Jesus wept. We now have two new Thought Crimes to add to the ever expanding list. This is what we are now coming to:
In 2017, Swift is still absenting herself from the cultural conversation while simultaneously trying to center herself in it.
Taylor Swift’s reputation is a complicated mess. Love her or hate her, she knows this and we know this — it’s what her newest album (uh, Reputation), is all about. One would need a corkboard and miles of red string to sort out the full medley of exasperation that has accompanied conversations about Taylor Swift over the past few years.
In one quadrant of tacked-up evidence are Swift’s celebrity feuds, generally juicy but also exhaustively long-running. In another, you’d find everything about Swift’s personal life that alternately grates and thrills (depending on your preferences). Move over a little from there and you’ll find Swift’s image itself — willowy, blonde, and aggressively white. Perhaps, in an awkward corner close by, are the white supremacist fans who’ve claimed her as a figurehead. In any blank space, you’ll find her political silence and her idiosyncratic ways of communicating with the public. Somewhere scattered among all this is her actual music — as genre-torn as ever, but permanently catchy. Altogether, you’ve got a map without roads, the landscape to how we view a public figure who is alternately aggravating and illuminating.
The piece is titled “Taylor Swift’s persona is not built for 2017”. Dead right. She’s built for a saner age when pop music was pop music and not everything was completely ruined by leftie politics.
“Aggressively white”? What the hell does that even mean? Presumably Hitler was aggressively white and so was/is the KKK. Taylor Swift is merely white and blonde and attractive; not an uncommon combination. No examples of aggression are offered, so maybe that’s just it. Maybe she should change her hair colour to red. That would be less aggressive? But can’t go too far in making yourself less white because then you run a risk of “cultural appropriation”. So you really can’t win. Or maybe it’s just that she hasn’t been publicly apologetic about her skin pigmentation, wallowing in “white guilt”, decrying her own “white privilege”. Who knows.
Oh, and apparently a few white supremacists like her.
The Nazi connection is not one Swift has ever courted, at least not in any active, provable, or logically tangible way. But it’s not one she can seem to shake off, either. And as white supremacist groups take center stage in the news cycle more and more throughout 2017, the connection grows more troublesome for Swift.
Somehow it’s clearly her fault.
“Absenting herself from the cultural conversation” is far easier to decode – it’s basically the failure to toe the celebrity line and spout leftie platitudes. Never mind that she could conceivably be of a right-wing persuasion (she is “aggressively white” after all, and a Southerner, not to mention a former country music star. And we know all about country music) or quite simply – like most people – not that interested in politics at all. Being a famous person she’s got a megaphone and it is her duty to use that megaphone to show the world how woke and conspicuously compassionate she is – and by that to influence the legions of her young fans to become even more socialist (and ignorant) than they already are.
I don’t care one way or another about Swift. She produces some good, catchy pop, which is in short supply, so good on her. I find her lack of politics (“absenting herself from the cultural conversation”) quite refreshing, but I wouldn’t care if she was as woke as Katy Perry, who also, on occasions produces some good, catchy pop, so good on her too. What I do care about the relentless politicisation of everything by the left – seeing everything through the prism of identity politics, the “if you’re not explicitly with us, you’re against us” politicisation, the permanent mass mobilisation for the cultural revolution.
Most of Swift’s public reactions to the world revolve around, well, what the world is saying about Swift. That can work sometimes. After all, Swift still remains heavily popular — even now, her power of perception hasn’t faded irreparably, and certainly, her economic power does not show signs of waning. But through the lens of a culture, especially a popular culture that involves progressives actively battling white supremacy, Swift is intrinsically linked to whiteness and privilege. And in 2017, she is still absenting herself from the cultural conversation while simultaneously trying to center herself in it.
Battle white supremacy, comrades! Down with Swiftian deviationists!