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Taylor Swift and Generation Gaps

Taylor Swift Summer 2023
[Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Wikicommons]

Taylor Swift’s current Eras tour is breaking all sorts of records. In the modern era, post-COVID and thanks to the streaming revolution, people had kinda forgotten that this sort of hyper fandom existed. Beyonce’s BeyHive was a hint, but what’s going on with Swift right now really does recall Beatlemania. The Swifties are losing their collective shit.

We really mean it too. Tickets sold out in seconds for insane prices. People are showing up hours in advance of the show, lining up for hours to purchase merch and, in the process, spending a ton more money. When Tay-Tay eventually takes to the stage, people are freaking the fuck out. Just check out some of the videos on TikTok.

And, of course, fandom in and of itself is nothing new. It just seems to be really amped up this time. And as sure as shit, as soon as people get excited about something, there will be Debbie Downers ready to get all cynical about it. Real “poopy-pants” people, as they would say in ‘Letterkenny.’ They are the fucking worst.

You don’t have to subjectively enjoy the music of Taylor Swift to objectively appreciate the fact that she connects with, in particular, young women in a manner not seen in years. And if you really want to get into it, she writes her own heartfelt lyrics about her own real-life experiences, and she’s a multi-instrumentalist. And she stands up against right-wing evil, even when it might damage her standing with her old country fanbase in red states. 

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But above all, lots of people are entertained by this talented entertainer.

It’s frankly weird when you have men in their forties and above taking to the Internet to disparage Taylor Swift. I’m a man in my forties. I know that I’m not Taylor Swift’s target audience. But I can enjoy her music and appreciate her impact anyway because I’m capable of empathy.

Of course, it’s always been this way. My dad tells stories of the things his dad, my grandfather, said during Beatlemania. “This is a fad, it won’t last, real music will come back soon.” By real music, Granddad meant the big bands of Glenn Miller, etc. Turns out, he was wrong.

When I was a teen listening to metal and punk, that wasn’t real music according to my parents. The cycle could continue if we allow it to. People who love rock music started to fall into a trap in the ‘90s, thinking that electronic music isn’t real music because they “don’t play instruments.” It’s all reactionary, reductive nonsense. 

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Swift did her best to stay out of politics for years. Again, she comes from a country background and has a hefty fanbase in the South. But (and people tend to forget this) Swift is 33 years old now. Still a young adult, but experienced enough as a human to know that you simply have to stand for something. As her own social and political conscience developed, she could no longer sit back and ignore society’s evils. Not when she has such a tall pedestal to holler from.

As we mentioned, Swift’s fans are, in the majority, female, as is she. Laws that oppress women, such as anti-abortion laws, oppress the majority of her fans. She also has large support from the LGBTQIA+ community. Laws that oppress gay and trans people oppress a large portion of her fans. For Swift, silence ceased to be an option.

“I wanna love glitter. And also stand up for the double standards that exist in our society,” she said in the Miss Americana documentary. “I wanna wear pink, and tell you how I feel about politics. I don’t think those things have to cancel each other out.”

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In the same movie, Swift said that she wouldn’t be muzzled anymore and that she needs to be on the right side of history. In one famous scene, a tearful Swift can be seen explaining her position regarding Marsha Blackburn’s run for the Senate to her father, who is reluctant to see his daughter dip her toes into politics.

“She votes against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which is just basically protecting us from domestic abuse and stalking,” Swift says. “Stalking. She thinks that if you’re a gay couple, or even if you look like a gay couple, you should be allowed to be kicked out of a restaurant. It’s really basic human rights, and it’s right and wrong at this point.”

She also called Blackburn “Trump in a wig.” For her part, Blackburn responded with: “While there are policy issues on which we may always disagree, we do agree on the need to throw the entertainment community’s collective influence behind legislation protecting songwriters, musicians, and artists from censorship, copyright theft, and profiteering… I wish Taylor the best—she’s earned it.”

When Swift’s PR person, Tree Paine, points out that she might receive some shit from Trump over all that, Swift responds with an impressive, “Fuck that, I don’t care.”

So there we have it—Swift’s politics are clear. After years of ominous silence, resulting in some on there right crowning her their Aryan princess, she got on that pedestal and yelled out loud, “Violence against women and LGBTQIA+ people is fucked up.”

And here’s the really cool thing—her dad needn’t have worried. As we said, this tour is breaking all of the records. Taylor Swift, left-wing politics and all, is a force of nature in every state. And the only people complaining are internet trolls.

Well—fuck them!

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