Kanye and Robinson Taking Shots at Vanity
An interesting topic that was touched on during the discussion of The Gold Coast was the idea of vanity. The theme is present in the sexual scene in which Jim and Virginia cannot even bring themselves to have sex without the presence of technology, they feel the need to record themselves. This can be viewed as narcissistic and vanity-focused. This can also be viewed as a possible reflection of the times, also discussed in class. A book that was written and published in the 80’s, especially one that seems to be serving as a possible criticism of the times, would make sense to have themes of vanity, consumerism and self-serving actions.
While these themes were prevalent at the time of this writing, the idea of vanity and narcissism is not one that is absent in current society. Among celebrities and well-known people in today’s society, a poster child for these themes is Kanye West. I thought of him during the discussions today. Among many other fitting traits that would reach far beyond the limitations of this blog if fully listed, he’s a man who speaks of his own creative genius often, believes he’s the biggest “rock star” in the world, and sells signature Adidas shoes that reach prices of over $1000. Despite his sometimes deplorable behavior, he is nonetheless a respected and accomplished musician. He is also aware of his behavior, and it is reflected in some of his music. One song in which this theme is discussed is “Real Friends” from his 2016 album The Life of Pablo. The song features parts in which he notices his busy schedule, his values, and his status as one who has lots of money are all aspects of his lifestyle that get in the way of his relationship with the ones he cares about most, particularly friends and family who were there before the riches came. It’s a self-aware song, one that even contrasts some of the themes within the album (the usual vanity and narcissistic themes of his celebrity persona). He speaks of being at family parties for only 15 minutes and then leaving, not knowing anything about his friends’ children, and having to deal with family members that want money out of him. I felt it fitting, as West is criticizing his own lifestyle, noticing its flaws and downfall. Considering the context of the class, Robinson seems to be doing the same type of criticism of that lifestyle.
Song and lyrics are included.