Kanye West is the greatest tragic romantic hero of our time.
Think I’m joking? Ha, I say! I could not be more serious. For what we saw at the Grammys this past Sunday was not a megalomaniac in the throes of a diva hissyfit. And his declaration later about how he wasn’t joking and how Beyonce should have won? It was not an artist acting like a “complete twat,” as Garbage singer Shirley Manson said on her Facebook page. Nor was Kanye acting “small and petty and spoilt,” as Manson alleged in a now-very popular open letter to the artist.
In my opinion, what we saw was a man in love. Desperately, tragically, beautifully, painfully and sweetly in love. A love for the ages. A love for the epic poets. A love of legend.
Bear with me on this theory. I know it’s controversial. I know it’s wild. But I believe that Roc Nation is our Camelot. Kanye is essentially our modern-day Lancelot, while Jay-Z is obviously his best friend King Arthur and Bey is the fabulous Queen Guinevere, the love of Lancelot’s life. (In this case, according to my theory, the romantic love is unrequited, although Bey obviously loves Kanye like a little brother.) Rihanna, FYI, is the Lady of the Lake, sensual and magical and lover-dispenser of fat blunts (that’s in the original legend, right?). Kim is Elaine of Corbenic, who slept with Lancelot and bore baby Galahad (North West, duh). I’m pretty sure Blue Ivy is Merlin, because I believe she is an all-powerful entity who will eventually control the world, but that’s another article altogether.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “What is this insane woman, Sara Benincasa, trying to say? Kanye is just a whiny baby-man who can’t control himself when anything seems to threaten his team. He’s not in love with Beyonce.”
But you are wrong. And I’m going to tell you why.
First, Kanye has done this before. Remember in 2009 at the MTV Video Music Awards when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech to give his own famous rant? Of course you do. It was jaw-dropping. And it was clear that Beyonce and Jay-Z were aghast, because their friend/baby brother was being quite rude.
But let’s ask ourselves why he was so rude. Let’s ask ourselves what would prompt a man to jump onstage in front of the whole world and interrupt a young lady against whom he has no ill will in order to declare the artistic superiority of a woman who is married to his best friend.
These are the actions of a man in love.
Second, imagine how you would feel if your partner jumped onstage on behalf of another woman/man (choose your own adventure, folks) in front of all your friends and millions of strangers not once, but twice in the span of six years. That isn’t poor behavior when you realize that, at least in his heart, Kanye is a gallant knight fighting for the honor of his lady.
Third, it is entirely possible to be in love with two people at the same time. I don’t doubt that Kanye loves Kim, who is beautiful and elegant and glamorous and quite a smart businesswoman to boot. And there is zero doubt in my mind that he is absolutely gaga over their wonderful daughter. I don’t mean to imply that he would ever cheat on Kim or betray her love. Nor would he ever do anything to disrespect Jay-Z. When I say Kanye loves Beyonce, I’m not talking about some cheap lustful desire. I’m talking about a grand and beautiful love for the ages, pure and noble and true. This is deep spiritual stuff, people. To put it in Wes Andersonian parlance: She’s his Rushmore.
Now, will this love ever be realized? No, because Beyonce and Jay are a sacred two-headed entity designed by a deity in the sky, and no human party can mess with that. And Kanye is a family man who loves his wife and daughter very, very much. But the love will remain, incandescent in its beauty, glowing with all the fire of a thousand million kajillion suns, powering great music and art for decades to come. It is less a beautiful dark twisted fantasy than a beautiful dark twisted tragedy, and we should all reserve patience and love in our hearts for Kanye, who will probably storm the stage on Bey’s behalf at many awards shows to come, regardless of the criticism that will be levied at him in the aftermath. Because it’s not about us and what we think. And it’s not about Taylor Swift or Beck. It’s about true love. And, in the end, that’s why a tragic hero sacrifices himself, over and over and over again if necessary.
Once more unto the breach, noble hero.