as well as a lot of optimistic rationalizations that West is merely confused or woefully under-educated about the issues on which he’s speaking. Maybe we can win him back!
One particularly resilient explanation has been the idea that it’s all part of a masterplan to drum up publicity for his new records. The newest form of this is a viral Twitter thread that claims it’s all part of a performance-art piece being produced in conjunction with West’s friend and collaborator Tremaine Emory, in which West is engaging with the most repugnant ideas in modern American culture in an attempt to “tame” them. This is based, in large part, around the idea that this is a picture of Andy Kaufman:
Although by the time the thread is over we are talking about literal magic tricks and engaging in deep-cut emoji cryptology:
The thread’s author has a good sense of humor about the fact that there are some reaches in there, but, like any good conspiracy theory or pop-culture take, it has the comforting effect of putting everything back into neat and tidy order. Kanye isn’t being redpilled. He’s still the College Dropout guy. Sure, it involves some four-dimensional chess from an artist whose decades of public life and whose entire body of work reflect only an idolatrous obsession with absolute impulsivity, but, yeah, maybe it’s all an inconceivably masterful Kaufman thing. Who knows!
But there is another take out there wilder and more beautiful than that—another worldview even farther askew from this to fit Kanye’s actions into. And even if you don’t already know who it’s from, you totally already know who it’s from.
Guys. It’s time for some game theory.
Yes, the man who is described by his own Twitter profile as a “strategic intelligence analyst” and who is defined by the rest of the world as the adderall-and-craft-beer-fueled tweetstormer laureate of Le Resistance has waded into the world of Yeezy takes, and it is an absolute fucking scorcher. The above tweet was fired off following a brief period of speculation that West was going to appear on Alex Jones’ radio show. He didn’t, but that didn’t stop Garland from wrapping the rumor into his ongoing campaign to convince you, dear Twitter follower, that the Russians have infiltrated every corner of our popular and political cultures, and that only he, Eric Garland, has the proper strategic intelligence to guide you through the conspiracy.
Eric, please hit us with that good shit.
That least tweet sort of suggests that he’s rethinking things. Thirty minutes pass. Is Garland taking a break? Did he get a sandwich? Perhaps he briefly, blissfully logged off, taking a deep breath of fresh air and watching the play of daylight across the grass?
No. He was looking for evidence.
It is almost impossible to believe this, but there will be hotter takes than this before this whole Kanye thing ends, and they will melt your computer. Be forewarned.