I have long been fascinated by the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a form of cognitive bias. Put simply, it states that people who are very capable or experienced in a certain area tend to underestimate their own abilities. They’re aware enough to understand the limitations of their knowledge.
On the other end of the spectrum, people who aren’t terribly capable or experienced tend to overestimate their abilities. They’re not competent enough to realize how incompetent they are.
This brings us once again to Kanye West, also known as “Ye” and soon to be known as “Yedolf” or “Ku Klux Kanye.”
West may as well be the poster child for the bad end of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. Seldom has a human being thought so highly of himself while bringing so little to the table. This is a man who once said that his greatest pain in life was that he’d never be able to see himself perform live. This is a man who seems to believe that having a talent for good hooks is tantamount to being Jonas Salk. West’s narcissism believes he’s holding up a royal flush while his intellect slaps down a Jack high and the little card that tells you the rules for draw and stud poker.
It was darkly fascinating to watch West’s recent interview with Alex Jones. West, joined by internet-famous white supremacist Nick Fuentes, accomplished the impossible: he made Jones seem reasonable and measured.
The bizarre, endless interview can be summarized as follows: West would say something horribly antisemitic, Jones would offer him an offramp, and then West would zip right past it and double down.
During the course of the interview, West repeatedly praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, bemoaned the fact that we only focus on the BAD stuff when we talk about the Third Reich, claimed that Hitler invented both highways and the microphone (which he assuredly did not), dabbled in some old-fashioned Holocaust denial, and held a conversation with an aquarium net that was supposed to represent former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
West’s defenders point out that he’s bipolar and that he’s still traumatized from the death of his mother. I’ve known bipolar people, many of whom have lost loved ones, and it generally hasn’t turned them into insane Nazis.
There’s something grimly fascinating about watching a man go out of his way to self-destruct. It’s why Nic Cage won an Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas.” And once, I may have even laughed at West exuberantly announcing “I LOOOOOOOOVE Hitler!” in the same tone of voice you’d use to compliment your grandma’s snickerdoodles.
But no matter how bizarre West’s descent becomes, I ain’t laughing.
Lately, West has become surrounded by the worst hangers-on imaginable, people like Fuentes and Milo Yiannopoulos, the short-lived manager of his 2024 Presidential campaign. His inner orbit is made up of white supremacists, anti-semites, and hate-mongers. They clearly have his ear; West is repeating their hateful talking points like a well-trained parrot.
There are three reasons why these people have injected themselves into West’s life. The first and most obvious reason, of course, is money. West may be hemorrhaging money, but he’s still a wealthy man for now, and the parasites have lined up like ticks draining a dying dog.
The second reason is that West amuses them. It amuses them to see him dance like their puppet, to sabotage his career by saying the blunt, hateful things that they sincerely believe but are too smart to say out loud. People like Yiannopoulos and Fuentes mask their hate speech in a thick haze of irony so they can claim plausible deniability. West can’t do that; he doesn’t understand irony, or humor, or subtext.
The third reason — and perhaps the most evil — is that they want West to normalize hate speech. They want his diehard fans, the people who believe West can do no wrong, to hear him slander the Jews. If his fans truly believe West is a genius despite all evidence to the contrary, it’s a pretty short drive to Holocaust denial.
That should concern everyone, but it concerns me more each day.
For more than two years now, I’ve been with my girlfriend Lauren. Lauren is Jewish. As it turns out, her whole family is. What are the odds?
I’ve visited Lauren’s family numerous times. I’ve been to her synagogue on a few occasions. I’ve been welcomed with open arms across the board.
From these folks, I’ve heard plenty of stories of antisemitism, both casual and pointed. While working at Red Lobster years ago, Lauren had a coworker ask her if she was part of the Illuminati, the supposed secret shadow organization running the government, as though the fact that she was working at a Red Lobster wouldn’t immediately discredit the question.
On a less lighthearted note, I’ve also seen the security measures at the synagogue and heard about the fear that strikes when a stranger wanders in. Are they seeking fellowship, or are they heavily armed and hoping to make the news? You never know anymore.
Antisemitism is always bubbling under the surface of society like a dormant volcano, and every so often it erupts. West and his foul ilk are doing their level best to help the eruption along. As a society, it’s our duty to reject them as forcefully as possible.
West and his fellow white supremacists would have you believe that there’s a shadowy cabal operating in the background of society, a group of cruel, warped monsters that want nothing more than to destroy human decency.
They’re not wrong; they’re just pointing their fingers in the wrong direction.