‘Fame and power are the objects of all men,’ said the former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. ‘Even their partial fruition is gained by very few; and that, too, at the expense of social pleasure, health, conscience, life.’
I thought of this quote when I heard that Kanye West had collapsed, suffering from ‘severe exhaustion’.
I can’t say I was entirely surprised by the news. Like many, I’ve become severely exhausted myself just trying to keep up with him.
For the past 18 months, the rap superstar has behaved in an increasingly erratic and bizarre manner.
Of course, Kanye’s always been a bit weird. That’s been part of his appeal. He doesn’t play by conventional rules, he plays by Kanye West rules.
He’s always been provocative, too.
Back in 2005, he infamously used a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina relief to say that President George W. Bush ‘doesn’t care about black people’.
And we all remember where we were when he charged the stage at the 2009 VMAs to express his fury that Taylor Swift had won the Best Female Video award, and not his friend Beyoncé. A crass move that prompted President Obama to brand him a ‘jackass’.
But Kanye’s recently strayed into a whole new territory of outrage.
He appears to have been on some kind of rampant, relentless shock-a-thon, devoting his every waking moment (so most of the time, judging by the reports of his chronic insomnia) to working out new ways to grab headlines.
He inexplicably tweeted: ‘BILL COSBY IS INNOCENT!!!!’
He got in a vicious public war with rival rapper Wiz Khalifa, branding his estranged wife Amber Rose a ‘stripper’ and disgracefully sneering about their two-year-old son: ‘You wouldn’t have a child if it wasn’t for me. I own your child!!!’
He targeted Taylor Swift by including this revolting line in his song Famous: ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. I made that b*tch famous.’
He then shot a sickening video for Famous comprised of naked hi-tech waxwork models of a number of celebrities including Swift, Cosby, Donald Trump and Chris Brown - all lying in bed together in some kind of post-orgy stupor.