Given all the conflicting emotions, it was tough to form an opinion on KANYE WEST's VMA bum rush against TAYLOR SWIFT. My natural revulsion against Kanye's ego was counteracted by my love of mayhem and disruption, and my disdain for cutesy teen-pop singers was tempered by the pitiful welling of confusion and heartbreak in Taylor's big, beautiful whatever-colored eyes. I'd call it a wash.
The crowd was conflicted too — there was plenty of applause mixed in with the boos. I'd imagine about a third of it was from Beyoncé supporters, a third was from people just excited to see Kanye and Taylor Swift on stage, and the rest was the sound of MTV execs high-fiving each other because they've got a new "most shocking moment" to pad out the weeks of self-gratification that traditionally hype up the ceremony ? Diana Ross wiggling Lil Kim's boob has been number one for way too long.
Although this isn't West's first spirited outburst, it may be the first that can't be shrugged off with a clucking "Oh, that Kanye." His fatal miscalculation this time, it seems, was interrupting the sure-to-be-adorable speech of Taylor Swift, the industry's most blameless white-bread innocent. Grabbing the mic from some goofus no-name dance crew at the 2006 MTV Euro awards was one thing, but interrupting the proudest moment of a wide-eyed celebrity teen bumpkin is enough to make even the president call you a jackass. Katy Perry said it best, via Twitter: "FUCK U KANYE. IT'S LIKE U STEPPED 0N A KITTEN." Please note that this is not only the first-ever instance of Katy Perry saying something best, it's also the first time something has been said best via Twitter.
Or perhaps I'm giving Katy too much credit — I figured she was speaking metaphorically, but maybe I tuned in late and missed the part where a cognac-swigging Kanye trod over some mewling kittens on the red carpet. Oh, that Kanye!
As I write this, Ye is already up to four apologies: two on his blog, one on Jay Leno, and one via telephone directly to Swift. (Extrapolating from the current rate of two apologies per day since the incident, I expect he'll be somewhere around number 16 by the time you read this, so surely he'll be reaching stratospheric levels of public forgiveness, and I'll just look like an asshole for still making fun of him.)
In his Leno apology, the most tearful and lugubrious of them all, he made an odd play for sympathy: he insinuated that the death of his mother two years ago has left him in a vulnerable emotional state. Although his emotion seemed genuine, it's a tough sell — he was rushing stages and whining about award-show injustice long before his mother's death, so I wish he'd offered up something more believable, like "I was drunk," or "I'm the world's biggest shithead."
My favorite part of the whole thing was the terrific media circus — as usual, the much ado was much more compelling than the nothing. The MTV folks went into a spiral of vigorous onanism, endlessly milking their throbbing media moment by calling everyone in their phonebook for a reaction. ("Golly, MTV, I wonder what Lisa Loeb thinks of this — call her up!")
Meanwhile, everyone else in the universe went for the flimsy Joe Wilson tie-in: hey, two people made rude outbursts this week . . . now it's a thing! Three, if you haven't quite hit your word count and you're willing to say "fuck it" and try to cram the Serena Williams meltdown in there. Hey, quick, somebody call the Swayze estate and see whether he made any rude outbursts on his deathbed — we've almost got enough coal on this fire to call it trend and make a pithy little comment about society!
DAVID THORPE |firstname.lastname@example.org