President Kanye Part 1: Race vs Class

As we all know by this point, Kanye West has announced his intention to run for the Presidency in 2020.

This has netted all kinds of criticism from the usual people, those convinced Kanye’s media-friendly statements mean they can make him into a tabloid joke and those who laugh assuming they are somehow superior to him and not seeing the hypocrisy inherent in that thought process. Surrounded by people doing these things, I have decided instead to take a serious look into Kanye’s budding campaign, what it will mean when 2020 rolls around, and whether one could or should acknowledge it at all or even vote for him.

Kanye is divisive amongst people regardless of their politics. He’s publicly slammed the Republican party on several occasions, rapping about Mitt Romney committing tax evasion and criticising Former President George W. Bush for not caring about black people. Still, ‘Obama called Kanye a jackass’ is embedded in the cultural consciousness. He’s obviously unlikely to get the nomination of any major party for similar reasons to why Trump won’t.

Still, Kanye is no Trump — he’s honest about what he is. He’s perhaps more outspokenly political than any other mainstream figure today. If and when Kanye runs, what will his platform be?

Kanye West is firmly left-wing. In some ways, he’s to the left of Bernie Sanders (who I personally support for 2016). Bernie and Kanye are both against the manipulation of government and society by the billionaire class and the crony capitalism of the modern US. In Bernie’s speeches, he refuses to shy away from this topic and makes income inequality a focal point of his campaign (one that resonates very well with my fellow Millennials). Kanye, however, is perhaps the first politician (if we are to apply an interesting definition to that word) who openly discusses classism and how it runs through modern society. He’s discussed class in America as being less attuned entirely to money like people tend to envision it and more like the British class system — even if you make a certain amount of money, people will see you as beneath them because you lack their high-class upbringing.

The flipside of his crusade against classism is that he doesn’t believe in modern institutional racism, a view that has netted him criticism from the black community. His belief that classism is the sole source of political unrest means he believes racism and classism to be near-synonyms, with police officers killing black youth not because of their skin itself but because they use it as a proxy for ‘poor’.

How accurate is this position? That depends on who you ask. Class discussions in the Anglosphere that centre on the UK as the region’s only state with a strict class system are dying out, and deservedly so. When comparing the US and UK, people tend to refer to the UK’s history stretching into time immemorial as giving it more of a concept of ‘old money’ than the US does, but the concept of ‘old money’ is a relative one that as it turns out has little to do with class in America; people like Jaden Smith and Lily-Rose Depp are certainly members of the American upper class, even though their parents worked their way up from more typical families. But Jaden is black and Lily-Rose is white, and even from their positions as young Hollywood royalty people will ferociously debate what this means.

If ‘black’ is used as a proxy for ‘poor’, is that making assumptions based off of race, class, or both? The US class system is closely adhered to race, with the black middle and upper classes being treated as separate entities from their white counterparts. The black middle class is also on the whole in a worse situation than its white counterpart (already in an unenviable position), with the average middle-class black person living in a neighbourhood with an average income below their own and with the lack of access to services that implies.

Perhaps the conversation is one we can’t even have yet — analysis of the US class system is still in its infancy, and in the current political climate racism is such an emotionally charged topic.

Feel free to state your own beliefs in the comments below.

What The Hell Is Reality?

I am otherkin. Depending on what circles you run in, you may know this as a completely legitimate identity, a bunch of crazy SJWs, or not know of it at all. (If you’re in the last group — subculture of people with the spiritual belief that they are not human, usually involving reincarnation somehow.)

I am also a Redditor, and Reddit really, really likes the second interpretation.

One of my hobbies is debating people. Depending on the subject, platform, intensity, and how much I regret getting into the debate, this can run the entire spectrum from the best to worst thing I did all year. I am also in possession of an incredibly misplaced sense of justice, one that has led me into far more trouble than it’s worth but that I am convinced is one of my better traits anyway. Thanks to the intersection of all of these, I ended up getting into a debate about otherkin on a recent AskReddit thread about things people are unable to take seriously.

Someone I was debating looked through my post history and discovered that I am also psychotic; to be precise, the evidence points towards me being in the prodromal stage of schizophrenia (likely undifferentiated subtype).

I pointed out that my otherkin identity is very stable and has existed since before the onset of those symptoms. I didn’t get a reply.

I ended up bowing out of the argument because someone essentially asked me to explain the specific basis behind my identity and that would be SO MANY WORDS HOLY SHIT, but I’ve been thinking about it over the past few days, and particularly about that person’s questioning and their response or lack thereof.

“You have mental health issues, thus you being otherkin is a delusion” is a line I am not unfamiliar with. This is the first time I can remember being specifically targeted with it, unless you include a lot of interesting and complicated things mainly revolving around the Columbine shooting that are really better off not elaborated on, but that’s more of a rite of passage than anything. I have seen it said to so many people that I couldn’t even tell you all their names. Some people call it ‘concern trolling’, but I think that term has been completely destroyed and is if anything self-parodic. It is simply everpresent, displacingly simplistic, and a damned lie. For one, most of the mentally ill otherkin I have met, including myself, generally have delusions at least a little distinct from our otherkin identities — I really cannot figure out how me being a demon is related to anything involving an intergalactic cabal with some interesting similarities to Chief Bromden’s Combine (or, when I am less charitable towards myself, the plot of The Neverending Story).

But when I think about it intensely, as I am wont to do, and when I spiral into a completely insane and off-kilter train of thought about the whole thing, as I am also wont to do, I find myself questioning whether it is even important to separate the concept of ‘otherkin’ and ‘delusion’, or even whether something being a delusion is inherently bad, as opposed to bad only if it serves as the direct cause of bad things, or, on certain occasions, whether something being a delusion makes it false.

Technically, I have not been diagnosed as psychotic within the medical community, because I am shockingly good at lying by omission. I understand that the average person does not believe in most of the things I believe in, and I also want to avoid getting a particularly stigmatizing diagnosis — I’ve been diagnosed with some pretty stigmatizing things as is, and I would like to inform you that it is not fun and that you should avoid it if at all possible. I have also found that, given that I usually see therapists for things like anxiety and family issues, many of them do not pick up on my less-hideable schizophrenia-spectrum traits, or fail to recognize them as what they are if they do (the therapist who fired me — its own story — noticed that I had a tendency to create neologisms, but ascribed it to autism instead, and many have done the same regarding speech traits that indicate thought disorders). However, I do have many friends who are on that spectrum or who are otherwise well acquaintanced with the psychiatric community, and the consensus is “Yup, you’re somewhere on there and you might be moving towards the more extreme end of it”. I personally hope I’m not getting worse, but I’ve also noticed myself hallucinating, so I get the feeling that could be false hope.

The clincher there is that I have very high rates of schizotypy. How high? Well, my ex was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, and I consistently scored higher than him on every single measure of schizotypy. As far as I can tell, this has existed throughout my whole life, and I tragically did not start identifying as otherkin before conception. This technically means that Asshole Redditor was right. I realized that not too long after I revelled in how much I showed him — I am nothing if not self-aware — and began considering exactly what that meant.

Now, to segue into something that is almost otherkin but actually has literally nothing to do with otherkin anymore: There is a group of people out there who call themselves divine.

They are a recent splinter group from otherkin, formerly going by the terms ‘godkin’ and ‘celestial’. They hold the belief that they are literally gods, devils, deities, that they are deserving of worship and that once they really were.

Most of these people have been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness, particularly psychotic disorders and schizophrenia-spectrum conditions. This isn’t something they hide or that they consider invalidating. In fact, they discuss it openly, extensively. People will say in the same breath that they are schizoaffective and that they are God. They will describe their beliefs both as grandiose delusions and as the gospel (forgive the pun) truth. There is no mental disconnect, and it’s not something influencable by cognitive dissonance — they don’t contradict, not at all. They simply are, coexisting.

This is a belief I share. (The ‘something can be both false and true’ part, not the divine part. Though ‘demonkin’ isn’t that much of a stretch…)

I am quite aware that I am, to use the vernacular, fucked up in the head. I am also quite aware that holy shit, guys, you’re being brainwashed by the cabal! If anything, I consider my delusions a positive; the criteria for ‘brainwashing’ is, essentially, a failure to create, philosophize, and accomplish, so writing a blog post or a film script or a song is a good way to avoid that, and will likely be a good thing in the long term even minus any threat of being brainwashed by the cabal. This is probably why I am at least a little certain that they’re real; if they can serve a beneficial purpose, why fix what’s not broken?

Now, this comes with the caveat that I am garishly self-aware, and I generally spend a lot of time thinking about absolutely everything forever, and that as I am possibly a pathological narcissist, it tends to involve me. Factoring delusions into this, I tend to get into feedback loops about how I know something is a delusion, but I also know it’s real, but I also know it’s a delusion, but it’s also real, but it’s a delusion, but it’s also real, but…

And there’s a funny little word in there — ‘also’.

Here’s the clincher. I don’t believe anything is independently real.

This includes everything from the tiniest quark to the observable universe. Every single aspect of what we call reality, what we call fiction, and what slots into some incomprehensible place between the two is not, in fact, reality — not on its own merits, at any rate.

Reality exists only when we independently create it. Quasi-solipsistic, but not quite — though everyone exists in their own reality, those of others is still real, just not real in the same way.

I often start talking about ‘layers of reality’ at this point, but for some reason, that phrase often triggers me into severe thought disorders and I start babbling about the 21st Century Suicide Prince, so we’re going to avoid that path.

Nonetheless…’reality is something that exists only in the perception of it’ is the ultimate basis of my personal philosophy (unless you count ‘idk, something about pataphysics’). This validates the cause of the divine, validates the cabal, and, ultimately, validates the concept of otherkin both in those completely well-adjusted and those worse off than I am.

And it validates Asshole Redditor, whose perception of reality has no room for otherkin in it.

But don’t tell him I said that.

MSG, Racial History, and the Failsafe Diet

One thing people are really great at doing is denying their own history.

Controversy abounds in the concept of ‘MSG sensitivity’, that idea that monosodium glutamine creates serious food reactions in some proportion of the population. Some people will fight tooth and nail to say that they break out in hives the second it passes their lips; some say that every single piece of evidence suggests that MSG is, if anything, better for you than most sodium and that MSG sensitivity is naught but racism against the Chinese.

I haven’t been a believer in MSG sensitivity for a couple years now. I think that, at the very least, the concept is a holdover from a distinctly racist age. But one thing that I question when I see it raised is the statement that those who claim MSG sensitivity miraculously only react to it in Chinese food, as though they have no awareness that it occurs in high levels in much less racially charged food products. I question this claim because it is simply wrong.

I am a diagnosed autistic, and long before I was a diagnosed autistic I was a suspected one. I am still a suspected ADHD sufferer, and I had some severe childhood behavioural issues due to the intersection of both conditions with very severe bullying. Due to the lack of a cure for autism (then again, as an ASAN supporter, I consider that about the best possible scenario) and the controversy of drug treatment for ADHD, one can find a large variety of alternative treatments for both disorders. Some very prominent alternatives are diet-based. As a child, I spent some time on the Failsafe Diet, a diet particularly prominent in Australia for these conditions. I still have a copy of a guidebook to it in the very room I’m composing this post in.

The idea of the Failsafe Diet is that salicylates — a naturally occuring chemical in many food products and aspirin — and amines — a type of organic compound — along with certain kinds of antioxidants, preservatives, and flavourings, are to blame for the vast majority of childhood disorders and behavioural issues and that a diet designed to be low in all of those (or just the specific ones the child ‘responds’ to) can fix them or mitigate their severity. I was a ‘responder’ to several different additives, MSG being one of them. The issue of being unable to eat Chinese food wasn’t even raised during the couple of years I was on the diet.

What was raised? Tomatoes, pasta, two-minute noodles (ramen), several other foods that I can’t even remember these days but that weren’t particularly Chinese. Large swarths of food were cut out of my diet, and if you attempted to plot them amongst racial lines you would find nothing to support the “the concept of MSG sensitivity is still intentionally racist” hypothesis. Inherently racist, certainly, but many of the people who discuss it today don’t even make that link.

What did the Failsafe Diet do? Well, my mother still swears that it helped. I question her assumption. I feel as though there were times when I personally felt better, but that could easily have been psychogenic — I was a gifted child and particularly obsessed with the diet, pouring through the guidebooks and analyzing nutritional labels. Also, though my memories of my childhood are choppy and misplaced, my severe childhood depression may well have overlapped with the timeframe I was on the diet, at least for a while.

But I don’t think it made anyone hate Chinese people.