Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” Taylor Swift definitely got that memo. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, she seemed to be forgiving someone, maybe [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist], as she crooned, “Who you are is not what you did. … You’re still an innocent.”
Though the pair didn’t appear onstage together on Sunday night, as some hoped, many in the media took the opportunity to weigh in on whether the evening’s performances had settled the score between them.
“She seems to have forgiven him,” Jennifer Armstrong wrote in Entertainment Weekly. “She looked gorgeous, as she is wont to do, but, um, the actual song was a pretty opaque.”
Kanye’s performance was looked upon more favorably. “It was a complete victory,” EW‘s Brad Wete wrote, “addressing his character flaws and acknowledging public opinion without relinquishing any of his power.”
Spin‘s Steve Kandell thinks the two stars reluctantly met somewhere in the middle. “Kanye implored a toast to the douche bags and jerkoffs, among whom he undoubtedly counts himself, albeit with reservations,” he wrote. “She thinks he isn’t what he did, but he’s putting the lie to that — no, I am that, it’s just a shame you got in the crossfire. But, to paraphrase another great poet of the VMA era, he’s not that innocent.”
Over at The New York Times, Jon Caramanica wrote of West, “Wearing a red suit, he looked amateurish and vulnerable, and also affecting. At the end, Mr. West’s knowing, bombastic humility won.” With respect to Taylor Swift, Caramanica continued, “Ms. Swift — a victim, but no naïf — performed a new song, ‘Innocent,’ directed at Mr. West, an extremely savvy insult masquerading as the high road. She performed it with minimal accompaniment, barefoot, and with an unsteady relationship to pitch.”
Many critics seemed to feel that Swift’s song made the VMA interruption incident into something much deeper than it really was.
“The spectacle of an insanely wealthy 20-year-old singer using the phrase ‘who you are is not what you did’ to describe not a reformed criminal or a family member who grievously erred and must be forgiven,” NPR’s Linda Holmes wrote. “[B]ut to describe someone she doesn’t really know whose only misdeed is rudeness at an awards show is just jaw-droppingly self-involved, and adding ‘you’re still an innocent,’ with its implications of purity, borders on the creepy. Moreover, this entire attempt to psychoanalyze someone who’s essentially a stranger, trying to find the internal pain that leads to every incident of acting out in public, suggests she doesn’t yet know how being drunk works.”
Perhaps Megan Friedman at Time summed it up best: “In reality, they’re both winners — even if one of their performances was a disaster, they could console themselves by taking a swim in their pool full of money.”
The Moonmen have all been handed out and the stars have gone home, but there’s plenty of 2010 MTV Video Music Awards news, interviews, behind-the-scenes scoop, party reports and more still to come, so keep it locked on MTVNews.com.