(21st-Century schizoid man)
The Schizoid Man is one whose moral values are contradictory. The song was written in the context of an unwinnable Vietnam war and senseless competition to consume. It is a criticism of American culture in the era of its composition and remains relevant today.
The song opens up to the lyrics
Cat’s foot iron claw"
It’s very reminiscent of Neil Young’s
Kinder, gentler, machine gun hand".
Here the lyrics are a reference to the dichotomy of modern man’s value system. Kanye wants to tread quietly (peacefully) but he’s also the hunter (cat) who will strike without mercy (iron claw) against his opposition. The false belief that one can be more peaceful and more violent at the same time is sheer insanity.
The line after:
neuro-surgeons screaming for more"
Is a reference to men who seem to have it all. Kanye has brilliance, wealth, prestige, a beautiful girl, and yet somehow that is not enough for him. Fear of losing his possessions drives him to paranoia and misery. It is sheer insanity to strive for everything and yet be happy with nothing.
Blood rack, barbed wire"
Represents the amorality of war or conflict that he may face. The “politician’s funeral pyre” is an unwinnable war. To stave off his own political suicide, the politician allows his military forces to burn innocents with “napalm fire”. The idea of slaughtering thousands to save one is moral insanity.
Death is sown throughout the world so that the neuro-surgeon can have even more than the everything he has now. Acquiring resources from one person means having to take resources from the “poet’s starving children”. Wanting what you do not need is moral inanity.
Conclusion: Kanye IS quite clearly the 21st Century Schizoid Man, as predicted by King Crimson themselves.
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