My television habits generally consist of baseball games and the Academy Awards. MTV is never on my personal radar; in fact, I have not watched it since 1994, back when they still played a lot of music videos. So I had no interest in watching the Video Music Awards last night, nor did I care who won anything.
I was happily cocooned in an MTV-free zone last night when my Facebook news feed started lighting up with updates like “OMG Kanye is a jerk!” and “Wow, I can’t believe that stunt.” The stunt in question, for those of you who may not have heard, was Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as she accepted Best Female Video so that he could loudly praise Beyonce, who had lost to Swift in that category. The crowd jeered, Swift was stunned into silence, and Beyonce had a brilliant WTF face.
My entire take on this is just that Kanye is something of a jerk. Really, it doesn’t need to have much subtext. But, of course, there are some around the blogosphere commenting sections (such as in The New York Times) who are crying “Kanye hates white people!” this morning. Swift is white; West and Beyonce are black. Surely it must be some grand get-whitey conspiracy, right? Yeah, I don’t think so. I already had to defriend one Facebook acquaintance for the status update “Kanye West doesn’t like white people.” And yes, I checked to make sure he wasn’t being sarcastic or referring to West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” statement in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Does it automatically follow that when any nonwhite person criticizes — or outright humiliates, in West’s case — a white person, that said nonwhite individual is doing it because they are making a statement about their views on all white people? Uh, no. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.