Like everyone in our media-drenched culture, I get a lot out of celebrity screw-ups.
We love the abilities that celebrities share with the world — whether they are musicians, athletes, politicians, actors, artists, authors, or just famous for being famous, each one brings something larger than life to our small lives — but we also love their failures. Each time they flame out, we smirk to ourselves and don’t feel so bad about out petty sins.
And no one has being torching himself recently as much as old Yeezy himself, the hip hop star Kanye West. He’s compared himself to everyone from director Stanley Kubrick to the apostle Paul and basketball luminary Michael Jordan. In a newly released song, he suggests Taylor Swift might have sex with him because he made her famous. He married the queen of self-promotion, Kim Kardashian. He named his first child North. His Twitter feed is a joke. And yet, as profanity-filled as his music is, he still is a brilliant artist — almost as brilliant as he claims he is.
Kanye is the definition of a hot mess. He is total depravity on parade.
In other words, he’s just an exaggeration of each one of us. He magnifies the beautiful and the beastial that resides in each of our sin-twisted image-of-God selves. And what is so remarkable about him is that he knows it.
Right in the middle of his bizarre claims at being the greatest artist in human history, he tweets this: “My number one enemy has been my ego … there is only one throne and that’s God’s …”
He couldn’t have articulated the human condition and the truth behind the universe any more clearly, any more personally. God is God and we’re not.
And this is nothing new for Yeezy. On his first album, in its excellent tune “Jesus Walks,” he rapped: “I want to talk to God, but I’m afraid, because we ain’t spoke in so long.” Another cry for God that stumbles over ego.
There are so many times that Kanye makes me shake my head because of what he’s said or done. But the reality is that I find myself shaking my head at myself far more often. Thankfully, the one on the throne hasn’t given up on Kanye or on me.