Here is a fun new chapter in the otherwise exhausting saga that is Kanye West’s rightward turn: an elaborate conspiracy theory. Over the course of just a couple of weeks, West has allied himself with conservatives like Candace Owens, tweeted his “love” for Donald Trump, and said that slavery was “a choice.” All of this has prompted a flurry of deliberation about West’s motivations and even some unwelcome speculation about his mental health. But could it all be a Joaquin Phoenix–style stunt?
It certainly wouldn’t be out of the question, given West’s track record as a provocateur—remember the Confederate arm patch? Perhaps no one has put more thought into this than the man known as Snowcone, co-host of the Kansas City–based radio show The Church of Lazlo, who laid it out in detail in a Twitter thread worthy of Charlie Kelly:
Snowcone goes on to flag a number of Kanye’s tweets to support his theory, including one that encourages artists to “take ideas and update them at your will” and another with a drawing that Snowcone suggests resembles performance artist Andy Kaufman. He also points out that Tremaine Emory has, on multiple occasions, shared West’s posts with the comment “the prestige,” which you may remember from the Christopher Nolan movie of the same name as the final part of a magic trick or illusion.
The whole thing really comes together when Snowcone spotlights another potentially revealing Emory tweet …
… which he notes are lyrics to REM’s “Man on the Moon,” a song that references—yep—Andy Kaufman.
The theory is actually pretty compelling, but even if it’s true, there’s still one big question left to answer: Why is he doing this to us? Is West’s performance a cynical move to stir up controversy and sell more albums? A commentary on how celebrity culture has overtaken our politics, and vice versa? A sincere effort to try to infiltrate the right and change some conservative minds? Some combination of all three?! Please excuse me for a moment while I unspool my skein of red yarn.