By Rachel Krueger
The VMAs went from a fairly unexceptional awards show to one mildly more . . . gossip-worthy, if not entertaining, thanks to the potentially staged shenanigans of one Kanye West. With all the subtlety of Bruno’s Sacha Baran Cohen landing balls-first in Eminem’s face at the MTV Movie Awards, Kanye stormed the stage and snatched the microphone from Best Female Video winner Taylor Swift in order to broadcast his Very Important Opinion on the matter.
As though to soften the blow, West insisted that he was happy for Swift and intended to let her finish her speech, but not before he asserted Beyoncé’s superiority, video-wise. Since the validity of the VMAs has always been a bit dicey, and since Beyoncé ended up winning Best Video anyways, Kanye’s point is rendered somewhat moot. His freedom to run amok, however, isn’t.
In keeping with the recent trend of choosing sides and sticking to them, the twittersphere was soon awash with #TeamTaylor calling for West’s blood, while #TeamKanye responded with such burns as “Ooh, ur just jelous” (which makes no sense but, to its credit, is thereby irrefutable), while the cynics screeched “STAGED!” from the peanut gallery.
Ordinarily, an awards show that brought us nothing more spectacular than several MJ tributes and Lady Gaga dressed like the world’s most frightening Christmas cracker would swiftly fade into relative obscurity. Some days later, however, the internet is still asking with bated polls whether you forgive Kanye, and even the good President was goaded into passing judgment (verdict: jackass):
If the VMA PubStunt Crew didn’t deliberately script the ruckus, they at least permitted West to rush the stage. I feel like . . . should there not have been guards? But West’s path to embarrassment was free of impediments, and this after spending much of the evening strolling around with his snakeskin-handbag of a girlfriend and chugging liberally from a bottle of what was clearly not juice. The whole thing has an air of bear-baiting, or of getting a younger cousin drunk to see what he’ll do. The VMAs, while remaining ostensibly innocent of fame-whoring, are still getting headlines days after the fact.
And I begin to wonder whether awards shows will still be worth watching after they devolve into contests of outrageousness. And about an industry that can create a creature like Kanye, with all the rights of an adult but the egocentricity of a toddler. And whether the world really is going to hell in a moonman.
In the end, though, can I really fault something that introduced the “I’mma let you finish” meme?