I’m constantly doing it.
This week, I’m feeling pretty good about her.
But let’s rewind. Full disclosure. I used to be envious (even as a grown woman), of Taylor Swift. I mean, when I was her age, I would have given anything to be making records and enjoying the career and attention she’s enjoying. No matter that I was a sucky songwriter back then and I wanted to come home every night to my cat. But I’m all good now—glad I got that out of the way.
Seems like Taylor is the longest reigning proverbial it-girl, pop-star royalty and an outstanding songwriter (although “Look What You Made Me Do" was as ridiculous as “Call It What You Want” is stunning). That said, I’ve had trouble buying into the idea that she is what she’s presented herself as: the oddball who doesn’t fit in, The Victim, the role model. Maybe these are the girls Taylor would like to be because their identities and perspectives are useful songwriting fodder if there ever was songwriting fodder. But it doesn’t matter what I think. I wish for all young people an inspiring role model to usher them through their youth. It makes growing up a lot easier and if they found one in her (I believe my daughter is one of them), I get it.
So there’s that.
In 2014 when the tastemaker pulled her catalog from Spotify* pushing back on their ad-supported free tier she was my hero. As a result, 1989 went certified platinum (one million in sales) in a week — if fans wanted to hear it, they had to buy it as there was no RIAA benchmark yet for digital platinum. Now I admit I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist (convinced that the guy who drives around in the supermarket parking lot offering to fix the scrapes on my car is the guy who put them there in the first place), but I couldn’t help but wonder if ‘overnight’ holy grail platinum was part of the calculation. And I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
Similarly, in 2015 she threatened to pull her songs from Apple Music* in response to their 3 month trial period in which creators wouldn’t be fairly compensated. Another heroic move. Apple turned things around pretty quickly. Whatever her motives, pure or mixed, she brought the conversation of these inequities into the zeitgeist. And we have her to thank for that.
I rallied with Taylor when she sued the radio host who “reached up under my skirt and grabbed my ass right when I was having to pose for a photo.” She gave young women the courage to speak out about their own experiences with sexual misconduct. But then — Swifties are gonna hate on me for this — a (catty) friend of mine showed me the actual photo of the moment in question, (a photo which Taylor didn’t want to see surface), and if I were on that jury I’m sorry to say I’d be conflicted. (And yes, I believed Dr. Ford.)
So it’s been a bit of a roller coaster for me.
But here we are. October 2018.
Last week over 100,000 eighteen year olds registered to vote because Taylor Swift came out politically on Instagram. No surprise I’m kinda digging her again.
….in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.
So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
What took so long? I know the answer. In general, celebrities hesitate to take sides (about anything) because of the backlash from sponsors and fans. Umm, the Dixie Chicks 2003 debacle comes to mind. But loyal fans and new ones alike are cheering Taylor’s post. What changed since the Dixie Chicks? Has she reached the level of superstardom where she’s bulletproof? Let’s face it. Even if Taylor Swift lost half her following she’d still be on top.
Outspoken music industry critic Bob Lefsetz loves to tear Taylor down. But he digs her this week too. As much as he drives me crazy sometimes, flip-flopping depending on the current pop-culture algorithms, we’re together on this. Well, almost. In his opinion Taylor is doing what’s good for business. I sincerely hope she didn’t share that post because it’s “good for business” but because she’s growing up and feels the need to stand up for what she cares about — whatever it is she cares about — because it matters. It matters as much as the music. Who knows. She mighta turned Tennessee blue. (There’s a song title). I’m hoping she realizes what a difference she can make on top of that massive platform. In those 9” heels. It’s about doing the right thing. And though the right thing never pleases everyone, we do it anyway. That’s what growing up is.
My dear lawyer friend Chet, by the way, urged (and convinced) me not to post a more lengthy piece I had written about the alleged butt-grabbing incident. And I didn’t. He made me nervous — the backlash, trollers and haters. I know — hypocrisy dripping all over this blog.
Anyway, I’m now one of Taylor’s 112 million followers on Amsterdam. I mean Instagram. She follows nobody, not even Lena Dunham! That’s quite a follower/following ratio. Hmm. Whatever. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. Like Diane Warren’s song, “It all means nothing if you don’t stand up for something.”
I’d like to give Taylor a big hug. But if she reads this that’s prolly the last thing she’ll want from me. :( Fair enough. #Respect. That’s how I feel this week. I hope it lasts.
*I’m pleased to report that after 2 years of conversation, songwriters and digital music services have had a meeting of the minds. The Music Modernization Act was passed and we’re looking forward to working together in peace for many years to come.