TAYLOR SWIFT IS REAL
Well, it took us awhile to realize it
THE ABSURD TIMES
Well, the writer said “feel free to share,” so that’s what I’m doing. I have to confess that I am not a fan of Pop (if that is what it is), but she does have a good voice and had her own quarrel with Spotify (and that was another thing I thought she did well), I’ll tell you about my own battle or grudge another time, but here is Dean’s description:
She's too big to boycott
I am becoming a Swiftie. For those unaware of the term “Swiftie,” it’s the name given to the throngs of people who are fans of the massively popular singer/songwriter Taylor Swift. But in my case, I’m on Team Taylor more for her activism and recent words to her fans about the dangers posed by today’s GOP than her music. (Although I do enjoy some of her songs as well!)
The latest example of Swift’s activism came Friday when she told the nearly 64,000 people who packed Chicago’s Soldier Field stadium for her concert: “First things first, Happy Pride Month, everyone.” Swift—who is in the midst of her record breaking, sold out “The Eras Tour,” told the Swifties that her LGBTQ fans are “the most stunning, beautiful, brilliant crowds of people who are living their authentic lives.”
The 12-time Grammy award winner told the audience that while this concert is a “safe space” for the LGBTQ community—which elicited huge applause— she then added bluntly, “We can’t talk about pride without talking about pain.” Swift explained, “Right now and recently there have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ+ and queer community at risk.” She continued, “It’s painful for everyone. Every ally. Every loved one. Every person in these communities.”
In normal times that would be a nice gesture, but not controversial. But these are not normal times. As I wrote about a few days ago, the apparent goal of the right is to erase the LGBTQ community from society— from a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills being championed by the GOP to popular conservative pundits seeking to make anything LGBTQ related “toxic.”
For example, right-wing commentator Matt Walsh recently wrote on Twitter, “The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic for brands,” adding, “If they decide to shove this garbage in our face, they should know that they’ll pay a price.” That same sentiment was expressed by right wing podcaster Michael Knowles—who until recently co-hosted a podcast with GOP Senator Ted Cruz—that “we need to make that symbol toxic, the pride flag symbol, we need to make that toxic. We need to have companies think twice about it.”
I believe that the right’s success in overturning Roe v. Wade after 50 years of trying has embolden them to believe they can roll back progress in other areas as well. And while the right’s boycott of Target for the store’s Pride display got press, they have been organizing boycotts of any corporation that dares embrace Pride month from Kohl’s to North Face.
If they are successful, the right’s efforts will not end with targeting the LGBTQ community. I can assure you the right will come for any and every company that embraces any type of diversity or inclusion programs. Indeed we are seeing that now as they just started to do to Chick-fil-A for doing just that. (And Ron DeSantis recently signed a law defunding such programs in Florida’s public colleges and universities.) Today’s GOP views equality as oppression.
That is why Swift’s is the GOP’s worst nightmare. She is too big to fail—in a good way. The GOP can call for boycotts of her but that won’t work. Swift is massively popular in both blue and red states. Just this past weekend, her three sold out shows in Chicago saw more than 190,000 people attend. And last month— in the very red state of Tennessee—Swift set a new record with three sold out shows at Nissan Stadium--with approximately 71,000 attending each show for a total of roughly 212,000 people. (For context, Donald Trump’s much hyped first 2024 campaign rally held in Texas saw an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 per the local fire commissioner—although the exact number was unknown.)
Swift is 100 percent correct when she said that there are “so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ+ and queer community at risk.” We are seeing a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced and enacted in GOP controlled states. The legislation ranges from laws banning gender affirming care for transgender teens to banning books in school that touch on the LGBTQ experience to--as the ACLU has documented—measures designed “to undermine and weaken nondiscrimination laws by allowing employers, businesses, and even hospitals to turn away LGBTQ people or refuse them equal treatment.”
To be clear, Friday’s concert was far the first time Swift has publicly supported the LGBTQ community. In June 2019, she marked Pride month by creating a petition at Change.org urging passage of The Equality Act—which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That same month she also released a video for her hit song, “You Need To Calm Down,” which featured many famous members of the LGBTQ community like Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, Adam Lambert and others. And when she received an award at the MTV Music Awards later in 2019, she publicly urged her fans to support The Equality Act by signing the petition she had created to ensure that “we’re all treated equally under the law.”
But today’s climate feels more toxic and dangerous than in 2019. That may explain why Swift did more than just offer support for the LGBTQ community but called on her Swifties to impact electoral politics. Swift explained, “We can support as much as we want during Pride Month. But if we’re not doing our research on these elected officials — are they actually advocates? Are they allies? Are they protectors of equality? Do I want to vote for them?”
In Swift’s 2014 hit song, “Shake it Off,” the megastar sung about how, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” and in response, “I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake…I shake it off.” This time Swift wants her fans to more than just “shake it off.” She wants them to vote, vote, vote out the haters. Given the size of her fan base, the Swifties have the power to do just that. And the best part is that the GOP is powerless to stop her.
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