Taylor Swift Understands Something About Politics That Most Celebrities Don’t
I should start this off by saying I’m not much of a fan of Taylor Swift’s music.
Some of her songs are catchy, but I never understood the appeal. According to my sister — and I’m paraphrasing here — there’s a dancing white girl in all of us, and Taylor Swift encourages her to come out. I guess my inner white girl is a goth who doesn’t dance.
But sans my appreciation for her music, I do admire Swift. She’s a genuinely good person who treats her fans like they’re the stars. I’ve never seen her be overtly sexual like many of her fellow pop princesses, and even her Ghost in the Shell rip off costume for her song “Ready for It” wasn’t used as a way to gyrate something. And yes, she has a string of failed relationships, and she expresses that in sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jocular, and sometimes manic ways that even she acknowledges makes her seem simultaneously tragic and crazy. In other words, she’s your typical American girl.
But what I appreciate most about Swift is that she seems to be smarter than many of her peers. The grumpy socio-political commentator in me would summarize it as “she knows how to shut up.” The writer in me would say more succinctly, she knows not to mix her politics with her entertainment.
Despite the political firestorm raging around everything Trump does, be it his election or his breathing out of his left nostril, Swift has stayed mum about her thoughts and opinions on the goings on in D.C.’s pillared halls.
This doesn’t sit well with many on the left, as webzine Marie Claire openly expressed on Tuesday.
For many in the leftist media, your disapproval, or better your hatred, of Trump is what allows you to be taken seriously as an artist. A disavowal of the president, or better yet, a Twitter rant against (insert issue of the day here) will win you a standing ovation from the mainstream media, awards, and more.
However, for the left, silence in the face of such evil is equal to consent. Swift’s sealed lips on her politics might as well be a signed and notarized document that gives her approval to whatever dastardly thing Trump wishes to do next.
Marie Claire’s article was less of an honest question about why Taylor has stayed mum, and more like a Nazi Gestapo forcing a citizen to declare allegiance to the body politic lest there be consequences. What Marie Claire didn’t anticipate was that Swift’s celebrity was more powerful than their public attempt at verschärfte vernehmung.
But more than that, Marie Claire — and indeed many in the media — never even considered the fact that Swift’s silence has made her more powerful than their wagging tongues. For all we know, Swift is a raging leftist who donates to Planned Parenthood, believes in safe spaces, cheers on Antifa, and hopes one day Al Franken will grab her by the bulletproof vest. Then again she might be a MAGA hat wearing Israel supporter who thinks the moment an NFL player’s knee touches grass he should be summarily kicked in the jock strap and dragged off the field.
She might be none of those things. We’ll never know, and that is the sharpest arrow in Swift’s quiver.
Swift respects her audience, no matter which way they lean. Whether they’re blue haired SJWs, or troop loving patriots, Swift welcomes all. She’s a performer who is there to bring her audience emotion, depth, fun, and what have you, not divisive commentary and political stances. She never forces anyone to pick a side.
The rest of Hollywood hasn’t learned this. Celebrities spew political verbal diarrhea between takes, songs, plays, and during acceptance speeches, alienating fans and ruining the medium.
A look ratings for everything politics has touched will tell you just how damaging becoming a political talking head or symbol can be for your career, and the space you work in. ESPN and the NFL are seeing their ratings and subscriptions tank daily by the thousands. The Emmys, which has become more of a place for celebrities to to live out their fantasy of being an MSNBC host, is also seeing ratings in free fall. Late night show hosts that engage in partisan commentary like Colbert and Kimmel are bleeding viewers.
A entertainer’s job is to entertain. Those who engage in political commentary leave a bad taste in our mouths. We go to them to get away, not stay in the world we needed a break from. And what’s more the ones there to entertain us always seem half informed about what’s going on as they take themselves so seriously. Many of us reacting negatively feel like Woody from Toy Story yelling “YOU. ARE. A. TOY.” at a very self-important Buzz Lightyear.
But Swift doesn’t have this problem. She respects her audience by not alienating them. She doesn’t see her platform as a soapbox, but a stage by which to serve her fans. I’m not a big Swift fan in terms of her music, but I am a huge Swift fan in terms of her character, and her intelligence, and many in the entertainment industry could learn from her example.