Damn, what a weekend! Between a failed coup d’etat in Turkey, another police ambush in Baton Rouge, and the set-up for the RNC in Cleveland, it’s almost like the world is going absolutely batshit insane. BUT YOU NEVER FEAR, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift are in a full-blown social media feud so you can feel like all is right with your world.
If you have been paying attention to actual world events and not this nonsense, Amy Zimmerman at The Daily Beast provided a really excellent synopsis of the events of the weekend. And I say “excellent” because unlike many a gossip “journalist,” Zimmerman carefully elucidates on the timeline and control exerted by ALL PARTIES on this story. Make no mistake, you may be here for the Tay-Tay takedown tea, but all of this has been orchestrated carefully by veritable armies of public relations professionals. (If, by the way, you ever wondered what Kim Kardashian’s “job” was or what her “skills” are – do not mention that damn sex tape – her prowess in the field of PR is unrivaled. She is a certified public relations genius.)
The Twitter hastag #KimExplosedTaylorParty is a goddamned mess, and not just because someone early on wrote “explosed” instead of “exposed.” We have white supremacists coming out to support TSwift (seriously, WHAT), a complete clisterf@*k of nobodies invested in this nonsense, and some really terrific photoshopping happening. Case in point:
— Tati (@StydiaForbes) July 18, 2016
I don’t care what you say, Kanye as the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes is choice.
Anyway, has your brain entirely liquefied yet? No? Good. Let’s get on with this.
A year and a half ago, I mused over the potential downfall of Our Lady of Newport in regard to her then-feud with Nicki Minaj. (And yes, I have been congratulating myself regarding my obvious prescience for the last few weeks, thankyouverymuch.) A friend of mine has been obsessively Snapchatting me from Johannesburg regarding Hiddleswift and this ensuing mess. The term “thirst” is thrown around an awful lot, and with good reason (she knows I screen-grabbed our convo; I was mostly amused by the fact that Boris Johnson seemed to be presiding over our discussion). This complete cacophony of celebrity and overexposure has them thirsty folk on all sides: Hiddleston, Swift, Kardashian, West, Harris, and all the rest mentioned in this disaster. What all of this amounts to, of course, is that, as a society, we are incapable of tempering our own thirst.
Choose what you like as the starting point of this turn of tide in public opinion re: La Swift – her feud with Katy Perry, words with Nicki Minaj, the kinda-sorta really racist suite of music videos for “Shake It Off” and that fetishistic one about Colonial Africa with Clint Eastwood’s son, her call-out of Kanye on “Famous”, her so extra situation with Tom Hiddleston (we are all Ryan Reynolds), or Kim’s latest and clearly orchestrated blow, essentially making Taylor out to be shady AF. Or perhaps it was something else altogether. But, whatever it was, it’s fascinating to watch in real time someone getting taken down a peg or two or twenty depending on how far this descent drops, not only in the court of public opinion (not exactly the finest example of reasoned jurisprudence), but by someone whose very fame rests on the understanding that she was the target of much hate and vitriol since first stepping into the limelight.
In a celebrity-obsessed culture, we smallfolk* have historically only been able to observe our
idles idols from afar. Now, however, social media has become a great equalizer, where we can interact with and observe these formerly untouchable persons in real time. This has been marvelous for some and disastrous for others – famous and otherwise. More importantly, it has reinforced the tacit belief that celebrity is something we all secretly deserve. Fame is made on social media more rabidly (that was a typo, but I’m keeping it) and furiously than ever before. We are a populace obsessed with consumption of the next big thing, the newest, the best, the freshest. If we can’t be it, we can be a part of it. Fandoms seem to take on lives of their own (Twitter abjectly terrifies me at times, e.g. when Zayn left 1D), separate from the celebrity they are designed to worship. And the most successful celebrities, it seems, are not the most talented, the brightest, the kindest, or the most creative.
They are the ones who can stay on everyone’s lips and finger tips, as the case may be, in a culture that gives equal air time (or even, disproportionate air time) to Kimye and Hiddleswift as it does the fallout from Brexit. You can read up on some astute insights on the race issues muddled in this mess, but really, their millions (billions?) are made, their places are solidified in the annals of pop-history so that ultimately, both Taylor and Kim will come out of this fine, but will you?
*Yes, I’m a Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire nerd and I shan’t apologize for it. +10 to Gryffindor if you got the reference.