When we talk about Geniuses in our society, we generally talk about the best of us. The most influential. We typically reserve this prestigious title for people that display exceptional intelligence or skill in a certain field- these are the people that leave a mark from whence they came, the people that elevate their subject matter to higher plains.
Albert Einstein is considered a Genius because he created the theory of relativity, that time can be experienced differently depending how fast you travel and the influence of gravity which creates Space Time (I go into detail about this theory in this article) his work has greatly impacted Physics and you’d be hard pressed to find a Scientist who doesn’t refer to him as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
Now a lot of people get a bit peeved when they perceive the title of Genius to be tarnished when people refer to Actors, Comedians or Musicians to Geniuses. Because what’s so impressive about pretending to be someone else for a living? Or making strangers laugh? Or being able to arrange sounds in such a way that they are pleasing to the ear?
I mean, Anthony Hopkins isn’t going to cure your Leukaemia, Bill Burr isn’t going to solve Global Warming and John Lennon isn’t going to save the world from Poverty and Disease…mostly because he’s dead, but that’s besides the point.
The point being that as a society we should not be upholding these individuals in such a high regard that we are practically worshipping them. After all, they’re only just instruments of entertainment. Their opinions don’t matter, their life choices do not hurt us and the power is superficial at best. We are not here for them, they are here for us.
And while I agree that as a Society we shouldn’t worship the cult of celebrity, as it creates unrealistic standards for the masses it also instils a desire for that same kind of recognition. Everyone wants to be famous, but not everyone can be. That’s just a fact of life.
So instead of placing a value on the life of Celebrity we ought to place a value on being a Doctor, or a Scientist or even a store hand- or the guy who cleans the cinema after the movie ends. We as a a Society should appreciate every role that keeps Human Civilisation afloat, both the critical and mundane. we should recognise that the drug of Fame can bring a quick high, but leave long lasting damage- and that this kind of recognition, no matter how alluring, will never nourish your needs in the same way close and intimate relationships ever will.
However there’s an issue with this desire of ours to better Society. Because Society is full of people, and people are idiots.
It’s easy to forget just how many morons there are roaming this earth. Even if we place a value on being a Scientist or being a Doctor we’ll still have very few of either. Because people are moronic and lazy, they don’t have the attention span to be a Scientist and they don’t have the stomach to be a Doctor.
Now that’s ok, or at least it would be if we didn’t stigmatise these low level jobs and referring to the people in these positions as “Losers” which is why so many people work jobs that they hate. Which sucks tremendously.
So when these people see an actor or a comedian or a musician- they see an escape route that looks easier than the alternatives. The amount of recognition you get for being an actor is much more endearing then that of a bin man or a bartender. Their lives offer a sense of escapism to lives that are otherwise inescapable. They offer a friend to the friendless.
That’s why the Cult of Celebrity exists. And while I agree we should deescalate this form of worship, I disagree with the premise that these people can’t be geniuses. Heath Ledger didn’t just pretend to be someone else, he was someone else. Dave Chappelle doesn’t just make people laugh, he makes people think- he points out the absurd and helps people gain a level of empathy they may have struggled with initially.
Music in a way is the superior of the three as it can connect to people on a more emotional basis. A song can define a moment for you; Love, Heartbreak, Anger, Sorrow, Relief- anything. It isn’t just a series of sounds that are pleasant to the ear, it encapsulates an emotion- a Memory.
These fields can be appropriated by their respective audiences to mean something else, bring an entire new meaning to the performance and even change a person’s life. Alfie Allen talked about his interactions with a fan who was inspired by his character Theon Greyjoy (who in the series, get’s tortured and mutilated and yet struggles to abandon his torturer) to leave her abusive relationship.
In the same light Comedians such as George Carlin and Frankie Boyle are pioneers of free speech and to stand up against power. The music of Sixto Rodriguez never gained popularity in America, but in South Africa and became the soundtrack for the Anti-Aparheid movement that was growing in the nation.
So I would conclude that an Actor, a Comedian or a Musician is not on par with the level of significance as say a Scientist or an Engineer would possess- but they are important regardless as they bring people together. How many conversations have you had with strangers in their taste in movies? How many friendships have formed over love of the same music?
The question isn’t whether or not these performers can be referred to geniuses, but which performers we refer to as Geniuses. Amy Schumer and Tiffany Haddish are not on par with another, nor is Harry Styles and David Bowie. The final issue we have with this problem is this; is it ok for a Genius to refer to themselves as a Genius?
Now, Kanye West is notorious for his egoism and his various other crazy antics. So much so that the vast majority of people who dislike him are oblivious to his music. Which is a tricky path for Kanye’s Legacy, because he wants to be immortalised as the greatest Artist of all time but if he’s not too careful people will remember him as the biggest ass-hat of all time.
I’ve discussed Kanye previously in my review of his film Runaway (which is a great film that I highly recommend you check out) Mr West is an interesting character, he’s a very endearing artist. But he suffers from a variety of fatal flaws like a protagonist in a Greek Tragedy.
Narcissism, Delusions of Grandeur, Mood Swings, Pride, an insistence to be the centre of attention and to indulge his contrarian tendencies. If you tell him not to do something, that’ll make him him want to do it even more. Even if it leads to him endorsing Fascists.
Now in my review I discussed briefly Kanye’s personal heroes; Gerald Ford, Walt Disney and Pablo Picasso. The two prior names I believe are heroes for their entrepreneurship and influence in both society and pop culture.
Ford revolutionised the Auto-Mobile industry and paved the way for the invention of the Weekend- saying that the only way he could make money is if his workers had the time off to buy them. Disney on the other hand created, well, Disney- he revolutionised film by creating the first 2D Animated films and created a Media Corporation whose brand is recognised across the globe.
However I have to point out it’s a little strange to see Kanye West, a Black Person, cite these two as his personal heroes since they’re both notorious Nazi Sympathisers. Then again, as Kanye said in his interview with Charlamagne Tha God; “If Racism were a deal-breaker, then I wouldn’t live in America” to which Charlmagne aptly responded; “That’s some Rich Nigga shit right there.”
However the most interesting influencer Kanye cited was the latter; Pablo Picasso. Now there’s numerous occasions in which Kanye has compared himself to Pablo Picasso, the Spanish Cubist painter. He sees himself as the Picasso of music, or at least Hip Hop. I on the other hand don’t see this similarity. In fact, I argue that Kanye West has more in common with Slavador Dali than Picasso.
I stated the same thing in my original article, it was part of an off-the-cuff intro into his character. However recently I’ve been thinking about the similarities of the two and I’m curious if they’re on the same wave length as I think they are. In this article I’m going to go into some detail about both Artists lives, particularly Dali’s. I’ll also discuss the tragedy at the end of Salvador’s life and whether or not this would ever happen to Kanye.
Born in 1904 to a Middle Class family in Spain, Salvador had a talent for art at a young age. His Father was a lawyer that had a strict disciplinary approach in his parenting, while his Mother on the other hand encouraged her son to pursue his dreams of becoming an Artist. Dali practically worshipped his mother.
That’s the first similarity between the two; Intimate Relationships with their Mothers. Kanye’s parents were divorced and his Mother encouraged him to pursue his dreams of becoming an artist. When their respected mothers died both men were devastated. Dali’s mother died when he was sixteen after she was diagnosed of breast cancer, Kanye’s on the other hand died just about ten years ago during a botched surgery.
His album 808’s and Heartbreak was an Ode to her. Personally I find the album to be complete trash except for a few tracks, such as Coldest Winter. It’s a very polarising album. I honestly believe the reason it’s bad is because Kanye’s contributors didn’t have the nerve to give him some criticism before releasing it, because it was a passion project for his Mother so they didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
However I reckon his feelings would be more hurt if the fans didn’t like the album, a harsh criticism in production can save a lot of grief upon release.
Both men went to Art School. Kanye in Chicago while Dali studied in Madrid. Both men weren’t particularly suited for this academic setting no matter how talented they were. Kanye dropped out of school to focus on his music career when people told him he couldn’t rap while Dali was expelled after being accused of starting an unrest.
Dali later moved to Paris where he met and befriended fellow painter Pablo Picasso, whom he revered. The same happened to Kanye when he became a producer and met Jay-Z, whom he also revered. Kanye is often credited as having revitalised Jay-Z’s career at that stage- thus launching him to stardom.
Jay-Z returned the favour by helping Kanye get his own record label, to which Kanye credits him on the final track of his very first album- the college dropout. In this story Jay-Z would be Picasso, but that’s where the similarities end. Unless Pablo Picasso also used to sell Crack.
Dali was notorious for his publicity stunts, mostly harmless stuff like showing up to a lecture wearing a scuba diving suit and leading three Russian wolf hounds or promoting his book by moving a bed into a New York bookstore, lying on it while having your heart rate and brain waves monitored all the while signing copies of his book for passersby and then giving them papers of his results.
However he did a lot of controversial shit, such as going to a Masquerade party with his wife dressed as the Lindbergh baby and his kidnapper. In which the child of aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped and later killed only a few miles away from his home. The uproar from the press was so bad that Salvador had to apologise.
Which he got a lot of shit for from other Artists, because they believe that you should never apologise for your Art. Kanye’s critics in the music industry don’t feel the same way.
Kanye has done a lot of shit to get him in trouble, whether it be stating that George Bush doesn’t care about black people on live television in response to Hurricane Katrina during a fundraiser or interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at an award ceremony- which somehow caused more problems for his career than calling the president a racist because the music industry was particularly insulted by this tantrum.
I believe he later apologised for that as well, even went away for a few moths afterwards to work on his album that featured an apology song for Taylor titled “Runaway” a damn near perfect song in a damn near perfect album; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It revitalised his career after the damage 808’s did to him.
Although this apology song was cut short a few years later in which Kanye made a song where he said “I think me and Taylor might still have Sex, I made that bitch famous” and then uploaded a ten minute video that depicted a dozen celebrities sleeping in the same bed- presumably post orgy.
Big names such as George Bush, Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, himself, Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose (former girlfriend), Rihanna, Ray J (guy who fucked Kim in that sex tape), Bill Cosby, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Caitlin Jenner which…is something I really didn’t want to see.
It’s a weird and fucked up video that upset a lot of people. Very artsy and provocative.
The only main difference the two artists have is their attitudes towards politics. Salvador Dali was apolitical, which was problematic for an industry dominated by Leftist’s. His contemporary’s would later expel him from the Surrealist group after he refused to denounce Fascism.
Dali argued that Surrealism could be apolitical and not just a tool to critique fascism. But his refusal to denounce both Hitler and Franco is what condemned him in the eyes of the other artists. His silence proved his guilt, because the only thing it takes fro evil to triumph is if good men do nothing. Often times silence itself can be an endorsement.
Kanye on the other hand is incredibly outspoken on politics. He’s expressed a lot of concerns about Socio-Political regarding the black community such as welfare reform, the prison industrial complex and the issues with large single parent households. In the song Diamond of Sierra Leone he raises awareness of the cruelties of the Diamond Corporations in Africa exploiting war torn country’s for their resources.
Or at least he did in the remix with Jay-Z, the first one was mostly about him talking about himself and contained this line “If your stripper name is Porsche and you get tips from any man, then your fat friend- her nickname is mini van” …yep, Shakespeare in the flesh.
As I said before Kanye has caused a ruckus with George Bush and despite his general assholeness he’s been quite supportive on the LGBTQ community. In the 200’s he openly admitted that he noticed how everyone in Hip-Hop discriminated against Gay people and how he didn’t like it. He also helped Kim adjust to Bruce transitioning into Caitlyn, citing that she had to live her truth.
However the most scandalous thing he’s ever done is show his support for Trump and his comments on Slavery being a choice. Support in a loose term, if you listen to Kanye for a long period of time it’s easy to realise that he’s off his meds (because he’ll tell you he’s off his meds) and that he’s politically illiterate.
Honest to God, the only reason he says that he supports Trump is because people told him not to support Trump. He also sees in Trump the possibility of a loudmouth, vain, childish celebrity to be elected to Presidency of the United States…so, Kanye 2020.
The thing I’ve noticed that the two men have most in common is their adoration for their Wives. Salvador was married to a woman named Gala, a Russian immigrant who was initially married to another surrealist. Dali adored her, but the two had a strange relationship. Salvador would constantly go after younger girls, fuck and paint them for about a week and then head on back to his wife- which she was ok with for some reason.
Kanye on the other hand is married to Kim Kardashian, the most famous woman in the world. She’s typically known for her work in reality TV but recently she just visited the White House and managed to convince Trump to pardon a non-violent drug offender serving life in prison. Which is a great thing that she did and I’m proud of her for doing it, as is Kanye I imagine.
However she disapproves of his attitudes towards Trump, saying that she’s worried that this controversy will ruin them. Kanye revealed her concerns in his most recent Album simply titled “Ye” it’s pretty good. A few good tracks but nothing like the College Dropout or Dark Fantasy.
Both women were mainly concerned with handling the money, while the men were mostly concerned with doing whatever they wanted. In Dali’s case that was banging some art groupies. I don’t know if Kanye is an adulterer but he sings a lot about sex, the recent album kind of presents it as more of an addiction than anything else.
But that’s purely speculatory. Another speculation I have is that Kanye is actually in love with Beyonce, hence why he made a big deal when Taylor Swift won and when Beck won best album- is it purely a coincidence that Beyonce was a runner up in both incidents?
Both men are very religious. Dali has made numerous paintings of Jesus on the Cross while Kanye himself has included biblical imagery in his works, even going so far as to write Jesus Walks and having that song introduced in a concert by having this guy come on stage;
A lot of people have accused Kanye of blasphemy for that act, alongside other stuff such as the picture of him with the crown of thorns (which is our thumbnail) and declaring himself a God in his album Yeezus- which is trash by the way.
Both men have dabbled in other fields outside of their traditional art forms. Dali himself worked on a few surrealist films, created some stage productions for plays on Broadway and even wrote a few books. Kanye made his own Art film and launched his own fashion line.
Dali was criticised by surrealists who referred to him as “Avida Dollas” which means “Eager for dollars” this was a derisive reference to the increasing commercialisation of Dali’s work, and the perception that Dalí sought self-aggrandisement through fame and fortune.
Kanye is similar in that he attributes wealth to be the ultimate freedom. That’s why he wants his own clothing line and various other businesses- he wants the worlds first trillion dollar company. Now that’s never going to happen because Kanye’s clothes are shit and because he’s not business savvy.
But the desire is critical to Kanye’s world view; because he understands that he is rich, but the white guy that owns his record company is wealthy. Riches can vanish overnight, Wealth stays tight.
So as you can see the two men seem ti have a lot in common. Both raised in middle class families. both had intimate relationships with their mothers and were devastated when they passed, both befriended the artist they revered, both were prone to controversy and both were heavily religious men who loved their wives.
But possibly the greatest similarity they share is that both men believe themselves to be Geniuses.
Both, in my opinion, are indeed geniuses. Dali is one of Surrealism’s greatest influences and his masterpiece The Persistence of Memory has been paid tribute to countless time. The melting clocks is an infamously haunting image you can’t quite scrub from your mind.
Kanye’s music has inspired numerous artists- from Tyler the Creator to Childish Gambino. He’s even gained the respect from the likes of David Bowie and Paul McCartney- who even went as far to compare him to John Lennon. Kanye is often credited to having predicted the future of hip hop, he sets the format for what other artists will follow for the next few years.
Recently however he’s went from trend setter to trend chaser. This is painfully obvious in hi previous albums such as the Life of Pablo (title credited to Pablo Picasso) and Yeezus. Even some of the tracks in his most recent album seem as if he’s trying to imitate the styles of other rappers.
And it’s fine if Kanye wants to experiment, you don’t want him to grow stagnant. But I don’t want him to sound like A$AP Rocky or whatever new guys show up in a few years- I want Kanye to sound like Kanye. If he’s not careful, he’s in danger of losing that very authenticity he was worried about losing in his early albums.
So with these striking similarities, what can we expect from the remainder of Kanye’s life?
Well as far as Salvador Dali is concerned, it’s all down hill from their. Dali’s silence and seeming acceptance of Franco’s dictatorship grew scorn from other artists, they often talked about him in the past tense- as if he were dead.
In later life Dali moved back to his home town and bought a castle for his wife. He was only allowed to visit her when she requested him- again, weird relationship. In his later years he developed Parkinson’s disease- his wife over prescribed him pills and he he gained a lot of nerve damage in his hands, which ultimately prevented him from painting.
His wife grew senile and later died. After losing her, Dali lost the will to live. On several times he tried to commit suicide. At one point wilfully dehydrating himself, on another he set his bedroom on fire. He survived both instances and lived in the castle, alone. He died a few years later.
By this metric we can predict that if Kanye keeps carrying on with these publicity stunts and controversial opinions the Music Industry will shun him. If he doesn’t figure out the right direction for his music career his fans will shun him. He is in very real danger of losing everything of he isn’t careful.
The idea of Kanye receiving similar injuries later in life is plausible. Kanye has admitted to having an opioid addiction after having lipo suction surgery so he’s already at risk. His mental health isn’t too stable, his hectic lifestyle doesn’t help with that alongside the grievances he’s had with his mother.
The death of his wife may be the thing that pushes him over the edge, he already faced something similar when she was robbed at gunpoint in her hotel room. Like Dali he could become an empty shell of a man, a shadow of his former self.
Physical degradation is a possibility. I’ve heard a theory that Kanye has brain damage that he gained after his car crash he went through before he started working on his first album. The crash was essentially the day his persona was born, it’d seem fitting if it would also be his undoing.
You see the brain is like jelly- a simple tap can cause it to wobble. So a crash like that could cause unknown damage, maybe even lead to a degenerative brain disease early in life. There’s a possibility that Kanye could have Alzheimers by the time he’s fifty. However what’s most likely is that his Jaw is going to have more problems, since he had to have it wired shut after that car crash.
Arthritis in the joints would mean he’d have trouble eating and so his music career would essentially be dead. Kanye could grow deaf unless he wears ear buds to his concerts and takes care of his ears regularly, it would be as equally tragic for Kanye to lose his sense of hearing as it would be to lose his voice.
Hopefully none of that would happen. Hopefully Kanye doesn’t develop health issues, his controversial opinions don’t lead him to becoming broke, his family life doesn’t end in tragedy and he eventually does find the direction he wants to pursue in his music. Hopefully.
In conclusion, Kanye is a complex and tragic man who is almost definitely insane. But as the man himself said in the song feedback; “Name a Genius that Ain’t Crazy”