It is this remarkably colourful term, “character assassination” which lies at the heart of Lush’s latest mural in Melbourne’s Hosier Lane. Her image as the fun-loving, peace-loving best friend to her fans has been pushed to the brink in the past few days. Nobody, least of all Taylor Swift fans, would want to believe that one of the most ubiquitous popstars, publicly perceived as genuine in every sense of the word, would blatantly lie in order to maintain some sort of image of innocence.
“If people ask me about it, I think it would be great for me to be like, ‘Look, he called me and told me about the line,’” Swift is heard to be saying in a recording released by Kanye West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, only a few days ago.
But what is really at the heart of this latest episode in this ongoing feud? Why has Kim Kardashian’s release of a recording between her husband and Swift, in which the popstar seemingly endorses Kanye’s song, ‘Famous’ become so revelatory in the ongoing ‘Tay Tay v Kanye’ saga? And why is Swift continuing to defend her image so fiercely?
In her years at the zenith of pop superstardom, Swift has, for the better part, managed to avoid controversy. But this seems to be the first time somebody has attacked Swift’s sacred image with a well-sourced example of the Nashville singer/songwriter’s own shortcomings and, potentially even, her own misleading behaviour.
“Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination,” said a defiant Taylor Swift in a recent
media release Instagram post.
However, if it is true that Swift was the master of her own public disrepute, and she did indeed grant Kanye permission to release the song even after having listened to it, then the damage to her public image is arguably irreparable.
Notwithstanding, let’s not ignore Ye’s role in this. This whole clusterfuck of media contradictions and exclamations in the past months has really been as a result of Ye putting pen to paper in the first place and actually deciding to use those questionable bars. None of this would have come to fruition had the ‘Famous’ rapper/producer overcame his own insatiable desire for public relevance through lazy, shock humour.
However, blatantly misogynist lyrics aside, Kanye has been through this scenario a dozen times before. Whereas Taylor’s relentless attack on, not only the lyrics for ‘Famous’, but also Kanye and Kim’s well-backed-up claims of her approving the lyrics show she is more concerned than ever for the maintenance of her strong-willed, independent, ‘best friend’ image.
In a way, this runs in tandem with Ye’s own unending desire to still be seen as a foul-mouthed, south-side Chicago MC, despite currently being married to the biggest reality TV star on the planet, owning a bona fide palace in Hidden Hills, California, and dropping more fashion lines per year than he does mixtapes (of which he drops zilch).
Both Taylor and Kanye are the “who’s who” of the celebrity world, and both have individual, hugely contrasting public images they must upkeep if they are to maintain their cult-like status amongst their most faithful and devoted, as well as the rest of the all-consuming western society.
But Lush’s latest visual, no matter how tongue-in-cheek it obviously is, is not an omen to the end of Tay Tay’s career, but perhaps an end to her contemporary image of earnestness and faultless character. Picture how many opportunities Lush would have been given in the past to graff a similar portrait after each one of Ye’s “character assassinations”. The entire sides of small apartment blocks would be dedicated to this gargantuan visual odyssey.
Regardless of who is right or wrong, the fact remains that a flaw has finally been shown in Swift’s once-impermeable armour; one which the public has arguably never seen, but which the public could pick out blindfolded in the case of Kanye.
“Taylor Smith” experienced this sort of distortion of public image, or “assassination”, for seemingly the first time, and now is the time for SWift to rebuild, put this saga behind her and resurge stronger and more determined than ever, which she will undeniably do. If Lush were to paint a more realistic scenario of the ‘Tay Tay v Kanye’ saga, for every “Taylor Smith” tragedy mural he splashes on the walls of Hosier Lane, there should be another six adjacent for “Kane West”. Because, regardless of whose side you’re on, clearly nobody’s perfect.