Even the biggest fans of the rapper Azealia Banks’s music—I’d count myself among them—have to admit, by now, that her larger ongoing cultural significance stems from her tweets rather than her music. At a time when sensitivity—or “political correctness”—is a hot topic, Banks has played the unique role of reminding people that there’s no partisan monopoly on hatefulness. She supports Trump but also parts of far-left ideology; she’s flung hate speech at nearly every identity group imaginable, with her latest flare-up slurring the singer Zayn Malik for being Pakistani and the actress Skai Jackson for being young. This time, the results are that she’s been dropped from a U.K. music festival and—this is big, though possibly coincidentally timed—suspended from Twitter.
It feels like satire come to life that her long-awaited reckoning would come only after insulting an insanely popular ex-boy-bander like Malik. The racism and homophobia on display wasn’t new for her; the lesson would seem to be that the one group you never want to offend is One Direction fans. If you want to find a deeper lesson, though, you can: Banks’s final (for now) Twitter tirade was a perfectly incoherent masterclass in showing how we end up with so many people spewing hate speech at strangers online.