Narcissistic, manic, provocateur, unpredictable, barely able to string a coherent sentence together…and then there’s Kanye!
At this point, the bizarre state of US politics needs no introduction. With Kanye’s straight up batshit crazy interview with Forbes published last week, the world didn’t really know how to react. Kanye running for president? Was he for real? Is it all a marketing ploy? Does he support Trump still??
At this stage, it’s impossible to tell what really is going on in Kanye’s camp. However, there is a theory that post-2018 Kanye has been all a performance art act inspired by pioneering entertainment personality Andy Kaufman.
Kaufman is known for being one of the first meta-entertainers/comedians, blurring the line between reality and performance in a way that had audiences stunned, confused, but ultimately laughing.
The theory was initially proposed by an intrepid Kanye fan who cited a portrait of Kaufman as well as references to German performance artist Joseph Bueys tweeted out by close Kanye collaborators. Rolling Stone even interviewed the original Tweeter about his theory after the release of ye.
Let’s entertain this idea. Kanye is deliberately making himself the pariah of the pop culture community…again. Everything he said in his Forbes interview is the antithesis of what is expected of the liberal-left of the entertainment world…you’re simply not allowed to say these things, especially if you’re a black male.
In fact, Kanye even hints at the idea that doing what he’s expected to do as a black male (i.e. vote Democrat) is a form of racism.
To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy
Is he wrong? Actually, not entirely. But that doesn’t make him right either.
But let’s follow that ‘performance art’ thread a bit more. Why would people be so upset that Kanye is running for presidency? Is it because he’s criminally underqualified? Is it because he’s a narcissistic manchild? Is it because he has a background in celebrity and not politics or leadership?
These very questions highlight the fact that that is the exact situation the US finds itself in in this Trumpian era. With Trump as president, the office of statesman has lost all meaning. What’s to stop a person like Kanye from taking the throne?
Whether intentional or not, this is a stroke of genius to focus the attention on all the flaws that have led to this age of the Great American Decline. To allow these men of dubious character to progress so high and far is a devastating prognosis for the type of society we have built up. Is it too late to treat this sickness?
Despite all this hoo-hah, it was soon revealed that Kanye is in fact dropping out of the presidential race (before it even began). Some are concerned that this is merely a manic episode in Kanye’s public struggle with bipolar disorder. Fans fear that it is also the manifestation of mental conditioning by the religious right-wing that Kanye has been hanging out with in his Jesus Is King era.
Performance art or not, the idea of Kanye running for president is yet another fascinating chapter in both an illustrious career plagued with controversy, as well as a deeply troubling year that never fails to surprise.
This post was originally published in the Deadset weekly newsletter Issue#7. Click here to read the full issue and subscribe now for the week’s hottest pop culture analysis!