Being a Contrarian Just to Be a Contrarian Just Makes You a Sheep With Bad Timing

Erykah Badu (Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

I’m not sure if anything will top the “Hitler had some talent, tho” hill that some of y’all’s friends and cousins are choosing to die on this week. And I say this as someone who has chosen some extremely peculiar hills—including the “Pancakes are better than waffles” hill, the “New Kanye’s music is better than the old Kanye’s music” hill and the “Selfies are the least-flattering pictures you can take” hill. Hitler-related hills, however, are just a bit too steep for me. If I’m gonna choose a hill to die on, at the very least, I don’t want one that’ll give me nosebleeds.

Of course, (some) niggas are forming their mouths to defend Hitler’s paintings this week because sentient Swahili fortune cookie Erykah Badu claimed that she could see the good in him. Because she can see the good in everyone. Because apparently when you reach the 117th level of wokeness, they give you special goodness-seeing Ray-Bans. Because wokeness basically works exactly like “Mario Kart.”


And I say this as someone who (mostly) loves Erykah Badu and very much appreciates that she exists. The world is a better place with her in it. But she’s a prime example of how you can try so hard to be free-spirited and unique and free-thinking and edgy that you eventually just fall off the edge. And, in a rush to prove themselves as intellectually rigorous and untethered as she claims to be, people are falling off that edge with her.

Admittedly, there is a tremendous value to skepticism. And applying critical thought in areas where you believe it to be lacking. But while the cynic questions and doubts, the contrarian is solely dependent on the status quo as they wait until a consensus is formed and then decide to go the other way as a way to distinguish themselves from the other “sheep.” Not realizing that when they say, “Well, actually ... ,” all anyone can actually hear is “Baaaaaaaaaa.”

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About the author

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB and a columnist for His debut memoir in essays, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins), is available for preorder.