Call him arrogant, call him childish, call him any number of unsavory adjectives -- at least Kanye West knows how to laugh it off.
Last week, West posted the somber, surreal short film "We Were Once a Fairytale" on his blog. Just as the Spike Jonze-directed video was starting to spark controversy, West pulled it down, only offering fans the explanation, "Sorry I had to take it down :(."
Now the two are back with the perfect antidote to their dark "Fairytale": a behind the scenes-type clip of Jonze and West arguing during the filming of the short. After Jonze begs West to stop texting and pay attention, he slaps the rapper with a thwack powerful enough to make speakers thump. To be sure, it seems completely staged, but it's funny enough for a view or two.
As for the real-life controversy, it turns out that West took down "Fairytale" because it wasn't finished. An incomplete copy of the film, which Jonze intended to sell on iTunes, leaked on the Internet days before West posted it on his blog. West linked to it not realizing the cut wasn't finished.
"This is the first time it's happened to me," Jonze told the New York Times' ArtsBeat blog Oct. 22, "and it is a weird feeling, like, 'Wait a second -- I wasn't ready to put that out! That's mine. Uh, no, I guess it's not mine anymore.'"
Last Tuesday, after taking "Fairytale" off his blog, "RIP Kanye West" rose to top trend status on the micro-blogging platform Twitter, with fans reacting to a gruesome series of scenes in the short film. That impelled West's girlfriend Amber Rose to take to Twitter to shoot down rumors that West died in a car crash. (The rapper was actually involved in a near-fatal wreck in 2002, inspiring his hit "Through the Wire," which is also reportedly the title of his upcoming book.)
"This 'RIP KanyeWest' topic is not funny and its NOT TRUE!," Rose tweeted. "He has people like myself and his family that love him very much."
It's hard to blame fans -- "Fairytale" was made to cause a stir. In the 11-minute long film, the rapper plays a drunk version of himself stumbling around a club. West seems darkly desperate in the video, shouting "Do you like my song? This is my song!" at revelers who recoil as he goes on a warpath across the room.
His hit "In My Nightmares" blasts in the background, and the whole thing is pretty nightmarish indeed -- after having sex with a stranger, West vomits rose petals, drives a knife into his stomach and pulls out a small rat-like creature, which then kills itself with a mini knife.
Jonze's surreal product mirrors his work in "Where the Wild Things Are," "Being John Malkovich," and West videos like "Flashing Lights." While West obviously puts on an act in it, it's hard not to see "Fairytale" as a look into the psyche of a star struggling with fame.
It all comes as West attempts to exorcise his real-life deamons. Since stealing the mic from Taylor Swift and blowing up at the MTV Video Music Awards in September, West has stepped back from the spotlight, canceling a planned tour with Lady Gaga and saying he wants to take time to reflect.
"I've never taken the time off, just music and music and tour after tour, and I'm ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt," West told Jay Leno in September. "After this, I need to just take some time off and analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve, because I am a celebrity and that's just something I'm going to have to deal with."