For some fans of Kanye West, 2018 will go down as the year their favorite socially conscious artist flipped from wrestling with the concept of materialists as “new slaves” to embracing Donald Trump’s conservatism and preaching that slavery was a choice. For others, it will be remembered as the year he opened up about his battle with mental illness. The way Dr. Phil sees it, the latter perspective can be just as true as the former without him being absolved of responsibility for the words he puts out into the world.
During his appearance as a guest on the View this week, Dr. Phil found himself fleshing out his feelings on Kanye’s most recent rants while engaging the show’s panel of hosts on the psychological state of the nation. The famed psychologist opened up his take on the topic by asserting his belief that the prevalence of confirmation bias is to blame for the ideological schisms that have been growing to divide the public. He then followed a course of questioning to address the president’s state of mind, who he vaguely alluded to as a simple “attention whore” who has been getting off on all of the back and forth he’s had with the media.
Dr. Phil wouldn’t completely reject the possibility that Trump’s polemic behavior could be the result of a traumatic experience early in his life, and neither would he altogether dismiss the claim that Kanye struggles with a neurological condition. But to his determination, it doesn’t appear that Kanye is suffering to the point where he can’t be held to account and stand on the statements he makes.
“I mean, he seems to me to be well oriented as to person, place and time. Are his ideas eccentric? Depends on who you’re talking to and when you’re talking to them. But he seems to me to be highly functional,” said Dr. Phil. He then highlighted Kanye’s success and continual ability to do business and make art at a high level as evidence that the producer and fashion mogul isn’t incapable of being rational when it is most convenient.
If Kanye’s rapidly accelerating Yeezy sneaker brand and latest platinum-selling record are any indication, Dr. Phil has a point. As Business Insider pointed out earlier this year, it might be difficult to substantiate the claim that the sneaker is out-competing the industry standard Air Jordans, as a billion dollar company, but Kanye’s success in the realm of marketing has been indisputable. The article quotes Lyst communications director Katy Lubin as citing his use of social media, coupled with smart scarcity and exclusivity tactics to elevate Yeezy to become one of the most sought-after fashion products in only a couple of years time. And as Billboard would report in June, his Ye album’s chart-topping debut week proved his musical prowess hasn’t gone anywhere by helping him tie Eminem and The Beatles for the longest streak of No. 1.
“I think he has to be accountable for what he says. I don’t think that he is insane to the point that he has to be in a sheltered environment. If he is, than he needs to be institutionalized,” Dr. Phil said. “If he’s not, then he needs to be held accountable for what he’s saying. He seems to me to be fully capable of owning what he says.”