The Case For Kanye West's Return to Grace
Kanye West has already survived his fare share of public meltdowns, but last night's Taylor Swift acceptance speech hijacking might be the one stunt from which the rap star won't recover. His VMA interruption enraged fans and celebrities, who immediately aligned themselves with the fragile, flaxen-haired victim (really, the only side to take if you ever want to work again in Hollywood or share Swift's wide fan base). But Kanye has done too much for music, South Park plot lines and late night monologue jokes to disappear after one VMA stunt gone wrong. So just how can the freshly-branded Swift Kicker, Taylor Stomper, and the breaker of delicate MTV dreams reclaim grace -- and more importantly, how long will it take?
Kanye's road ahead will be paved with angry teenyboppers and opportunist celebrities. Just ask the stars who took to their Twitter accounts to cyber-crucify West while offering character-limited condolences to Swift.
Russell Brand: "You can't make a pretty girl cry."
Pink: "Kanye west is the biggest piece of shit on earth. Quote me. My heart goes out to taylor swift. She is a sweet and talented girl and deserved her moment. She should know we all love her."
Donald Trump: "He couldn't care less about Beyonce. It was grandstanding to get attention."
Kelly Clarkson: "I mean, I've seen you do some pretty shitty things, but you just keep amazing me with your tactless, asshole ways. It's absolutely fascinating how much I don't like you. I like everyone. I even like my asshole ex that cheated on me over you which is pretty odd since I don't even personally know you."
Katy Perry: "F**K U KANYE. IT'S LIKE U STEPPED 0N A KITTEN."
John Mayer: "Big love to my girl @taylorswift13. A class act."
Kelli Pickler: "Tator Tot, you handled yourself with Grace. Kanye, go grow some f-ing b*lls bitch! don't mess w/my lil sis!!"
But these were all lightweight jabs compared to the most damning statement Joe Jackson released concerning the Kanye-cident. Familiar with the fine art of grandstanding and victimizing performers, Jackson recognized the chance to curry favor with the tween set, a coup for his upcoming Ranch Records label: "I don't know what he was doing, he jumped up on stage and snatched that microphone out of that poor girl's hand. They should blackball him out of show business for that. He just leapt up there, that was bad."
Kanye West's fatal error last night was not in his taking the stage unannounced but choosing Taylor Swift as the object of his humiliation. If he had crashed anyone else's speech (except Dakota Fanning's), he stood a chance at exiting to applause rather than auditorium-wide hisses and a security escort. The audience might have enjoyed Kanye upstaging the showy, muppet-cloaked Lady Gaga or the eyeliner geriatrics of the MTV set, Green Day; even Madonna might have even welcomed the interruption if she could transform it into a tongue-kiss statement on race relations. But he chose VMA virgin Taylor Swift, the fragile, blue-eyed hero of teenyboppers everywhere -- currently, MTV's core audience.
After being escorted out of the show, Kanye posted two apologies to his blog, one that he removed hours later and another in which he compares himself to your favorite Meet the Parents hero. Perhaps he knows that after crawling through the 7 Stages of Public Hatred, there is one rarely attained bonus level: "Hard-Earned Sympathy." And there will be no better place to capitalize on that sentiment than tonight, on the season premiere of The Jay Leno Show, where he is slated to perform with Jay Z and Rihanna.
Several possible scenarios: 1) Jay takes advantage of Kanye's outburst and sits him down for a deskless interview. It would be a mutually advantageous move for host and guest proving that Jay is capable of more than friendly banter and proving that Kanye is capable of complex emotions such as regret. 2) Kanye joins Jay and Jerry Seinfeld on the Ford-sponsored track in a eco-friendly Focus, covered in "I'm Sorry Taylor" skins. 3) A sunglassed Kanye finds a moment to throw a quick Taylor shout-out before, during or after his performance.
If Kanye plays his cards right tonight, he could end up in the hot seat with Oprah Winfrey and Larry King next week. And if he doesn't, then he should probably take some time off to reflect. In the meantime, celebrities, we get it: You are on Taylor's side. And MTV? Next time, barricade the stage.