One of the things I despise about our modern political era is that everything — and I mean everything — has to be politicized. I’ve lost track of the number of things I’m supposed to be boycotting or buying in defiance of a boycott. I get bored to tears by the entirely unoriginal political rantings of celebrities. We can’t even go the store without being asked to save the whales.
But probably the worst part of this is the tendency to castigate those who refuse to engage in this bullshit. I blogged last year about Jimmy Fallon being criticized for a softball interview with Trump. And the latest target is Taylor Swift, whose refusal to get political apparently makes her a fascism enabler. This reached peak insanity with an unsigned editorial from The Guardian:
In the year since Donald Trump was elected, the entertainment world has been largely united in its disdain for his presidency. But a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the “alt-right”.
Yes. Because no other celebrities use social media or talk about themselves or are concerned with the bottom line. And that some obscure Alt-Right idiots have declared Swift to be their “Aryan Goddess” means … something.
By focusing only on her own, extremely profitable, business, Swift appears at first glance to be an apolitical pop star, keen to attract people of all leanings. She began her career in country, a genre whose fans have historically identified as Republican (early on, she wrote that “Republicans do it better”, though after Barack Obama’s victory she said she was “so glad this was my first election”). But these days, even heartland country singers are mocking the president. Her silence seems to be more wilful: a product of her inward gaze, perhaps, or her pettiness and refusal to concede to critics. Swift seems not simply a product of the age of Trump, but a musical envoy for the president’s values.
Let me just say that I’m really glad the UK has socialized medicine. Because I would hate to think that anyone could contort themselves into such an excruciatingly idiotic position and be unable to get the healthcare necessary to recover from it. I’m no fan of Swift but this is balls-out insane. Mining Swift’s music for clues that she’s actually a secret Trumpist? What’s next, finding secret fascist symbols in her dance moves?
If they wanted to argue that Swift and Trump are both reflections of a culture that is getting increasingly narcissistic … they’d kinda have a point, albeit an oblique and meaningless one. But by trying to tie this to some kind of political philosophy, they fall flat on their face. Why is Swift’s silence on politics self-centered, but self-aggrandizing celebrities jumping on the political bandwagon is not? We have an entire slate of late-night talk shows devoted to C-list celebrities talking politics and talking it stupidly. Every sitcom has to virtue signal by making a joke about Trump’s tweets (and bad ones at that). Hell, look at me. I blog and tweet. What the hell is that other than, “Look at me! Wheeee!”
Not everything is about politics and not everything is about Trump. Stop pretending that it is. For the sake of our mass sanity. As far as I’m concerned, Taylor Swift’s eschewing of politics is the best thing about her.