I kind of feel like a cold-hearted jerk for reacting to Mr. West’s VMA outburst on Twitter the way I did – “KANYE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” I believe were my exact words – but so be it. I’ll wear it. I’ve long ago accepted that the elements of West’s persona that entertain me are the very same things that people hate him for, and that my ironic distance and fascination with his character are acquired tastes not shared by most.
And it’s not that I think that his storming on-stage tonight was in any way appropriate. It was a dick move, obviously, from a man who’s building quite a resume of dick moves. This one is going to earn him far more scorn than when he did the same thing to Justice a couple of years back. Who knew that the public has more sympathy for puppy-dog eye’d 19-year-old country singers than French techno duos?
All that said, Swift’s heartbroken reaction – and the massive outpouring of support for this heinous crime committed against her – is every bit as befuddling to me as West’s outburst and begs the same confused question: since when did we start pretending that these awards meant anything?
Taylor Swift didn’t win a Video Music Award for “Best Female Video” because she made a better video than Beyonce. West’s hyperbole was a bit overstated – ranking “Single Ladies” as one of the best videos of all time is premature to say the least – but it’s undoubtedly a better video than “You Belong With Me.” Swift won because MTV wanted to give her an award, so they could have her on-stage and further promote one of the rising stars in the industry. This is how these promotional-based awards shows work, even more-so since the music industry decided to go ahead and collapse in on itself. You’ll note that Beyonce won “Best Video” anyways; it doesn’t make any logical sense, but that’s how this goes.
West should know this, but he doesn’t – as I’ve written about before, West has an almost juvenile obsession with the artifice of the music industry, as if he believes that these awards are a key part of his endless, childish quest to be loved at any cost. Ironically, this same obsession leads him to do things than end up leading people to hate him instead. And Swift doesn’t seem to know this, probably because she’s only 19 and she spends most of her time operating in the last sector of the music industry that’s still, ostensibly, a music industry (that would be “country music”).
So we get this weirdly awkward moment where everyone involves cares far more than they should. Except me, apparently.
Edit: Okay one last thought, and this is totally going to out me as a childhood professional wrestling fan, but so be it: tonight was totally Kanye’s “Wrestlemania 13 Bret Hart heel turn” moment.