By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
The Sopranos blackout, Paul McCartney's bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road, the vast number of sharpshooters hidden in the shadows of Dealey Plaza, and the inexplicable public fascination with Paris Hilton. America wrestles with these enigmas, seeking answers and finding none.
Bigger than all of them is the riddle of Kenny Rogers. Ever since a man with a white beard and tiny eyes came out on the American Idol stage claiming to be Rogers, we've been wondering is Rogers Rogers? Oh yeah, we've heard the tabloids insist that Kenny was the victim of an overzealous face fixer, but isn't that just exactly the sort of spin we'd expect to hear? I think we all know there's something deeper at work here.
We begin with Kenny's first band, The New Christy Minstrels. Is there something to the rumor that the band was financed and promoted from behind the curtain by Opus Dei? For whom has Kenny been holdin' 'em and foldin' 'em? Something is terribly awry here. Is Kenny the archetypal Island in the Stream, and does that make Dollywood the hidden kingdom, the Rennes-le-Château Marmont? More important, are we seeing the First Edition Kenny or has there been a switcheroo?
Perhaps the real Kenny is sipping from a bottle of Tokay in a paper bag, singing "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille" to himself as he sees the crowds passing him on the way to a faux-Kenny concert. If we could just drop in to see what condition his condition is in.
When the flock arrives to see Kenny perform this Saturday at Casino Arizona at Salt River, they may wonder, is this a clone? Some kind of Disney-financed automaton fashioned from wires and white hairs and a vest and glass eyes?
Or does it go even deeper into the Gnostic dualities? Some suggest that Philip K. Dick was a raving paranoiac, but he may have been tapping into a scenario in which the greater Kenny hopes to reappear, to wrest mankind from the clutches of the false Kenny. Who is the beard in this battle of the beards? Who, we wonder, is the real New Christy Minstrel and who is the Coward Of The (Cosmic) County?
Finally, we need to question the nature of reality. It's possible that we are all in the Matrix, being fed an idea of the great Kenny, who pacifies us while our very vitality is being tapped to feed the great machine.
Perhaps it's best we take our love to town and accept that we are seeing the one, true Kenny and not some Casino impersonator. If it is the real Kenny, be assured, the force will be strong within him.