Is anyone else nervous about how this ends?
There’s something particularly disturbing about the cavalier news coverage surrounding Kanye West; almost like we’re tuned into a train wreck from the safety of our cell phones. Let’s be honest, something is intriguing about tragedy, and I’m guilty of a subtle obsession myself. My Watch Later list is loaded with true crime coverage and episodes of the latest season of Snapped. Morbid curiosity is far from a new phenomenon, the scientific study of “Rubbernecking” reveals there’s nothing rare or recent about our obsession with the off-putting. Some psychologists argue that rubbernecking, sometimes referred to as “gapers’ delay” or “gapers’ block,” is the result of an unexplainable human urge to experience calamity, so long as the ride ends right before impact. Picture an amusement park for emotions, and you’re on a rollercoaster dashing towards disaster — only the danger is totally tributary, and the ugly ending is someone else’s. It’s a thrill ride with none of the risks; adrenaline with none of the drawbacks.
In fact, according to clinical psychologist, Matthew Goldfine Ph.D., fear and excitement elicit similar physiological reactions, both activating the hypothalamus and triggering the release of dopamine, the “happy hormone.” Notably, studies find that our ability to predict the outcome of the affair also has a way of rousing our brain’s reward center; in so many words, we want to see it coming. Kanye’s early career came with just the right amount of talent and tragedy to get our attention; in his 2002 single, “Through the Wire”, the rapper recounted his recovery from a near-fatal car accident that occurred after a late night in the studio resulted in the rapper falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into an oncoming vehicle. However, Kanye’s career has come quite a way since the release of the Grammy award-winning single, so why does it still feel like we’re watching a wreck?
And all signs point to a serious collision ahead. A quick recap of the rappers’ recent headlines reveals an alarming escalation in intensity, volatility, and unpredictability. Recently, Kanye was accused of spreading the rumor that his estranged wife’s current partner, Pete Davidson, has AIDS. In a January interview with Hollywood Unlocked’s Jason Lee, the rapper took credit for saving Kim…