Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Celebs Behaving Badly
So, you've probably already heard about the Kanye West debacle at the VMA Awards Sunday night. What happened was, Taylor Swift won for her "You Belong With Me" in the Best Female Video category, beating out Beyoncé. Somebody has to win, meaning somebody else has to lose. That's how that equation works. All of us grownups deal with it every day.
And so, when the excited Ms. Swift took the stage to give her acceptance speech for her first-time win, an allegedly drunken (and notice I said allegedly, although the pictures of him chugging from a bottle don't lie) Kanye West came running onto the stage, uninvited, grabbed the mic from Ms. Swift, and yelled, "Taylor, I'm really happy for you. Ima let you finish. But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. Of all time!" Taylor Swift was left standing there stunned, silent, and no doubt mortified.
You have to be really careful these days to say alleged this, that, or the other because many of these entitled celebrity brats are a litigious bunch. What West said wasn't alleged. It's a fact, caught on film. He behaved like a brat who didn't get his way, a bully who picks on those perceived as weaker, and a classless, uncouth boor. So uncool. What I want to know is, whence comes this inflated sense of entitlement? It's certainly not his alleged talent. I've heard him sing. I was not impressed. That's my opinion; not actionable. He has achieved a modicum of fame and he has a lot of money. Which is not to say he deserves either (also my opinion, still not tortious). Still and all, his alleged celebrity does not entitle him to special dispensation to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases. It wouldn't hurt him to learn how to handle his liquor, but what he (and the rest of the celebribrats) really needs is to sit down and read, cover to cover, a good, old-fashioned etiquette manual. There's such a thing in this world as civility, Mr. West. It's ingrained in people who were raised right and haven't allowed too much celebrity, acquired too quickly, too easily, to go to their heads. Civility is a key ingredient in the glue that holds a society together.
After Mr. West showed his butt, not allegedly but preserved on film, some truly cerebral type quipped, "That's rock 'n roll." No, sir, I beg to differ. That ain't rock 'n roll. I'm not aware of any rocker ever having pulled a callous stunt like that before. West says he's sorry now, after the fact, but tardy excuses just don't get it. Serena Williams apologized after the fact, too, but her tantrum and screaming expletives at the tennis official was memorialized on film as well. Too little, too late when one is sorry only when one faces public censure. There's nothing attractive about celebrities without manners, and apologizing after the fact is meaningless.
Beyoncé's horrified reaction to West's obnoxious behavior and then graciously calling Taylor Swift onstage and sharing the spotlight with her during her own win was classy. It's too bad Mr. West wasn't taking notes.