Monday, September 14, 2009

A rant pop cultural

I am too old for MTV. There I said it. I did not watch their annual Video Music Awards. Truth be told the only music awards I still enjoy are the British Music Awards. I have a thing for accents, yes, and I prefer my pop, Brit. I have since my university years, so there.

But where was I? Yes, the VMA's. Turns odd that country starlet Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video(shouldn't that award go to the filmmaker..??), moments into her acceptance speech Kanye West (remember him?) burst on stage, grabbed the microphone from the young pop star and then said something to the effect that he congratulates Swift for the award, but that Beyonce's video should have won, because it was one of the best videos of all time. He then passed the mic back to the clearly dumbfounded Swift and disappeared back stage. Confused at first, the VMA crowd soon began to boo, then gave Swift a standing ovation. Kanye was not seen for the rest of the night, go figure.

I experienced all this go down not on TV, but pretty much in real time on Twitter. First there were posts saying 'wtf did Kanye just do?' or 'poor Taylor Swift', then quickly the posts turned to 'Kanye is an asshole', 'Kanye is a diva', Pink who was live Twitting from the awards called Kanye 'the biggest piece of shit on earth'. I reTweeted that one myself, I dunno, I think I get chuckles out of the idea of two celebrity egomaniacs in a cat fight. My money is on Pink, she looks like she can take care of herself. WHAM...POW!

It took me a few minutes, yes, I followed the herd, I myself called Kanye a diva. After thinking it over, however, it became obvious to me that this whole thing was staged. This was a publicity stunt. I am not sure what Kanye has on the go, I am not sure if he is promoting a new album right now, or has a new one dropping soon, but it was obvious that he needs folks talking about him. Good or bad, any publicity is good publicity.

Hearken back to the MTV Movie Awards. Oy, MTV again, you wonder why I have outgrown it? Remember when Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) descended from the heavens in an angel costume and landed on Eminem's face, teabagging the hotheaded rapper? Eminem stormed off, in disgust, Twitter lit up with how Eminem was a big baby, a diva, unable to take a joke, etc, etc. But wait, it gets better, it turns out that the whole thing was staged... common sense stated that it had to be. The producers of an award show know exactly where everyone is sitting, oh and um movie stars don't just dangle on strings, then land where gravity dictates, this was a carefully crafted stunt. Eminem it turns out was promoting a new record, Sacha Baron Cohen, a movie, ahem, of course, go figure. The whole thing was one of the greatest publicity stunts of all time. Tipped hats all around.

Kanye will apologize in his blog (which has already happened), he will be interviewed by the entertainment press, and even the mainstream press, he will be in all the magazines, hell he might even be vilified for a bit, but in the end, he wins. He his achieved his goal, or his publicist goal, which was to get folks talking. As to whether or not it helps sell records. That I don not know. I never thought he was all that great, but hey, I am old, I am not into the same stuff as the cool kids.

Here is my point, be mad at Kanye, call him a prick, a diva or even an ass, if it makes you fell better, but remember, all he is doing is playing the game. Hate the game not the player.


  1. Right on hit the nail smack on the head...Its all a game...What I find more offensive than Kanye's shameless but lets face it harmless bit of self promotion is the racism thats been generated by the incident...It shows we still have a long long way to go before the game is worthy of any respect...
    Its the 21st century folks what's with the N WORD ?
    like Joe said
    Brian Travers UB40

  2. Thanks Brian. I haven't really noticed a racial overtone in any of the backlash. I have heard the whole oh poor little Taylor Swift, how could Kayne steal the spotlight from her, she is only a teenager...wah, wah, wah.

    Neither of these two are going to get harmed by this little incident. Taylor Swift, if she is as talented as I am told, will win a whole lot of awards in her career. And Kayne, well Kayne has his bad boy, diva image back. It's a win, win.

  3. Funny that as I was made aware of the incident via the racist backlash...Like your self I'm not really watching, attending or for that matter getting invited to the award shows and Im a 30 year veteran of the 'game' BUT ss much as I hate to point out the words of racists I suppose its worth reminding ourselves the backwards ass mother f***** still hide in the shadows throwing stones and giving us all a bad name...


    PS LOVE the blog though...going to have to take a few hours off and just read...


  4. Again thanks Brian, the fact that my words on pop culture strike a crowd with a man whom has been in the game as long as you have, is a great ego boost.

    Gonna read the link you posted. I might not have read the racist backlash, because well I have only really followed the story on Twitter. I'd like to think that I follow the type of folks that are above racist ridicule.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog. Not all the words are mine, but the blog itself is a source of great pride.

  5. Shortly after I posted how bad I felt for Taylor Swift on Twitter, a few people who claimed to be "in the know" posted that it was a publicity stunt.

    *forehead smack* D'oh! How did I fall for that! I didn't even THINK about MTV and their extended history of staging publicity stunts to drum up attention!

    Although, I will say that I can't wait for the day that NEGATIVE attention getting goes out of style.

  6. It does all seem rather sophomoric, doesn't it? But I guess if you were to study MTV's demographics, their core audience, the folks that pay the bills are the teenage they are simply preaching to the choir.

  7. Fuck off to Kanye unless it helps out Taylor in some twisted way...which is of course possible...because now she's the poor girl who had her moment ruined. But as a guy who released a few studio albums, had 3 record contracts, and did a few US tours with record label support, I'd have to disagree on one detail. You can say hate the game not the player, but it's typically, atleast at these celebs' level, the PLAYERS who dictate the style of GAME. This may have been a last second back stage agreement to pull off a stunt between, well, we'll never know who was really there (KANYE, BEYONCE, even TAYLOR?)or why they thought it would do them well exactly...but this wasn't some Record Company HeadQuarters' board room adgenda; this time it stinks like the players themselves.

  8. Perhaps, it certainly wasn't as flashy as the Eminem vs. Bruno stunt. The whole thing was amateurish. That said, Kanye has a history of making a stink a award shows, it is his m.o.

    This thing won't hurt Taylor Swift at all. Hell right now she is the 'victim', she can basically shit rainbows.

    Music industry eh? What cha play, what genre? Details man, details.

  9. I am and always have been and always will be a drummer. I came out of the womb with drumsticks in my little hands. I play mainly rock/ hard rock type stuff but have been trained in jazz and symphonic percussion. The band I was in that toured the MOST was called "The John Brown Battery" (was a killer political reference referring to the ill-fated raid at Harpers Ferry to free the slaves and then a group of freedom-fighters from the 30's). And if you google the band should come up with all kinds of stuff...mp3's, a music video, reviews, a couple old clips from shows, and tons of online greedy merchants trying to make a buck off a now 6 yr. defunct band's leftover records. We did rock the shit hard though...had a good following and it was a blast. Still playing and writing music at different practice studios around the city...hoping to get the hell back in front of a good sized crowd sooner than later. Enough details for ya, sir?

  10. Very cool. I am a huge music fan. I will do some Googling, I will check things out. Unfortunately, I have no musical at all. I have a good ear, I know what I like, I am as big a music snob as they come, but I haven't the hands to play. Sigh.

  11. 'She can basically shit rainbows' Joe you have more musical talent than you give yourself credit for..That won't be the first time I've considered 'borrowing' one of your lines for an as yet unwritten song...And the music bit is well....all down to one can PLAY until they start trying..some have to try harder for longer than others but we can all get there in the end,electronic tuners have done wonders for the 'tone deaf' and maybe not everyone can make legendary musical genius status BUT is'nt that the problem ? Seems like everyone wants to be Elvis Presley famous nowadays.
    Anyway...back to the topic..What Kanye did or the Sasha Baron Cohen /Eminem stunt wouldn't work if the game didn't accept it as a legitimate play...To blame the players for playing the game to the max is missing the point...The game is fixed, how else could Simon Cowell et al get away with their X rated talent show crimes against music every week. Has the guy ever made a decent record..? Im serious, can anyone name a decent tune that has originated from that murderer of the muse.
    BUT what Cowell does do incredibly well, better than most others is dominate the games biggest asset TELEVISION, and they have harnessed its power to preach to the converted, preach to a captive audience AND MAKE THEM PAY EXTRA FOR THE PRIVILEDGE via their premium rate phone lines.
    Remember when Rock stars rejected the man, rejected TV and its be-suited number crunching exec's, Remember when the audience rejected Rock stars who didn't reject the man.....Then Rejected the blatent all out sell your soul commercialism.Remember when music was made for the audience, the bands and the listeners were joined at the hip by their belief in each other and the possibilities of change, remember when the game was was a long time ago. Now, in this our very own 21 ST century if you don't play the game you don't get to go to the party...It ain't the players that changed, its the game that changed the players...If you don't play by the rules you don't get to play the notes...Well not on TV anyway.

    Suits me...never much liked that TV bullshit lipsyncing playback scene, hanging around all day in a dressing room to then pretend you are playing for 3 minutes 20 seconds in front of the cameras...and on that note I must go play for for my supper (album over dubs/fixing bad notes)
    Brother's & Sister's pump up the volume...VIVA LA REVOLUTION

  12. Yes man, yes, \m/. Two cheers to Brian for a great rock'n'roll rant. I agree, with you wholeheartedly. This from a man who takes pride in being anti-conformist. A guy who stopped listening to anything but jazz for 3 years because he thought everything else was like Kraft Cheese Slices, so over processed and tasting like shit.

    I am not sure if the rules are set in stone, or whether the game is fixed. I for one will try my best to hold the players accountable. Consider me a pop culture referee.

    Thanks again Brain, your input is greatly appreciated. As for me, and music, lets just say I am a connoisseur, I will leave the making of fine beats to those that have the courage and skill to do so. I sing my songs via a keyboard and an Internet connection.

    Rock On!

  13. And finally...All this talk about Kanye West & Taylor Swift...As if any of the furore generated by this school yard prank had anything to do with them winning or losing...The biggest winner here is MTV..What do they care ? They sacrifice the careers of young artists on an hourly basis, ritually tying them to the stake and celebrating via coast to coast transmission as they burn in agony...Tricking these innocents into believing that Massive exposure is just what they need when all the time their limited lifespan is being consumed by the flames. MTV kills careers quicker than a smack,crack & crystal meth cocktail... Just say no kids...TV KILLS MUSIC and oils its rusty cogs with the blood, sweat and tears of last weeks musical genius.

  14. Ah Brian, you should contribute to the NAD as its rock'n'roll poet laureate. I am honored that you feel comfortable ranting on my wee blog. A billion thanks.

  15. Joseph I'm honored but completely unworthy...And on that basis how could I refuse your kind invitation ? Although it may be a while as I need to build up some more steam after that last rant..I am a child of the sixties after all...When the moment is right I shall strike with absurd ego driven, totally preposterous yet true tales from the road. I may change names to protect the innocent unless they are famous of course and I may use poetic license to make my life seem a little more interesting BUT I will mostly be telling the truth...And on that note I'm away to crash a Ferrari into my swimming pool just as soon as I've managed to throw this 60 inch plasma TV out of the bedroom window.