Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Kanye West as Jesus?
On the new cover of Rolling Stone Magazine is a picture of rapper Kanye West with a crown of thorns on his head posing as Jesus Christ. Words fail to describe the lack of an analogy between West-as-suffering-Messiah to the Real Jesus. Is West making some kind of statement? If so it is only a personal statement, since West’s life has little evidence of a life that sacrifices itself for others and atones for the sins of others through suffering. The "passion" of Kanye West? As in "The Passion of the Christ?" Please... give me a huge break! True, West has suffered. But he, unlike Christ, has deserved a lot of it. He caught grief when he said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims.” Which, in my opinion, was nonsense because false. While Jesus was the God-man Kanye West is, like all of us, human, all too human. Kanye West as some kind of Isaianic "suffering servant" is phenomenally ridiculous.
If West does have a Messiah complex it’s both sad and laughable. I must underscore this: just look at the serious, pained face of West with the thorns on his head and don't you feel like busting out in laughter because of the total inanity of this image? And don't you also feel a righteous anger at the phenomenal devaluing of Jesus down to Kanye West? Here analogies do fail. You could call a Stradivarius a ukelele if you wanted to. You could call an Outback steak a White Castle "burger." One could link, in a simile, a visit to the Louvre with a trip to K-Mart, or standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon with staring at a pothole. One could describe the words of Barney as Shakespearean. But for West to intimate any personal likeness to Jesus stretches even the greatest of imaginations to their limit. All one can do in the face of such absurdity is stare, open-mouthed, at once laughing at the silliness of the thing, on the other hand feeling ticked off at the arrogance. And it is selfish, because West will probably make even more money off of imitating Jesus because of how "radical" he (i.e. West) is. The only good news in all of this is that the current, limited fame of West will soon pass while Jesus, as always, will remain.