Johnson: Kanye's Manifest Westiny

Johnson: Kanye's Manifest Westiny

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We can all see that Kanye West is trying to start a cult, right? To me, there are few things that have ever been more obvious, but I am happy to break it down for anyone who has not yet arrived at the same conclusion.

Here are the facts we know: Rapper Kanye West is married to Kim Kardashian. He has four children with her, and he has allegedly been in the same room with them before. He is technically considered a mogul. He is a stable genius who only associates with other stable geniuses.

Kanye West can be a polarizing figure. His fans are die-hard, and his haters truly be hating. I won’t say which category I fall into because as someone who is often mistaken for a journalist, it is my job to remain impartial. I will, however, attempt to compile evidence of the sound possibility that Kanye West will soon be able to add “Cult Leader” to his LinkedIn profile. If Kanye were a perspective cult leader, he would be in a fortunate position because he already has the kind of dedicated following one would need for such a task as well as support from a number of celebrities, influencers and “politicians.” Just a touch of mind-molding could reasonably coax some of his more zealous fans, along with the celebrities who weren’t good enough for Scientology, onto the cult train. Perhaps if he were to find Jesus and create some kind of a religious service, he could use it as a tool to gently cultivate a group of acolytes... But of course, West’s Sunday Services, which he has taken all over the country in an effort to spread his religious message on a larger scale, are nothing like that.

Though religion can bring people together in positive ways, West’s new religious path has shown an ugly side. There is footage depicting West scolding wife Kim Kardashian West for her public persona as a sex symbol, saying that as a Christian, he is uncomfortable with the clothes she wears and the image she presents. This is not the first time West’s involvement in Kardashian’s image has raised some eyebrows. When the couple first married, fans scrutinized West for overly involving himself in Kardashian’s publicity and image, going so far as to overhaul Kim’s wardrobe entirely. While the issue of modesty can be controversial, it is a fact that Kardashian has spent upwards of ten years fostering her sex symbol status. In short, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Kanye knew Kim Kardashian was sexy when he married her. I can’t definitively say Kanye is trying to gain as much control as possible over his wife in order to use their collective clout to his own culty advantage, but if the leash fits...

I also look to West’s latest real estate ventures as evidence. Some months ago, Kanye purchased Monster Lake Ranch near Cody. Have you ever googled pictures of that place? It’s a functional agricultural compound, which could be made fully sustainable with some finessing (you know, like the kind of places where cults like to hang out). Just within the past week, West doubled down on his order, purchasing a second ranch — Bighorn Mountain Ranch — near Greybull for more than $14 million. If that’s not the exact kind of setup a millionaire procures for the sole purpose of accommodating 30-50 of his most loyal sycophants, I will kiss Post Malone on the lips. One secluded ranch in Wyoming is verily a prime location for cult activity with the state’s expansive nothingness and the general laissez-faire attitude. Two secluded ranches? We could be embarking on megacult territory.

Also, I just want to take a second to say I find it egregious that this man bought a place named Monster Lake (cool, evocative) and renamed it West Lake (expected, tacky, boring). This is not so much evidence pertaining to the cult theory as it is evidence that Kanye has no taste; although, one could argue that the Yeezy clothing brand already proved as much beyond a reasonable doubt.

Beyond real estate and religious fanaticism, Kanye West undeniably possesses the qualities of a Chuck Manson or a Marshall Applewhite — narcissistic, charismatic, unpredictable — a juicy little cocktail of cult leader qualities. Anyone who can get millions of people to buy some of the ugliest shoes to ever be stitched together certainly must possess some serious charisma.

Though Kanye may be making an attempt at cult leadership, the process hasn’t been without its challenges. West was recently denied a permit to build an amphitheater and asked to cease all construction at West Lake. Kanye could have a tough time spreading the good news without his own on-site amphitheater, but who’s to say whether or not it will impede the pursuit of his Kanye Manifest Westiny?

Maybe Kanye doesn’t want to start a cult. Perhaps, like other rich men before him, he just wants a tax break and some social leverage. But if you ask this reporter (and again, I’m not a real reporter), the question is not, “Will Kanye West start a cult?” but rather, “Will it or will it not be a polygamist cult?”

Alex Johnson is a Casper native best known for being “pretty weird to talk to” and “making people uncomfortable with intense eye contact.” What she lacks in social decorum, she makes up for in trivial musings and being good at three or four things. Love or hate something she writes? Feel free to drop her a line — missalexjohnson@gmail.com.

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"When I think about female representation in Wyoming’s outdoors," Peterson writes, "it’s not just an interesting topic to consider and then move on. It’s my future. It’s our future."

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