When it’s all over, will we look back at Kanye West’s performance at the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games the way generations past looked at Altamont and Woodstock ’99? A time where a musical performance reduced all in attendance to baboonery?
Kathleen Wynne is no stranger to desperate and overly defensive political moves, but bringing Yeezus to The 6 to salvage her Games is only slightly less risky than sneaking into an ISIS camp in the middle of the night and replacing their black flags with the Confederate Stars and Bars. The resulting tidal wave of social media derp may result in a fault line breaking off and downtown Toronto sinking into Lake Ontario.
Let’s analyze each of the combustible elements that our Premier has unwisely chosen to mix together. First we have West himself. Yeezy has been manufacturing the kind of controversy that looks just un-manufactured enough to fool people into thinking it’s not manufactured ever since he let Taylor Swift finish.
The man uses controversy like Michelangelo used marble. If Kanye West were to make a grilled cheese sandwich, that sandwich would trend on Twitter and you and everyone you knew would spend time either loving or hating Kanye’s sandwich with fierce intensity and no middle ground.
Then along comes VICE Magazine to stridently inform us that anyone who has a problem with Kanye’s sometimes douchey behaviour is acting out of “cultural projection and racial discomfort” and suddenly the stupid level has been raised from Derpcon 2 to Derpcon 3. Now, the happy few who had no opinion on West are socially obligated to have an opinion, lest they be accused of not caring about racism. And whatever your opinion is, it’s the wrong one.
Do you think the backlash against Yeezy is based on something other than racism? You’re a racist. Are you going to admit your problem with the man is based, in some small part, on his skin colour? Congratulations! You are still a racist. Nothing like a nice Catch-22 to get people feeling all relaxed and happy.
Into this already boiling mess we introduce a dollop of naked political partisanship. It would take a heroic level of self-delusion not to realize that Wynne is using these Games as something to campaign on in 2018, and as such everyone on the right side of the aisle has a great deal of interest in seeing them fail.
The Ontario Liberals’ next move could be anything from permanent HOV lanes to an increase in the gas tax, which is bad enough, but then Toronto Star editorial barnacle Bob Hepburn (a man who I’m convinced starts off each day by gargling Liberal bath water) had to go and spill the beans about the plan to inflict an even worse fate on Toronto by bringing a watered-down Olympics here in 2024.
With so many eyes on Toronto the not-quite-world-class, the weak-minded amongst us have already begun to lose what little restraint they had. John Tory released a “parody video” that certainly works as self-parody but does him no other favours, and the defenders of CanCon have released a Change.org petition which is unlikely to change anything. The natives are restless here in T-Dot, and Kanye isn’t going to actually perform for another week or so, ensuring that Toronto’s media is going to be obsessed with this story right up until then.
Torontonians are a passive, sheepish lot, which should be obvious from the fact that they did not reject this debacle from the very start, but with nerves this frayed one false move could provoke a stampede.
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