We’ll be honest: Sometimes you write a Newswire just because the words you’ll get to put in the headline give you the good, disorienting kind of headache, the ones that make you suspect that either everything means something, or possibly nothing. Take as a given, then, that there was something irresistible about the fact that Lil Nas X hopped on social media earlier today because he was unhappy about the public reception granted to Tony Hawk’s cool(?) new blood skateboards. Where, the “Montero” rapper asked, was all the outrage that greeted his recent Satan Shoes, which also included a drop of blood in their transformation from regular, non-Satanic Nikes? Was there some kind of blood-in-consumer-goods double standard at work here?
First of all: Let us acknowledge that everyone in this story is operating in the obvious shadow of KISS and Marvel Comics Super Special #1, a.k.a. “The comic book printed with ink mixed with blood from the band members of KISS.” (We are genuinely shocked that Gene Simmons has yet to try to get a cut of either project’s profits.) That being said, Lil Nas X suggest that there’s some ulterior cause to the different reactions Hawk got for his blood skateboards (muted amusement) and that he got for his blood shoes (frothing anger from a variety of right-wing figures).
Which, he’s probably not wrong: An openly gay Black man is, for a whole host of reasons that include “just existing,” more likely to piss off the Fox News crowd than Tony Hawk. But also: There is at least a slight difference in the degree of provocation at work here, between using human blood for an admittedly metal skateboard painting, and using it to decorate Nikes with pentagrams embroidered into them to help promote the music video where you ride a stripper pole to hell so that you can grind on the devil and then snap his neck to become the king of hell. The differences are subtle, but extant.
Also, we have to point out: The Satan Shoes included the blood of semi-anonymous members of the artistic collective MSCHF (and not Lil Nas X), while anybody buying the skateboards got actual Tony Hawk blood, of the kind you could probably use for some sort of dark, Tony Hawk-based ritual. (Maybe to get the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 parks added to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2? Just sayin’, if you’ve got a ritual handy.) So, just from a “famous blood ownership” point of view, we can see why there’d be a preference.
Meanwhile, in news that is also cool, but maybe not quite such a triumphant celebration of all that the English language can do, Lil Nas X also announced a release date and a trailer for the Montero album; it arrives on September 17.