Last year, Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs. Things like this have happened in the past, but there was something about this event that really pissed people off. Maybe it was the “aw, shucks” innocence of T.Swizzle, or the fact that Kanye was already on a bit of a downward spiral – either way, he was ostracized and parodied endlessly in skits on TV and the web, in tweets and Facebook statuses, and in day-to-day life by people who think they are more clever than they actually are.
Fast-forward one year to the 2010 VMAs. As Mr. McNutt posted in his live-blog of the event, these award shows mean less and less each year. Not that they ever really meant anything… but they’ve really gone from rewarding the best to rewarding the most popular in search of ratings.
Yet, the MTV show still tries to take itself seriously from time to time. The majority of the acts featured really have nothing relevant to say. For some. that’s not what their music is about. For others, they just generally suck. But this year, Taylor Swift had something to say. And MTV provided the forum. She performed a new song called “Innocent.” The lyric that most papers and blogs are quoting:
“Thirty-two and still growing up now; who you are is not what you did.”
Taylor has taken the high road. She is forgiving Kanye of his transgressions. She is seeing the bigger picture. She will be labeled as understanding and even empathetic. She’s a nice girl. She does as nice girls do.
That’s all lovely, but here’s a question: was this really necessary? Wouldn’t the real high road route mean moving on? And not writing a song and singing it in front of millions of people after replaying the incident? I know folks are going to say that this is what being an artist is about – taking the things in your life and making art. The good and the bad, and all that jazz. But, honestly, doesn’t anyone feel like this is just a bit too much? It just reeks of beating a dead horse, and and it feels like a publicity stunt.
McNutt says it best:
If anyone else was so bluntly playing into that moment in a performance like this, they’d be criticized as crass and exploitive. Swift, of course, won’t, because she’s still clinging to this fascinating innocent persona. Will she ever be allowed to grow up?
I am not trying to knock Taylor Swift too much here. I think she’s a great songwriter, she has a decent voice, and she works hard. Incredible marketing has combined with her natural talent, and she’s a genuine superstar. I just can’t tell if this was a still-slightly-immature artist calling her own shots, or if someone pushed her to do this to take advantage of the situation.
Separating what is truly genuine from the crap seems harder and harder these days.
Kanye also wrote a song about the incident. His was a self-deprecating affair, exclaiming “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags.”
Does this make him not a douchebag now? Is Taylor Swift a doucebag? I don’t even know anymore. Either way, bottoms up.
“Dear Taylor Swift” is trending on Twitter. Some choice tweets:
Dear Taylor Swift writing that song makes what Kanye did not so bad after all
Dear Taylor Swift. He stole your microphone. It’s been a year. Get over it. It’s not like he broke up with you on the phone or something…
Dear Taylor Swift, making a horrible song about Kanye West does not change the fact that Beyonce had one of the greatest videos of all time!
Dear Taylor Swift, Kanye didnt interrupt you this year but you still embarrassed yourself in front of millions of people smh… #TryAgain
Dear Taylor Swift, just because your lucky number is 13 doesn’t mean your music should reflect that… in age. u haven’t been 13 for YEARS!
Dear Taylor swift he stole your moment not your virginity, stop being so depressed