The artist behind the inescapable 2019 earworm "Old Town Road," Lil Nas X, has successfully landed himself at the center of this week's predictable conservative outrage for the music video and promotional show accompanying his new single "Montero," even causing the corporate giant Nike to file suit.
The music video, which serves as an anthem of queer acceptance, portrays a heavenly Lil Nas X in what appears to be some version of the garden of Eden. As he sings about coming to terms with the fact that he has become infatuated with someone that is not deemed socially acceptable, he is seduced by a snake (also played by Lil Nas X) and ultimately chooses between heaven and hell by descending to the underworld via stripper pole.
The video has accrued over 37 million views since it initially premiered only days ago on March 26th.
"I know we promised to die with this secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say i'm pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people's lives and stop dictating who they should be."
As expected, conservative talking heads, whose entire careers are based on creating identity politics hysteria, have found the video to be outrageous, completely missing the point about what the church and modern-day Christianity have said about the acceptance of queer people. Grifter extraordinaires like Candace Owens expressed their distress over the music video on Twitter
Lil Nas X, who is possibly the greatest celebrity poster to have ever taken to Twitter, responded with a swift clapback:
Many on social media have praised the song and questioned criticism for the video that subverts the notion that the supposed 'eternal damnation' associated with queerness is something that queer people cannot reclaim for themselves.
Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF for misleading customers and tarnishing the Nike brand on Monday. The corporate giant alleged that MSCHF's "unauthorized Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF's products and Nike."
"Decisions about what products to put the 'swoosh' on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF," Nike said in its lawsuit, referring to its "swoosh" logo. "Nike requests that the court immediately and permanently stop MSCHF from fulfilling all orders for its unauthorized Satan Shoes."
Others who have expressed their outrage include South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, who responded to a tweet promoting the shoes by saying, "We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win."
Most interestingly, Noem is dedicating her platform as a government official to Satanic Panic surrounding sneakers and the value of people's "god-given eternal souls" rather than addressing the fact that her lack of a response to the Coronavirus pandemic, one that included the peddling of conspiracy theories and Trump's hydroxychloroquine lies resulted in one of the worst transmission and death rates in the country at the tail-end of 2020.
Others incensed by the music video they did not have to watch included right-wing character Kaitlin Bennett, who at first shared her thankfulness for being blocked by the rapper. When he responded with an oft-cited (yet unproven) allegation of Bennett soiling herself at a college party, this was her response:
Bennett, who has gained a reputation as a provocateur for filming videos of herself harassing pedestrians in public settings received this prompt reply:
Ultimately the arguments that Lil Nas X is making a mockery of religion or the church fail to realize that as a queer man, he is embracing the narrative he has been fed about the implications of his mere existence. It's almost as if everyone that is digitally clutching their pearls about a music video and a sneaker design are more intently focused on generating empty outrage rather than focusing on issues that actually impact people's quality of life.