Something you may not have been aware of until this morning, MTV still deems itself capable of awarding quality music videos. I think this is a little disingenuous, but the event did provide the music industry's most recent talking point. I'm not going to link to it, since no link seems to last for more than mere nanoseconds but Googling "Kanye" should suffice. Even in an event that prizes spontaneity above all else, we can agree there is a difference between being edgy and being an asshole.
Why would he do this, other than too many drinks as CNN among others suggest? I don't think that it would be too out of line to call Kanye not only a musician but also an engineer of events. From his "President Bush doesn't care about black people" to the horseshit he pulled at Bonnaroo two years back, West has had plenty of PR turbo to add to the humming engine of his musical career. The only possible analogue I can think of Shaquille O'Neal, clearly one of the great centers of ever but also developed a cottage industry of just showing places. The seeming incongruity ended up just being something unto themselves entirely separate from his career, random acts of Shaqness.
So I imagine the producers of the VMAs were delighted went Kanye took the stage. They probably expected him to say something whacky or nonsensically talk about his own awexomeness rather than directly trash Taylor Swift. Call me cynical, but I think it was part of a more calculated maneuver. Maybe I'm not hip with the times, but there does seem to be a vacuum for a designated heel in pop music that Kanye has taken upon himself to fill. As Angela mentioned to me "Eminem has been acting like an adult lately", so we have no Bill Laimbeer of music. Of course, Laimbeer was punching other basketball players and not barely-legal country singers who could make do with more sandwiches.
This puts in stark contrast a more charitable moment of Kayne's career that I've meant to write about for some time. As the aforementioned engineer of events, Kayne's album releases have usually been circuses unto themselves. This wasn't the case with his last album 808's and Heartbreak, likely because it was made at a lightning pace in light of actual and perceived tragedy. The autotuned robot rock actually sounds reasonably disarming, although a necessity since the man can-not sing.
The turn came when he performed on Saturday Night Live last winter. Despite the show's less than ironclad standard for authenticity, Kanye went ahead and sang the damn song rather than have the tape do it for him. The Internet hemmed and hawed out it for a couple minutes, but it still had the same disarming effect. Now compare that to the noise he's doing recently. Does he really concerned about his album sales as much to become the new Iron Sheik?