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Yeezus Christ, Superstar?

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Yeezus Christ, Superstar?

While violence ensued in Aleppo, Kanye West and Donald Trump had a reality TV-worthy powwow in the President-elect’s gilded tower

BY TAYLOR HARRIS

CULTURE  -  DECEMBER 15

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Photo: Getty Images

Sigh.

The insanity continues. On Tuesday morning, Kanye West and President-elect Donald Trump held a 15-minute-long meeting at Trump Tower. West was accompanied by an entourage that included Kris Jenner’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble. 

As if we’re not all sick of it, America’s cultural touchstone has become more and more closely associated with the vapid, the devolved, and the inane, somewhat caused by the rise of reality TV and exacerbated by the low-brow circus that was this election cycle. The synthesis of the two on Tuesday was just too much to bear. 

And the timing only made it worse. At that very moment, as we now know, massive genocidal violence ensued in Aleppo as President Assad took back control of the Syrian city from the U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces. Countless innocent civilians were executed in the streets, several posting devastating goodbyes on their social media accounts. Many were children. 

As if that weren’t enough, Tuesday also brought a bizarre new development with Trump’s latest cabinet selection, a fellow Russian bedfellow. The President-elect nominated Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, American’s largest oil company, as Secretary of State. Tillerson has billions of dollars frozen in transatlantic deals, halted due to Obama’s economic sanctions on Russia, cash he would be able to get his hands on were those sanctions to be lifted. Tillerson also won Russia’s Order of Friendship in 2013, the prize pinned on him by Putin himself. Reminder: Russia backs President Assad in the Syrian civil war (you know, the guy terrorizing Aleppo as we speak).

In short, it was a shitshow of a day. And so, of course, West’s appearance was as strange as it was horrifying. This is how President-elect, the imminent leader of the free world, is divvying up his time? And the juxtaposition of this very American meeting, what of two ex reality TV stars (if you count West’s KUWTK’s cameos) in the cushy golden Manhattan tower with the harrowing violence in Syria, is chilling. 

The more TMZ side of the coin is equally bizarre: West was just recently released from U.C.L.A Medical Center after being treated for severe exhaustion after an incident on November 21st that his own doctor described as an episode of “temporary psychosis.” 

But, to be brutally honest, who didn’t see that coming? During every public appearance in the past several months (years?), whether on Ellen or during a concert, the rapper made statements—long, discursive, illogical ramblings, really—each making his atrophying mental state more and more obvious. We all watched the meltdown, the slow car crash of his mind.

I’m no doctor. But, as someone who has made a living interviewing celebrities, it is my humble opinion that, when indulged in, fame can pollute the mind. As a general rule of thumb, the less one defines themselves by their fame and the less they identify with their media-created caricature, the more normalcy they’ll have and happier they’ll be. Fame is a social experiment gone wrong and in many extreme cases, causes a sense of infallibility—a sort of blurry hubris. West literally has a song titled “I Am a God,” and we're all aware what Yeezus rhymes with. 

And Trump is no wallflower when it comes to the spotlight. The two are both in epicenters of their own very insulated fame cyclones. Thus, the meeting of the two felt like a totally gratuitous publicity stunt.

West and Trump aren’t all that different—they’re actually oddly similar in the way they fit within the American pop culture narrative and they way they communicate to the public. They are, for better or worse, two of the most talked-about men in America. They both have a proclivity for impulsively blurting out impassioned complaints on Twitter. They’re both egomaniacal figures with a love-hate relationship with the press and a love-love relationship with themselves. Trump loves Trump as much as Kanye loves Kanye. 

But, even given all that, there is no way they speak the same language. West is on his own planet when it comes to expressing himself, meandering soliloquies aggressively spouting his solutions to the world’s problems have become his signature. They’ve been termed “rants” by the media, but that’s really a misnomer. In truth, we don’t know what to call them—a rant is a drawn out complaint-riddled statement but, normally, makes coherent sense. West’s diatribes aren’t really as characteristic in their complaining nature as they are in their discursive and illogical nature. There is an immediate, instinctive sense that something is wrong when you hear them. One is keenly aware that they’re listening to a mentally unwell person, removed from reality. At least Trump can put together a cogent sentence. Sometimes.

So, how did it go down? One can only imagine West “ranting” for the whole of the 15 minutes, Trump uncomfortably nodding and offering a thumbs-up, much like he did when Sarah Palin endorsed him and was making no kind of sense. 

When reporters asked what Trump and West talked about, Trump said, “Life.” He probably had no idea what the hell West was babbling about. West, for one, took to his Twitter account to explain. 










Concluding the series with allusions to his own presidential run.




Sigh. 

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