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Today’s Controversy

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Today’s Controversy"

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I was watching football and Mad Men during the Video Music Awards last night, but I now feel fully caught up on the Kanye West / Taylor Swift controversy and am prepared to offer the following expert commentary:

— First, “Single Ladies” is a good song, but the video’s pretty boring and the dance routine is derivative.

“You Belong With Me”, by contrast, provides a solid narrative context for the song:

That said, the conceit of Taylor Swift as the plain girl next door type is a hard sell. The whole video is basically a smear against nearsighted-Americans. Maybe instead of ditching the glasses for uncorrected vision, thus offering a horrible lesson to young girls everywhere, she could have just bought some more attractive frames?

— I’m also a bit confused by the conceit that this is a “country” song. The concept of genre seems to get a bit fuzzy when applied to the tween market. Swift’s nominally country tune seems to bear a striking resemblance to Avril Lavigne’s nominally “punk” music.

— Both of the videos in question are demonstrably inferior to “Heads Will Roll”. Compared to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, neither Beyonce nor Swift appears to really even be trying. The band is dismembered by a werewolf!

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