Matson on Music
Kanye West disrupting the MTV VMAs: perfectly punk
Posted by Andrew Matson
Photo from AP, video here
First, for the sake of argument: In the video linked above, Kanye West, aka the greatest pop star alive, is correct about Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video. It's incredible.
Now, the controversy.
I can't believe the amount of YouTube videos there are of people taping themselves and raging against Mr. West for interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards last night. Seriously? Like Kanye West hasn't done that type of thing before? Like his most recent musical moment isn't a complete hijack of someone else's spotlight?
Somehow, on message boards and in comments threads all over the internet, people are mad.
Kanye has no class, they say. And how dare he rob Ms. Swift of her moment? Her golden moment. And the sanctity of the VMAs, our finest hour in arts & entertainment, disregarded! For what? Vanity. Childishness. Oh, the sacrilege.
Know this, brainwashed hordes: The (dying, still more ideologically influential than we care to admit) mainstream music industry, of which MTV is a major part, is a system, and the system thrives on Taylor Swifts. Not singular, but plural. If it could, it would pump out Taylor Swifts all day long. Same bland music, same bland sex appeal, same lack of challenging and original thought. Same artlessness.
Because the system is so rigid, an artist hoping to capitalize from it must go one of two ways: Lay down and be a tool, or break rules and be a jerk. It's a pimp or be pimped scenario, and Kanye knows it. His reaction is punk rock with purpose. He's a brat, but it has to be done.
The best part about Kanye is his alternatives -- to the music of the Taylor Swifts of the world, and to the sex appeal of the Taylor Swifts of the world -- don't exist just to exist. They're tasteful. His fixes to pop culture's boring bell curvature are exciting. Seriously, even his gay-disco pop songs are on point and his girlfriend Amber Rose is game-changing-ly hot. Snakeskin-print unitard FTW.
Maybe it's not so serious as I'm making it sound. Maybe Kanye didn't think he was doing a political thing by getting up on stage, and, certainly, it's no "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Maybe he was just a little drunk off Hennessy.
And maybe you don't like his music. Maybe you don't think his girlfriend's sexy. Whatever.
At least he's got a pulse.
Here's an LA Times link with a screenshot of his blogged apology, which I don't believe a word of.
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