Kanye West: fame, identity, civilisation

“The truth about the world is that anything is possible.”
– Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian


Sydney, 2014. A stage before me, walkway extending into the crowd like the tail of a crucifix laid flat. Smoke and light, red beams either shooting up from the floor or falling from the sky. A man in a mask sings about slavery, falling forward only to immediately spring back, a coil of energy animated by the electricity of the sun.

It is a simple and true statement to say that we are part of Kanye’s fame. We are a fact of that system, a point in the loop. We’re an audience, wheels in an economic machine. Also receivers and senders of culture, transmuting words and images into trends and data. Like all truth claims, this is a simple, but ultimately limited observation to make. What I want to do here is instead attempt to convey something of the experience of this truth. I want to try and describe what it actually feels like to say “we are part of a system of fame” and offer what I think this means for all of us. Read the rest of this entry »