09/02/2021

Kanye West’s latest album Donda is extraordinary. Specifically the song “Jonah.”

The song “Jonah” throws me into ecstatic communication with Vory, the artist who sings the chorus of the song which annihilates me.

The song invokes Christianity explicitly once when Kayne says, “Holy Father, please, let me step in.” This is a supplication which reveals a fundamental absence of God. And this leads to Vory’s testament of despair…

The song invokes Christianity implicitly once when Vory says, “Hope they got headphones up in Heaven.” In fact, this song represents a moment of despair within the Christian spirit. Vory says, “Like who’s here when I need a shoulder to lean on?/I hope you’re when I need the demons to be gone/And it’s not fair that I had to fight ’em all on my own.”

This is a fundamental moment of anguish displayed, and this moment of anguish which is communicated to us by way of the virtual other found in music allows us to go beyond Christianity. Let’s remember what Nietzsche said about hyper-Christianity:

“… Surpassing all Chirstianity by means of a hyper-Christianity and not to be contented with undoing it.”[1]

“We are no longer Christians, we have surpassed Christianity, because we have lived not too far from it, but too close, and certainly because it is from Christanity that we have come; our piety, more harsh and more delicate at once, forbids us today from still being Christians.”[2]

What Vory’s lyrics reveal is not only the death of God, but also the way out to a hyper-Christianity.

I think this is specifically evidenced by the fact Vory says, “And it’s not fair that I had to fight ’em all on my own,” because this not only signifies that God was absent as he had to fight them on his own, but also that appeal to fairness in the face of God strikes me as useless, so there must be something else at work here… And what else could it be other than hyper-Christianity?

Bibliography

Bataille, Georges. On Nietzsche. Translated by Stuart Kendall. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015.

References

[1]: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §1051, quoted in Georges Bataille, On Nietzsche, trans. Stuart Kendall (State University of New York Press, 2015), 134.

[2]: Friedrich Nietzsche, La Volonté de Puissance II, bk. 4, §404, quoted in Georges Bataille, On Nietzsche, trans. Stuart Kendall (State University of New York Press, 2015), 134.

How sweet terror is, not a single line, or a ray of morning sunlight fails to contain the sweetness of anguish. - Georges Bataille