Murphy’s Law – Let’s be honest, Kanye West’s outburst was a good thing
There is no defense for Kanye West’s actions this past Sunday night.
The man stormed the stage of the VMAs, interrupting what should have been the happiest moment in a young girl’s life to tell the world how much she didn’t deserve the award she had just received. On the “Embarrassing moments in a teenage girl’s life” scale, it didn’t quite reach a “Carrie covered in blood at her prom” level of awfulness, but it was pretty damn close.
Kanye West is a self-centered egomaniac who believes he has the right to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He pouts if he doesn’t win meaningless awards. He unleashes ridiculous all-caps tirades on the Internet whenever he feels he has been wronged. Most days, he comes across as an ungrateful, spoiled, immature brat who can’t handle it when things don’t go his way. In short, he’s an asshole.
All that being said … I love Kanye West.
I love his music. His songs are catchy and original. From “Jesus Walks” to “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” to “Stronger,” the guy just keeps putting out great songs that end up in heavy rotation on my iPod. He’s a throwback to a time when hip hop was fun, before it became all about anger and aggression. I consider him to be the second best in the industry today (behind only Jay-Z).
I also enjoy his antics. His all-caps blog posts are endlessly entertaining; my favorite being the one where he badmouthed the crew at Bonnaroo by calling them “SQUID BRAINS!” I also found it hysterical when he hijacked a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser to blurt out: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!” (The best part being the horrified expression on Mike Myers’ face.) The guy is a complete train wreck, but one I just love watching.
And I think on some level, all of you do, too.
Sure, he got booed at the VMAs and many of you have spent the last two days talking about what a dick the guy is (including a great column by HoboTrashcan’s own Aaron R. Davis yesterday). But I think deep down, you all love to hate him. He’s a villain, but a highly enjoyable one – like Hans Grueber or Col. Hans Landa or The Iron Sheik.
There is no question that his outburst was the most entertaining part of the VMAs. MTV hasn’t been relevant to music in years. People don’t care who wins or loses their stupid little Moonman trophies. In fact, I’m guessing I’m not the only one out there who had no idea that the VMAs were this past weekend until I heard about Kanye West’s mic hijacking. He took a boring, meaningless awards show and gave people a reason to care about it. MTV may have kicked him out of the show and publicly condemned his actions, but behind closed doors, they loved every minute of it.
Then there’s Taylor Swift. As I mentioned above, she is a 19-year-old girl who deserved to have her uninterrupted moment in the spotlight. It was completely unfair to deprive her of that. That being said, it’s not like she is a total loser in all of this. For one thing, she gets to become America’s sweetheart. I had certainly never heard of her before this weekend (and if she hadn’t had a run-in with Mr. West, I still wouldn’t know who she is). Now, she gets to do a press tour talking about the incident, which increases her visibility and boosts her album sales. Plus, she has one hell of a story to tell her grandkids one day. It doesn’t make what Kanye did right, but there is no doubt in my mind that her career is better off because of it.
Even Beyoncé comes out of this whole thing looking great. When she won an award later in the evening and invited Taylor Swift up to finish her speech, it showed just how much grace and dignity Beyoncé has. It was a truly classy and heartfelt move and I applaud her for it. There have been plenty of rumors in the past that Beyoncé is a diva, so this situation only helps her public persona.
Plus, ever since Sunday night, the Internet has provided an endless supply of amusing Kanye-related content. For example, there is the I’mma Let You Finish blog, which offers a bunch of really funny Photoshopped images. And then there is this mashup, which has Kanye West interrupting President Obama’s speech from last week. (Not to mention the hilarious clip where Obama actually calls Kanye a “jackass.”) And, of course, Hitler even weighed in on the subject.
So the VMAs, Taylor Swift, Hitler and Beyoncé all get elevated because of the outburst. Also, the Internet has a new hilarious joke to run into the ground. And while the world hates Kanye right now, in the long run this won’t even hurt his career. He already did a big public apology on Jay Leno’s new show, which is step one to being forgiven (a.k.a. win over the dumb people who like bright colors and obvious jokes). Now, all he needs to do is wait for the next big celebrity gossip story to break and this whole thing will blow over.
So why exactly are people calling for his head? What was the downside of this whole episode? I know a lot of you think he should be ostracized from the entertainment community, but honestly I think he should be invited to every single awards show (and anywhere else they have a live camera). Whether we are talking music or unintentional comedy, the man just keeps giving and giving. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
So please, just let the man be great, squid brains!
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kanye, “How could you be so heartless?”
Taylor Swift sold over 4 million records in 2008, more than any other artist. I don’t think she really needed Kanye to pull this stunt to become famous or boost her album sales.
I completely agree with you on the irrelevancy of MTV and the VMAs. And that said, if Kanye West has to be the villain, it IS nice having a villain who doesn’t really have any effect on anything at all. It’s more fun than Dick Cheney, that’s for sure.
Bill, she may have sold a lot of records. Obviously, she’s doing really well. But I didn’t know who she was before this past weekend. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
There is a difference between selling a lot a albums and having mainstream name recognition. She may have been on her way to superstardom anyway, but this simply accelerates the process.
So she’s toiling in obscurity because you haven’t heard of her? Give me album sales and sell out tours over gossip column name recognition for being a joke like West is any day.
If this had been West’s first time for this kind of stunt, I could agree with you that is was kind of funny, but he does this every year at whatever awards that he’s at. The act is getting old.
But still, I like the comment 50cent had on that situation. He said “I wish he (Kanye) would have done that to me, I would have blackened his eye”. 50 cent also refers to Kanye, watching who he does that kind of thing to (a 19/yo girl. Had it been my award, he never would had the chance to grab the mic, without getting off the floor first.
Speaking as someone who’s not a fan of Kanye’s music (I probably wouldn’t be able to identify one of his songs if it came on the radio, for example… unless he was all “I’m Kanye and I wrote this song, which is the best song ever, because the whole universe revolves around my big fat head, and by the way my penis is also huge” which sounds exactly like something he would do, but I digress…) Right, so speaking as someone who has never experienced the potentially redeeming qualities of his music (see? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one), to me he’s just some asshole who likes to interrupt and state his opinion no matter what platform he has to usurp to be able to do so.
Do I think he should be ostracised from the music community? Well, I don’t actually care one way or the other. I’m sure I’ve seen movies and have bought albums from people who are assholes. Kanye is just more up front about his assholery. I was never going to buy one of his albums anyway, or Taylor’s or Beyonce’s either, for that matter.
And I disagree with one of your points: the most entertaining thing about this year’s VMAs was Pinks trapeez performance of “Sober.” Absolutely stellar.
i heard Kanye interrupted Patrick Swayze’s funeral to say that Michael Jackson’s was better….
the VMAs specifically, but MTV in general, is a joke…. cue the “i remember when” speech i’d normally launch into (having watched MTV since day 1… until probably 15 years ago…) there’s always some hijinx at the show…. the RHCP playing wearing nothing but socks…. didn’t some band clown climb into the catwalk or something back in the 90’s… Read More…. who knows… it’s all garbage anyway…. (did you see who was nominated for best rock video? and green day won? sorry… green day is not rock… hate to tell ya MTV..) but the stunt worked, i only watched the VMAs the next day because of all the kanye crap…. just to see what the fuss was about, then i DVRd it so i can watch the entire show later and figure out WTF a “lady gaga” is and drool over Pink a bit…. and get all teary at the MJ tribute….
Bill – I’d love to see her album sales since Sunday. I guarantee this whole debacle has boosted her numbers. If that is your focus, I guarantee this has been great for her bottom line.
And no, I’m not saying that if I haven’t heard of her, she isn’t a success. My point is that while people who follow country music may know who she is, until Sunday, a large chunk of mainstream America didn’t. There is a big difference between selling a lot of records and being a household name. Kanye West helped her move into the household name category.
JohnOB – If you do figure out exactly what a Lady Gaga is, please let me know.