One of my favorite articles from last year is AVClub’s If You Love Return of the Jedi But Hate Ewoks, Then You Understand Feminist Criticism. It articulates, through the perfect metaphor, how a person might simultaneously enjoy a piece of art while actively loathing a message contained within it.
I guess that’s how I feel about Kanye. He says a lot of stupid shit that I disagree with whole-fucking-heartedly. But also, no one besides Kanye articulates the responsibilities of an artist as bluntly and emphatically as he does.
It’s an extension of that aphorism, “those who would trade their liberty for security deserve neither.”
As a creative person in the socio-digital space we inhabit, having opinions opens you to criticism. Having a perspectively that is uniquely your own is going to piss off a large number of people who demand that everybody thinks exactly like they do. And to the extent that we censor ourselves on social media, choose silence instead of authenticity or conformity instead of inquiry, we are choosing the safety of anonymity over the danger of self-realization.
The best way to understand a person is to look at the enemies they have. And if you have none, then you have not pushed far enough as an artist.
Every artist you’ve ever loved has done or said something you disagree with if you look hard enough. And this doesn’t mean you have to hate them (unless you want to) or stop enjoying the work they’ve made (unless you don’t enjoy it anymore).
The people who understand this best (because they can empathize) are other artists.