It began as they said-she said and remains that, even as the somewhat gleeful social media reaction to Kardashians damning Sunday night Snapchats poisoned Swifts already weak celebrity immune system, sending her to an early tomb amidst an increasingly fatal case of public weariness over the starring.
Theres reflexive scoffing at her picture-perfectas in probably/ most definitely posed for relationship with Tom Hiddleston. And not to mention eye-rolling as the Maneater Swift media narrative builds its way around the carousel again, with Swift and Hiddleston hamming for the paparazzi just a blink and a kiss-off after her breakup with Calvin Harris.
Then theres the Nils Sjoberg tale, which is just about as interesting as the words Nils Sjoberg saga sound.
And now, as has been breathlessly reported overnight after some masterful foreplay on Sundays episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians , Kim Kardashian cast Taylor Swift to the wolves, via Snapchat. This sentence was brought to you by the year 2016.
The wife of Kanye West video proof that her husband had, indeed, called Swift for her approving to refer to her in the I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I built that bitch famous lyric in his song Famous, though Swifts publicist had claimed he never did.
Furthermore, when Swift won the Album of the Year award at the 2016 Grammys, she calculatedly use her speech to elevate herself above what her reps statement called a misogynistic message, ascending to her throne as pops resilient ruler and banishing West and Kardashian from her Kingdom of Respectability.
Kardashians videos, however, glisten a spotlightalbeit a grainy and at times questionably edited oneon how Swift and her camp manipulate the press and the public, going so far as to even fabricate narrations( cough, Hiddleswift, cough ).
As the Twitter pas de deux between the downright celebratory #KimExposesTaylorParty and #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty hashtags suggests, Kardashian, according to this new narrative, had exposed the real Swift, the ostensibly conniving one too blinded to suppose she could be crushed. But Kardashian whipped up the tornado that hurled the house right on her. After weathering a spate of frustrating PR stunts and disagreements, the resounding chorus in the carnage: Ding dong the witch is dead .
As The Daily Beasts Amy Zimmerman wrote, Kardashian beat Swift at her own game. Utilizing celebrity power, a PR machine, immeasurable culture influence, and media masterminding she refocused a spinning, potentially damaging narrative to not only defined the record straightonce the singular fear in a celebrity controversy , now second to public perception and goodwillbut recast herself as the victimized hero. Swift? Now shes the mean daughter.
For proof that truth is auxiliary to mass opinion, look no further than the more nuanced facts of the controversy.
From the start, the statement from Swifts rep articulated that this matter was with the phrase that bitch, specificallywhich West, at least in the clips provided by Kardashian, doesnt running past her. Swift points that out in an Instagram post published in reaction to the Snapchat that has broken the internet, going on to say that shes being falsely painted as a liar.
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In the post, Swift called Kims snap a character assassination, and shes right. What really happened may no longer matter. The script has been rewritten. The personathe perfect Taylor Swift character that a squad of people worked so hard to cultivatehas been murdered. That Taylor Swift is dead, at least in the eyes of gossip-mongering social media addicts scarfing down the popcorn watching the soap opera of the last 24 hours.
Swift had tried, and failed, to hurl Kanye West and Kim Kardashian under the bus, once again asserting herself as the very best daughter. But Kardashian tip-off off the driver. Now that proverbial bus has gone in reverse and its Swift under its tires.
R.I.P ., girl.
But for all the hashtag-partying on her meme tomb, its worth exploring if the traumata to Swifts persona are really fatal. Is it possible to mend the damage?
It must be said that the prognosis isnt gooda brief scroll of Twitter builds that clear, even as Swifts fans and celebrity friends defend her, and the typical and at this phase embarrassingly antiquated who cares what the famous-for-doing-nothing girls do Kardashian write-offs roll in.
As complicit as pop culture and celebrity rumor consumers are in feeding into the artifice that has, well, pretty much eternally defined the entertainment and celebrity industry, its still a cardinal sin to betray them. The penance for doing so is levy, if even insurmountable.
Swifts authenticity had already been in question following the increasingly groan-worthy relationship with Hiddleston, which, whether or not it genuinely is, suffers the tomb predicament of appearing to be fake.
Casting aside, again, the more complicated tints of the controversy and evidence, the court of public opinion has ruled in the People v. Taylor Swift. The verdict: guilty of constantly duping and using us. Punitive damages: our trust, the loss of which is worse for the modern celebrity than, tell, losing Twitter followers, record bargains, or endorsement contracts.
Its all a fascinating insight into the celebrity machine. Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and any major celebrity, for that matter, are merely the visible tips-off of very vast, very calculating icebergs. The army of people constantly fretting over a celebritys branding, promotion, security, and opinion operate largely unseen under the surface.
But being that tip of the iceberg sometimes leaves you uncovered and vulnerable. Sometimes youre propped up strong and tall by the work of that underwater base, capable of destroying ships, evenor, in this case, goodwill toward one of the worlds most gee-golly celebrities.
In this particular situation, whats a melting iceberg to do?
Swift and her camp, as we mentioned before, are experts at controlling the media to rescue an intended narrative.
Even when it comes to Kanye West, who Swift has been dramatically intertwined ever since he crashed her mainstream coming out party at the MTV Video Music Awards, shes cannily capitalized on the controversy in her own favor, making amends by presenting West with the Video Vanguard Award on MTV in 2015.
Would a move from the Taylor Swift playbook work now?
Does she address it in ballad? Spoof it in a video? Send the message that shes over it by appearing together at an awards display? Continue on the attack?
And if not one of those, does the usual 2016 Celebrity Image Makeover tactic run: a self-effacing viral bit on a late-night talk display, or a winking cameo on a buzzy slapstick?
Ordinarily the entertainment news cycle has the memory of an elephant( or a flyI can never remember which is the forgetful one, in true entertainment news novelist sort ). But the Taylor Swift/ Kanye West news cycle has, thus far, had a shelf life of nearly seven years.
Moving on or ignoring it isnt sufficient , not at this crossroad. She likely wont be allowed to escape the inevitability: a paragraph referencing the conflict and Snapchat scandal in magazine cover story and profile written about her , no matter whats going on in her career, in perpetuity.
In the absence of public trust, then, Swifts best bet is candor. And not candor-as-performance, the kind of scripted truth-telling weve become accustomed to. The tell-all interview event is a step. But saying something meaningful in it is a must. It voices stupidly basic to offer say something meaningful as advice. But in todays fabricated advertising machine, it might be the culture shock needed to repair the damage.
Theres no denying the layers of misogyny in this controversy. The pleasure with which we are taking sides between two strong, powerful, and important females, likening them to dueling soap opera divas and dancing on the tomb of the one who has been taken down, so to speak.
We ensure male entertainers get caught in far more damning scandals all the time, and it always blows over, and quickly.( Here is where I dutifully convey my skepticism that Chris Brown is still a successful entertainer .) But Kim Kardashian defends her and her husbands reputation against Taylor Swift, and we turn the latter starring into a gravestone meme.
Celebrities can always come back from the dead, musicians especially. Usually all it takes is the next great ballad, and all is forgiven. It wont be that simple for Taylor Swift. Please welcome to the stage: some humility.