Just when you start to think it’s a slow news day, you come across a headline on CNN that simply states, “Rapper Andre Johnson severs penis, jumps off building, but survives.” This world we live in? It’s a fascinating place.
If you’re not familiar, Johnson is a performer best known for working with the Wu-Tang Clan and his own rap group, Northstar, and he sometimes goes by Andre Roxx or his slightly less tactful stage name, Christ Bearer. According to police, Johnson jumped off a building in North Hollywood, California this morning in an apparent suicide attempt, just moments after cutting off his own penis. CNN reports that he “was seriously injured, but survived the fall from the second level of the building” and that he was taken to a hospital “along with his recovered penis.” The much more reliable TMZ paraphrases an alleged witness of the event who said something along the lines of, “By the time [the witnesses] raced downstairs, Christ Bearer was already up and running around, screaming incoherently.”
Wow. It’s kind of hard not to joke about this story, since a) it’s really scary and overwhelming to think about something like this if you don’t make light of it at all, b) the headlines all sound too absurd to be about a real person’s real pain, and c) it involves a penis. But, uh, I’m worried that the whole internet is going to do exactly what I’m (hypocritically) doing right now: get too caught up in the bizarre details and forget that this is likely a story about someone’s suicide attempt, and that Johnson may have been influenced by mental illness or addiction.
This story is unsettling and uncomfortable, so it will certainly produce a lot of nervous jokes… but here’s hoping that Johnson makes a full recovery, gets whatever help he needs, and is completely unaware of whatever the Twitterverse is conjuring up right now.