Feb 3Liked by Josh Barro

I say this as someone who is a Swiftie and was fortunate to attended one of her concerts this summer.

The number of insane conspiracy theories on the right is completely twisted. She is a very famous, Pop star, dating a very famous football player. The thin skinned likes of people who can’t handle 45 seconds of her on TV during a 3-4 hour football game is something else.

Just as those who think she can magically call for a cease fire in Gaza or earlier this summer when some were calling on her to CANCEL her LA shows because these hotel union was on strike and Taylor cancelling her shows would magically fix this. Shocker she didn’t cancel her shows and somehow everyone survived.

Great piece Josh!

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Feb 3·edited Feb 3

I connected with this post in a very weird and cathartic way. Subscribed.

Background: I do not know anything about Taylor Swift. I do not know anything about her music. I could not name a single Taylor Swift song or album. I do not say this to prove how cool I am for being unattached from a cultural phenomena or whatever. It's just to frame where I'm coming from.

For most of my life, I've known Taylor Swift as the artist my leftist female friends really liked but were also always kind of annoyed at because of something they read on Twitter. They definitely wanted you to know that they preferred Beyonce. The phrases "white woman feminism" and "queer baiting" got tossed around a lot. (In these kinds of situations I usually just nod and don't ask any questions.) Also, a good friend of mine grew up down the street from Taylor Swift in Tennessee and while he did not know her personally, their families were friendly. He claims that at one point in high school he was requested to clean viruses off the Swift family computer which were speculated to have been installed by Taylor's brother while downloading pornography (though perhaps this could clear up the whole bisexual thing). Again, just where I'm coming from.

Somehow Taylor Swift has been in the news every day for months now. It's weird. I should mention that I also don't know anything about the NFL. And while I am generally aware of her current romance, it also doesn't sound like something that's particularly important. And now the conservative's are mad at Taylor Swift too? I have to emotionally prepare for my 88 year old grandmother having an opinion about Taylor Swift??

The most critical thing I could say about Taylor Swift is that those news stories I heard a couple years ago about her concert ticket prices being high seemed kinda shitty. (I feel weird about paying more than $100 on a concert myself.) Other than that, I am tired of having to think or hear about Taylor Swift.

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Yikes, that NYT piece about her sexual orientation! That was a piece of my life I will never get back. I did feel compelled to comment there how I thought it was none of our business, anyway, but mostly I read it because I was astonished at its banality.

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"[A] project to benefit people who simply like having their own opinions said back to them." A hit. A palpable hit. Also very likely the title of the network memo proposing to bring Jon Stewart back to The Daily Show.

Full-on Barro Banger, this one. Great column.

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Feb 3·edited Feb 5

This is really insightful. I think part of why we react to Swift the way we do is because there hasn't been a musician or band as big as her in a long time.

People definitely went insane in a similar way about the Beatles, there were a million bizarre political controversies and conspiracy theories about them and I actually know about many of these controversies in detail even though they happened decades before I was born and I'm not a huge Beatles fan. The internet makes things even weirder, but she's just part of how a whole generation / decade understands itself in a way that even Madonna or Michael Jackson weren't.

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If only she would start a legal-themed podcast so I could truly relate to her...

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Dear Lord I thought Josh was joking when he talked about the essay by Anna Marks - he's not.

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Back when I was on Twitter all the time, I always made a point of muting the name of some celebrities like that (Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk). I fell like Swift and Kelce now would have to be the same.

I do find it excessive that all sports websites need to talk about her instead of actual sports news, but then again, I can always not click on the articles, plus I should probably be working instead of reading about sports anyway.

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"What has made Swift a star is her rare combination of superior talent, immense work ethic, and deep relatability."

If only we had a presidential candidate with these qualities. Oh, hell, ANY political candidate...

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Dating Kelce just sent her into the stratosphere, especially with MAGA? He’s not like the other guys she’s dated. He’s kinda rugged, obviously athletic and very masculine. 🔥 Just a thought

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Fantasies of intimacy are not a new phenomenon. In the 60's, Beatles female superfans were "sure Paul knows me and is singing to me." Fantasies of power OTOH, as applied to celebrities like Taylor, , seem to me to be a relatively new thing-at least to this degree of weirdness. Could they exist without social media and the conspiracist victimologies of the extreme Right and Left?

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"Of course, centrists are generally not vulnerable to this sort of nonsense because we do not look to famous people to validate our worldviews. "

Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign was very heavy on celebrity endorsements. Indeed, you quoted Taylor Swift making precisely that point.

I checked Wikipedia to confirm my impressions. Bernie Sanders had 100 or so celebrity

endorsements in a single list - mostly people you would expect to be leftish. Clinton had so many they were subdivided into categories (50 or so under "models" alone).

This article would have been a lot better without the hippy-punching.

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