Kanye challenges how we talk about the Constitution...for all the wrong reasons.
After stirring the pot with more political rants on social media, Kanye West has prompted us to reconsider our understanding of the Constitution -- but not how he intended to.
When Vanity Fair published "An Incomplete History of Kanye West's Political Views" back in April, West had only begun to don his Trump-signed "Make America Great Again" cap. The evolution of West's pro-Trump politics reached their logical conclusion over the weekend with the artist's controversial tirade post-Saturday Night Live appearance and then a follow-up tweet condemning...the 13th Amendment.
The closing credits of Saturday Night Live's 44th season premiere shut down an extended cut of the musical guest's political rants after West made the unusual move of re-taking the mic after the show. Pacing the stage in his MAGA hat before the visibly upset cast members, he touted pro-Trump sentiments to the bemused live studio audience. "It's so many times that I talk to a white person about this, and they say, 'How could you support Trump? He's racist.' Well if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago," he declared.
The rant was filmed and shared on social media by SNL alumnus, Chris Rock, who happened to be present in the audience. West's tirade filled the studio, only punctuated with a few daring claps over a murmur of boos.
While the impromptu speech was not aired on live television, it would have at least provided a public context for the series of tweets published on his Twitter account the following day. A photo of West wearing his MAGA hat on a plane accompanied text lauding the hat as a symbol of "good and America becoming whole again." He continued to condemn outsourcing and praise American-made goods, then jumping to the issue of prison reform, stating, "We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love."
Of course, the 13th Amendment is responsible for legally abolishing slavery. Outraged public responses by celebrities and fans alike prompted West to post follow-up Tweets attempting to clarify that "the 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise" and that he meant we should "not abolish" but amend it.
When questioned by TMZ Monday morning, West was asked to explain his Tweet. "What I was saying was that the 13th Amendment is really just slavery in disguise. And it's something we need to look into and we need to open up the conversation." He repeated that his motivation in speaking out so publicly is to "open up the conversation."
Setting aside the vitriolic exchange of political views that West's latest rant fuels on social media, the context of a public figure spouting determined criticism of the Constitution does indeed "open up the conversation" about how informed we are as a culture about the Constitution and how mutable it may be.
This is not to imply that there's a shred of perspicacity to Kanye West's tirades, but the 13th Amendment's full wording does come with some tricky elasticity. The 1865 phrasing clearly makes room for exceptions: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
In short, "slavery" is still legally condoned when it comes to convicts and citizens outside the "jurisdiction" of the United States; hence, we have legalized prison labor and job outsourcing held outside the standards of U.S. labor laws. As The Washington Post explores, this loose wording of the 13th Amendment allowed for "the birth of mass incarceration and the 'prison industrial complex.'"
While Kanye West's diatribes contribute no critical thought or research to the conversations he's ostensibly opening up, he does highlight a nexus of pop culture and politics that challenges us to have an opinion on issues like the Constitution in order to stay relevant. On an average day, we may not invest much feeling into the fact that the last time the Constitution was amended was in 1992, or that ratifying a new amendment was designed by the founders to be nearly impossible, or that "amendment proposals today are symbolic; no one takes them seriously," according to Slate's Eric Posner. But occasionally, in order to contribute to the cultural conversation, we have to check ourselves, our opinions, and our knowledge of history in order to speak up -- if we don't, we end up sounding like Kanye West.
In opposition, Chris Evans, in a move befitting Captain America, castigated West for his remarks, tweeting a thoughtful objection to "the level of unapologetic conjecture" that describes many of the rapper's charged harangues.
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their… https://t.co/eXdM1jxBsp— Chris Evans (@Chris Evans)1538336126.0
When TMZ caught up with Kanye West on Monday morning, he was also asked if he was aware that the 13th Amendment was Lincoln's legal abolition of slavery. West's convoluted reply ends with, "I can't confirm if Lincoln was black or white," clearly insinuating that Abraham Lincoln was black, prompting TMZ to note, "FYI, there's no credible evidence to support this theory." The rapper hastily cuts off the interviewer's befuddled follow-up question, and he exits.
POP⚡DUST | Read More...
- Chris Evans Slams Kanye West's Call for Abolition of 13th ... ›
- Kanye West gets booed for pro-Trump rant after 'Saturday Night Live' ›
- Kanye West Clarifies 13th Amendment Tweet, Wants to Amend ... ›
- Kanye West stirs more outrage with 13th Amendment tweets - CNN ›
- Kanye West's 13th Amendment Twitter outburst: A possible ... ›
It was an inside job.
TW: This article contains references to sexual assault and abuse.
Let's get one thing straight: Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.
According to official reports helmed by top medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson, Epstein hanged himself in his cell—but later medical reports suggested that his injuries resembled those of a homicide more than a suicide. When Epstein died, he had been removed from suicide watch, left alone and not checked on for hours because the two guards assigned to watch him were "sleeping," and, conveniently, the cameras outside his cell "malfunctioned." Recently, a former Navy SEAL went on Fox News and blurted out, "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself."
- What's up with all the Epstein didn't kill himself memes ... ›
- 23 'Epstein Didn't Kill Himself' Memes That We All Fell For - Funny ... ›
- Fox News Guest Blurts Out 'Epstein Didn't Kill Himself' meme ... ›
- Jeffrey Epstein 'Suicide' Stumps Expert Pathologist, Case May Be ... ›
- Why wasn't Jeffrey Epstein on suicide watch when he died? ›
- There's 'no way' Epstein killed himself: Former MCC inmate ›
- Memes Are Keeping the Jeffrey Epstein Story Alive | MEL Magazine ›
- Epstein Didn't Kill Himself: Trending Images Gallery (List View ... ›
- Jeffrey Epstein: How conspiracy theories spread after financier's ... ›
- Epstein Didn't Kill Himself | Know Your Meme ›
Porn videos games and video game themed porn are suddenly on the rise.
One of the biggest things that sets Millenials and Gen Z apart from previous generations is their relationship with technology, a common critique being that video games have replaced real life for many young people, particularly young men.
It's true that many 20-and-30-somethings began playing video games when their brains were still malleable.This was before psychologists began raising concerns about the effect it may have on the brain, concerns that are now backed by a mountain of evidence. Frequent video game playing has been connected to a myriad of issues, including decreased life satisfaction, loneliness, decreased social competence, poorer academic achievement, increased impulsivity, increased aggression, and increased depression and anxiety.
These concerns have only been further highlighted in cultural conversation by the sheer number of people who play video games: 67% of Americans, to be exact, a number that has grown exponentially in recent years. Perhaps even more startling, according to Pew Research Center, 72% of men younger than 30 report playing games often. Scariest of all, Douglas Gentile, a psychologist who's been studying the effect of video games on the brain for decades, estimates that roughly 8.5% percent of young people who play video games in the United States are addicted — not including the number of people who are inevitably underreporting how much time they spend playing.
There's also plenty of evidence that video games can be a positive thing for brain development. According to Psychology Today, playing video games can help children develop "perception, attention, memory, and decision-making," as well as "logical, literary, executive, and even social skills."
But regardless of what side of the evidence you choose to believe, there's a new factor to consider in the conversation about video games' psychological effects: their relationship to porn. Most notably, according to a study by Laura Stockdale and Sarah M.Coyneif, playing an excessive amount of video games greatly raises your chances of becoming addicted to porn, and, likely, vice versa. This is because both sources of stimulus, primarily visual and aural, affect the same pleasure center in the brain, specifically the ventral striatum which helps elicit the good feelings you get when you do something good, can be done in the same environment (alone, in a technologically connected room), and are both sources of immediate satisfaction and escapism.
Prominent Stanford University psychologist, Phillip Zimbardo, conducted an in-depth study into 20,000 young men's relationships with video games and pornography. He said of the experiment: "Our focus is on young men who play video games to excess, and do it in social isolation - they are alone in their room. Now, with freely available pornography, which is unique in history, they are combining playing video games, and as a break, watching on average, two hours of pornography a week." He goes on to say, "It begins to change brain function. It begins to change the reward centre of the brain and produces a kind of excitement and addiction. Young men -- who play video games and use porn the most -- are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety."
As these commingled addictions develop, they soon (similarly to drug addictions) require greater and greater degrees of stimulation to get that same chemical release. But since these two addictions seem to affect similar demographics and often coincide with one another disproportionately, there's something that sets them apart from other forms of addiction. According to Zimbardo, porn and video game addictions are "arousal addictions," which differ from drug and gambling addictions in that the attraction is in "the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content." So while drug addicts need increasing amounts of a substance to get high, they still crave the same substance over and over, while arousal addicts need an increasing intensity and variety of stimuli, as well as more and more.
This leads to a desire for increasingly intense stimuli, leading addicts to more violent and bizarre video games and porn in pursuit of novelty. Fascinatingly, and perhaps disturbingly, while these addictions are interwoven, they used to require separate stimuli to satiate — but even that's changing. In an inevitable progression, the two addictions have begun to seamlessly merge in the form of pornographic video games and video game-themed porn, allowing an addict to satiate both needs simultaneously, setting off a veritable fireworks display of dopamine responses — at least until the viewer becomes desensitized. For example, Fortnite-inspired porn is apparently so widely consumed that "Fortnite" was one of the top 20 most-searched terms on Pornhub in 2018, and in 2016, when Overwatch rose to popularity, searches for Overwatch porn jumped by 817% in a matter of months.
Perhaps even more distressing is the advent of porn video games, where players take an active role in the plot of the explicit content they're viewing, perfectly intermingling the already connected addictions. While some of these games show consensual sexual intercourse, many do not. For example, RapeLay, produced in Japan, is a game where a player plays as a disembodied penis to simulate rape of a woman and her child daughters over and over again. There was a massive outcry against the game when it was released, ultimately causing Amazon to stop selling it — but not before millions and millions of people purchased the game.
As an article on the topic in Men's Health points out, this trend of combining two similar and symbiotic addictions is understandable as video games already often feature hyper-sexualized characters, porn is being watched more and more on video game consoles, and animated porn allows for a level of fantasy live-action porn can't reach. If your brain is lighting up in a similar way when you play video games and when you watch porn, of course you'll begin associating the two. Throw in the feeling of power that comes with having control over the results of the stimuli, as a player does in porn video games, and you have a perfect chemical spider web, one that ensnares young men in an endless and isolating cycle of escape.
There are legitimate physical issues that can result from addictions of this kind. There's evidence that it can lead to debilitating sexual dysfunction in young men, called porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED), a term coined by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School — an affliction that can get worse as a video game addiction feeds off a porn addiction in a vicious cycle of dopamine release. Many doctors are reporting that more young men than ever before are coming to them with ED, and they think the cause is, at least in part, because of this rise in virtual escapism in young men. "I have absolutely seen a pretty drastic increase in ED rates among young men, especially in the last two, three years," says sex therapist Vanessa Marin. "My average client base is starting to get younger and younger."
Even more troublingly, Zimbardo concludes that the effects go even deeper, and that this toxic combination creates a "generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment." Of course, this estimation doesn't take into account countless other factors at play in the lives of young men, not to mention the risk that comes with shaming people for sexual exploration. As Dr. Marin goes on to say, "We're not having any conversations about what are healthy ways to engage in porn. So no one has a general sense of what's healthy and unhealthy when it comes to porn. And of course it's not black and white either, but I do see a lot of younger men engaging in porn in ways that aren't healthy, in ways that make it more difficult for them to connect with partners and make it more difficult to engage in their own healthy sexuality."
Perhaps the same can be said of video games, that are treated dismissively by parents, as a quirk of young men that should be, for the most part, discouraged until outgrown. Perhaps, the culturally polarized narrative surrounding video games and porn is part of the problem, and the conversation we need to be having is how young men can indulge in video games and explore their sexuality, without the shame that can often foster addiction — and without letting it consume their lives.
- Why Men Need to be Rescued from Pornography and Video Games ... ›
- Internet & Video Game Addiction – Your Brain On Porn ›
- Video Game Addiction - The Control Center ›
- 'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a ... ›
- Why Are So Many Guys Addicted to Internet Porn and Video Games? ›
- Groundbreaking Study Finds Video Game Addiction Is Linked To ... ›
- How Gaming and Porn Addiction Are Ruining a Generation ›