Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Kanye West Incident. Or: How the Internet Collectively Resembles a Developmentally Disabled Tween

... and a million simultaneous "oh no, he didn't"s were heard throughout the nation.

Last evening, the Internet suddenly exploded. Apparently, Kanye West had behaved in a manner very much like Kanye West – jumping up on stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. He thought Beyonce should have won, and bizarrely said that he didn’t mean to disrespect Ms. Swift, but that Beyonce’s video was one of the greatest of all time, and should have won instead. Nope, no offense meant at all. Take a look for yourself, and try not to think of all the useful things you could be doing instead.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine my first reaction:

People still watch the VMAs? I had no idea.

Then second: In a time when we’re debating as a country how best to spend billions fixing the healthcare system, my Facebook news feed was pretty much solidly “OMG … Kanye is such a jerk,” “Taylor Swift is so sweet, I can’t believe Kanye West did that,” and “How low have we sunk in this country?” The last one, I entirely agreed with, but for different reasons than that person intended.

Also, Kanye has a documented history of doing the EXACT. SAME. FUCKING. THING. Either the organizers are idiots or they have a level of trust in Kanye West that should disqualify them from owning anything more dangerous than a plastic spork. I smell a contrived publicity “scandal.” And man, people are eating it right up. Not me, though. I just sit at my desk writing articles criticizing everyone involved. I am so above it all.


But just for a minute, let’s pretend to take this VMoutrAge (clever, no?) at face value. I would now like to give you a list of some of the past illustrious winners of the VMA Moon Man:

- Michael Penn, Best New Artist, 1990. Who? I had to look this one up. It's Sean and Chris Penn's brother. I have never heard his music, nor do I plan to. It must have been a slow year for new artists. I mean, who ever heard of the Black Crowes?

- Pretty Much Every Other Year of Best Rap Video. Arrested Development had a 2-year lock on the award. MC Hammer won, as did Coolio and Will Smith. Really, it's most likely the exact list of embarassing CDs (and possibly tapes) that you won't admit you once owned. I can see why they eventually killed the category.

- Aerosmith, "Pink." Best Rock Video, 1998. As a kid, I spent hours and hours listening to Aerosmith's "Big Ones" album. They heard about this, and spent the next decade and a half trying to spite me with awful music. This is possibly the worst piece of shit they recorded. And as MTV is wont to do with hilariously bad music, they gave it an award.

- Limp Bizkit, Best Rock Video, 2000-2001. Witness the horrifying power of marketing. I'd be mad at them for taking the award away from deserving artists, but the categories in these years were uniformly terrible. Two years, and I can really only point to Rage Against the Machine as a competent artist (nominated, 2000) in this category.

- Art of Noise, feat. Tom Jones, "Kiss." Breakthrough Video, 1988. Again, I repeat, "who?" I mean, I know Tom Jones, but I bet even he couldn't tell you who the hell Art of Noise was.

So maybe Kanye shouldn’t be so upset. And maybe Taylor Swift should figure out that you don’t refer to the statue as a “VMA Award,” because that would mean Video Music Award Award, and that’s just stupid.

- J.B. Mays

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