Lil Nas X has had a busy week responding to critics of his new music video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Among the haters are elected government officials, and also notorious conservatives, like that woman who often goes viral for carrying guns on college campuses. Despite the heat, watching Lil Nas X responding to naysayers has made for wonderful entertainment, as he’s mastered the fine art of shitposting.
The music that set people off is teeming with fantastical religious imagery, like hell, where Lil Nas X dutifully grinds on Satan. Overall, the extremely gay video is a visual trip and that you just sort of need to see for yourself — and with 35 million views on YouTube, many people have.
Not everyone is thrilled with the directorial choices in the video, especially as it relates to Lil Nas X’s sexuality, but that’s not stopping him from taking the criticism in stride. The musician has been all over social media, from Twitter to TikTok, with some choice clapbacks. Here’s one, for example, where he rightly points out that religious diehards always warn queer people that they’re going to hell — only to be pissed when people embrace the idea of damnation.
More controversy came when Lil Nas X announced a pair of sneakers alongside the music video called Satan Shoes, shoes which allegedly have actual human blood in them. While this upset people even more — including Nike, which is now suing the company that makes them — Lil Nas X came prepared with the perfect Photoshop for some fake kicks playfully catering to religious bigots.
At this point, Lil Nas X is just fully leaning into the ruckus. One of his tweets provokes people into clicking a mysterious link with the clickbait message “wow can’t believe they said this.” But when you press it, you find out that it’s not a link to a hater at all. I won’t ruin it, but suffice it to say that it’s a brilliant usage of one of Twitter’s lesser-known functions.
While watching the responses unfold is genuinely entertaining, it’s also just a rare example of using shitposting for good. These aren’t just zingers — in nearly every post, Lil Nas X has a point. In the tweet below, for instance, where he calls out the governor of South Dakota for wasting time getting mad at some sneakers.
For fans following Lil Nas X since “Old Town Road” went viral, this mastery over memes is nothing new — the man is already an internet icon. “Montero” is just another reminder of how good he is at the internet. Still, it’s worth remembering that Lil Nas X is a person with actual feelings. He’s putting on a good show right now, but the trolls still have an effect on him. “I’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me,” he wrote in a tweet.
i’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me. i try to cover it with humor but it’s getting hard. my anxiety is higher than ever and stream call me by your name on all platforms now!
— nope (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
Fortunately, there are way more of us cheering on Lil Nas X as he gleefully descends into the pits of hell, heels and all.