Music, Pop Culture

Kim Kardashian exposing Taylor Swift’s petty lies was the highlight of summer 2016

I don't care what you and Chloe Grace Moretz say, Selena Gomez. This is the best thing ever.

I knew I’d end up writing about Taylor Swift this summer. I just assumed I’d finally find an angle on Hiddleswift (true love? publicity stunt? most boring couple alive?), but this is so much better! Kim Kardashian finally strikes a blow against Taylor Swift’s sweetheart image, driving a stake forged by Snapchat through the heart of Taylor’s #squadgoals-dance-like-no-one-is-watching empire and flooding her pretty pop star palace with both snake and rat (emojis). I haven’t been as glued to my Twitter feed since Lemonade dropped, running to participate in the Twittersphere’s collective dragging of Taylor Swift. It was delightfully preoccupying, the most fun I’ve had following social media beef since the halcyon days of high school.

Once upon a time I wrote about Kanye West’s odd obsession with Taylor Swift, and I haven’t changed my mind. He’s obsessed with her the same way she’s obsessed with him, the same way they’re both obsessed with the fateful 2009 VMA Awards where this whole saga began with Beyonce not receiving the award for Best Female Video (the best things always begin and/or end in Beyonce). Kanye West is still trash, as is the “Famous” lyric “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous.” But we knew that already.

[bctt tweet=”Thanks to Kim Kardashian we have our answer!” username=”wearethetempest”]

About Taylor we had only suspected, squinting at her Stepford “squad” and side-eyeing her own song lyrics (and her dancing), typing out snappy tweets after she attempted to come for Nicki Minaj last year and decisively branding her “women should support women” feminism as pathetic. But there was no definitive proof of the depths of Taylor Swift. Was she a well-meaning but still awkward as hell pop star who really just wanted everyone to be her best friend? Was she just super annoying white feminist but still generally okay I guess? Or was she just playing everyone with her gangly and wholesome glamour?

Thanks to Kim Kardashian we have our answer!

After months of Kim and Kanye insisting Taylor knew about Kanye’s trash lyric, months of Taylor Swift claiming the opposite, Kim dropped (on National Snake Day!) a series of Snapchat videos proving Taylor’s prior knowledge. There’s Taylor with her (patronizing) appreciation of Kanye’s calling to run this by her first. She laughs at the certainty that the public will think he’s throwing shade and promises to show up on the Grammy red carpet with the knowledge that she was in on this all along. Just like Kim and Kanye said. Just like Taylor denied.

Is this blow a fatal one? Is the ever powerful Kim Kardashian the iceberg to Taylor Swift’s Titanic? It’s unlikely, but Taylor’s floating aimlessly in freezing waters, Selena Gomez and Chloe Grace Moretz have simply drowned, and it’s so much fun!

[bctt tweet=”Taylor’s floating aimlessly, Selena Gomez and Chloe Grace Moretz have simply drowned, and it’s so much fun!” username=”wearethetempest”]

With a few clips, Kim Kardashian guts Taylor’s uber-condescending and always unbelievable claims of friendship and unity by showcasing her fawning fakeness. While I will defend Taylor Swift when she’s bearing the brunt of sexism and misogyny (with the added disclaimer that not even the near-perfection of 1989 can make me fuck with her after what she pulled with Nicki), this is not a time for defending Taylor Swift. Get with the winning team, and don’t listen to the Selena Gomezes and Chloe Grace Moretzes who tell you to focus on something that MATTERS!!1!1!

No this isn’t the slow but determined death spiral known as Election 2016. It’s not Black Lives Matter or anything else so important that it is absolutely depressing. This is Taylor Swift, self-proclaimed champion of women, beacon of white feminism, unapologetic basher of Katy Perry, Camilla Belle, girls in short skirts, and reams of ex-boyfriends she never called for approval. Confirming the widespread skepticism about Taylor’s intentions, this is pure pop culture gold.

[bctt tweet=”Confirming the widespread skepticism about Taylor’s intentions, this is pure pop culture gold.” username=”wearethetempest”]

This has all the trappings of prime celebrity frivolity: Kim Kardashian peppering her Twitter with shady comments about Taylor, Taylor breaking her silence to release an asinine statement on Instagram, Selena Gomez and Chloe Grace Moretz playing themselves in failed attempts at defending their squad leader, Khloe Kardashian tainting the fun as she attempts to get in on the dragging. In a summer loaded with bad and worse news, of course we’re rolling in the generally unimportant but no less entertaining downfall of Taylor Swift.

After the recording (almost vomit-inducing in how set Taylor and Kanye are in pretending they actually like each other), Taylor would go on to claim, “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, “I made that bitch famous.’” Then Taylor’s Grammy acceptance speech would feature a reminder to young women that men would try to take credit for their success.

[bctt tweet=”I knew I’d end up writing about Taylor Swift this summer.” username=”wearethetempest”]

But the clapback she attempted had nothing to do with her earlier statement. She really tried, but as that one time with Nicki showed us, Taylor Swift doesn’t know how to clapback. She doesn’t even have the benefit of having a Hillary Clinton social media intern to help (think “Delete your account” not “like your abuela”). So her resulting statement is a futile display of her own breathless victimhood, rewriting a story she’d already doctored months ago but now in the face of video evidence:

That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

“I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative”, Taylor writes after the narrative she tried to write has gone up in a plume of smoke. Taylor decrying Kim Kardashian’s “character assassination” – the same Taylor Swift who built her career assassinating the character of every ex-boyfriend and romantic rival she’s ever had – is the kind of hilarious hypocrisy you don’t find anywhere else. And despite Kanye West having no trouble assassinating his own character, Taylor wasn’t doing him any favors when she pretended she’d been caught off guard.

[bctt tweet=”Taylor decrying Kim Kardashian’s ‘character assassination’ is the kind of hilarious hypocrisy you don’t find anywhere else.” username=”wearethetempest”]

And what misogyny was Taylor cautioning against exactly? She says she didn’t know about “that bitch” until the song was released, but she considered the line about Kanye sleeping with her to be “a compliment kind of.” She was even cool with his claim to her fame, she and Kanye are practically braiding each other’s hair while she says, “It doesn’t matter if I sold 7 million of that album before you did that. You didn’t know who I was before that.” While “that bitch” is a fair thing to be pissed about, her issue all those months ago was less about Kanye’s profanity and more about him making her. But according to this, she didn’t feel that way until later.

[bctt tweet=”I don’t know, but it’s hysterical. More please.” username=”wearethetempest”]

So why lie?

Did Taylor underestimate public ire to the lyric and decide that going along would be inappropriate for America’s Sweetheart? Was she trying to maintain the narrative of her perky pop stardom being downtrodden and abused by the Kardashian-West coalition (“she cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, won’t leave her alone”)? Was she just trying to exclude herself from the narrative (that she’s “never asked to be a part of”) by singing the condescending “Innocent” and showing off flowers from Kanye and tailoring her Grammys speech to this situation?

I don’t know, but it’s hysterical. More please.