Someone sent me a link to the recent back and forths between the Swift and Kardashian-West camps these days, and they encouraged me to write about it. Even as I do so, I'm highly ambivalent, as the whole affair is rather unsavoury, to say the least.
For those of you living on a different planet, it all began in 2009 when Kanye West famously (infamously?) stormed the stage while Ms. Swift was receiving the Best Female Video award at the MTV Video Music Awards, and he interrupted Swift's acceptance speech, insisting that Beyoncé should have won the award.
From Mr. West, there were apologies, retractions, further apologies and further retractions over the years. West and Swift were enemies, then colleagues, then on-the-outs, then possible collaborators, and now, the latest:
This past February, West released a video, "Famous," in which there's a line that goes, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b**** famous." West insists that he spoke with Swift on the phone before releasing the track, and that she had found it funny and had given her approval.
Swift says that she did no such thing, and just now, Kim Kardashian has weighed in, saying that she has a secret recording of Swift speaking with West on the phone and approving of the song lyric.
If you're a rich, male celebrity, you can behave like an utter jackass... but if you're a successful female celebrity, heaven help you if you make the tiniest misstep.
Swift then released an Instagram message saying that West "promised to play the song to me, but he never did," and that the recording of her approving of the lyric "doesn't exist because it never happened." She said that she's being "falsely painted as a liar" and "was never given the full story" by West.
She labels his and Kardashian's actions "character assassination," and ends by saying that she "would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009." And on it goes.
So, what can we learn from this mess? Well, first of all, if you're a rich, male celebrity, you can behave like an utter jackass and suffer minimal to no consequences, but if you're a successful female celebrity, heaven help you if you make the tiniest misstep.
It also shows how dangerous, toxic and unrelenting a narcissistic personality can be. When someone challenges a hardcore narcissist, it's like poking a dragon with a sharp stick. Is it a coincidence that West's song and video and Kardashian's accusation toward Swift both come out following Swift's acceptance speech for Album of the Year at the February 2015 Grammy Awards? I think not.
In her speech, Swift speaks to "all the young women out there," going on to say that "there are going to be people along the way who (will) try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame..." and that "if you just focus on the work and... don't let those people sidetrack you... when you get where you're going... you'll know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there."
The problem for Ms. Swift is two-fold: she's a super-successful female in a world that is deeply ambivalent, at best, about female success, and also, she mines her life for her music, angering a lot of people in the process. If she happens to poke the wrong person, or dragon, they'll rain down fire upon her.
I don't know who's telling the truth in this three-sided he-said, she-said, but I can't imagine that Ms. Swift would have agreed to be portrayed in Mr. West's lyric in that way, and I certainly can't imagine that she'd accept being depicted (in the form of a naked waxwork dummy) as lying in bed with the Kardashian-Wests, along with a number of other folks, including Bill Cosby, of all people.
All of this is totally out of character for Ms. Swift, and people tend to be consistent. I mean, all one has to do is observe the behaviour, over the years, of the Kardashian-Wests.
In our society, stupidity is rewarded, but even more than that, narcissists and bullies are, for some bizarre and horrifying reason, highly revered. Just look at the current political circus in the Untied States and it will be clear how much this is true.
I feel for Ms. Swift, as she seems to have attracted more than her fair share of narcissists and bullies over the years. It appears, however, that she's attempting to rise above the fray and not allow herself to be sullied by the tactics of those on the other side of this debate. I wish her the best of luck. After all, Hell hath no fury like a narcissist who doesn't get their way.
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