Rapper Kanye West made a fool of himself at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards by jumping onstage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, grabbing the mic and telling everyone that he thought Beyonce’s video was better. Swift was dumbstruck. The crowd’s boos hammered West like an icy rain, obviously surprising him while leaving no doubt that he’d crossed a line.
There’s a very important lesson here. When artists get paid big bucks to spew unfiltered, controversial opinions in their lyrics, they can delude themselves into thinking anything goes. That the world is their stage to be seized whenever the urge hits. That they can say what they want when they want. Well, Kanye West got a dose of reality when he was rude to Taylor Swift. He learned that even on MTV there are, in a sense, “community standards.” Freedom of speech has limits, and it carries responsibility.