In the ongoing battle between one, Taylor Swift, and two, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, it appears as though the latter have done the unthinkable: cast an incredibly noticeable chink in Swift’s armor of studied good will and aura of beneficence. As the carefully calculated walls of her pop star world come crashing down, she seems to be losing patience with the notion of playing nice.
Because Keeping Up With the Kardashians is always in need of a ratings boost, Kim K set up the narrative of protecting her husband from unfair public opinion on Sunday night’s episode, “Got MILF?. Following the airing of the episode, Kim contrivedly released Snapchat videos showing the footage of Kanye’s now infamous conversation with Swift, asking her permission to use lyrics about her for the track “Famous.” As he speaks to her with the familiarity of an old friend, he recites his plan to use the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.” She gushes, “That’s kind of a compliment.”
And while Kanye’s cheshire cat assurances, “I give a fuck about you as a person and a friend,” don’t exactly paint him in a favorable light, these videos are all about Swift, specifically her phoniness as a human being.
After she listens to his recitations, she gives him the honeyed response, “And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice,” followed by other such soundbites as “I Instagrammed those flowers you sent me and it’s like the most Instagram likes I’ve ever gotten” and “I don’t think anyone would listen to that and be like, ‘Oh, she’s crying.'”
While yes, there is a Nixon-like skeeviness to the recording of this moment, West’s foresight in knowing he would need to have it in his back pocket is proven by Swift’s denial of the fact that she ever gave him permission to use her in a song, as well as the Nazi Barbie attitude toward being outed for the fake she is. Specifically, a Twitter reaction that consisted of Swift ranting (via a screen shot of her Notes, since we all know Twitter has character limits), “Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”
Her veering toward the bloviation side of defense only emphasizes that old Shakespearean adage, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” The real reason for her upset has nothing to do with the assassination of her character, so much that her true persona has been unveiled, like the “wizard” behind the curtain. Based on the “I think me and Taylor might still have sex” lyric alone, Swift should have known better than to offer support for the song, but it’s safe to say that at least a part of her wanted the controversy it was inevitably going to stir up. Because, let’s be honest, most of her career has thrived on appearing as the victim–the lost lamb ripped to shreds by a phantom lion.
Needless to say, Swift’s concluding thought to Kanye on the phone, “I’m always gonna respect you, and I’m really glad you had the respect to call me and tell me that,” was a bald-faced lie, and a clear example of ass-kissing at its finest–which is Swift’s greatest gift as a pop star. But will it be able to back her out of this corner?