Taylor Swift refuses to get political? Good for her!
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Taylor Swift’s new album, “Reputation,” is on its way to setting sales records. So it’s a good time to slag the performer for being insufficiently politically correct, right?
Or, more precisely, for being insufficiently political.
The editors at the magazine Marie Claire think so:
“We’re still waiting for an explanation of Taylor Swift’s decision to remain apolitical during the 2016 election,” the editors tweeted on Tuesday, while posting a link to an article titled, “5 Things Taylor Swift Should have Addressed on ‘Reputation’ but Didn’t.”
The Marie Claire article does acknowledge that last November, a sweater-clad Swift did post an Instagram pic from a line at a polling place with the caption, “Today is the day, get out and VOTE,” but come on, right?
“Some people interpreted her sweater as confirmation that she was casting a vote for Hillary Clinton, but that’s a far cry from stating her political stance outright,” the article states. “Taylor is not required to be open about her politics, of course, but it’s also fair to question her decision to remain silent in what was a particularly contentious and consequential presidential battle.”
As former Reason scribe Charles Paul Freund was fond of saying, nothing bothered Soviet cultural commissars more than American pop tunes about puppy love and driving aimlessly around in cars. Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka were perceived as bigger threats to the USSR precisely because they represented a complete absence of revolutionary potential. In a society in which everything was about politics and ideology, the most revolutionary act was to simply ignore politics and ideology, if only for a few minutes.
And so it is in the contemporary United States, where, to paraphrase George W. Bush’s much-derided statement after the 9/11 attacks, you’re either with us or against us. For the entirety of the 21st century, it seems, more and more parts of our lives are being infected by partisanship of the dumbest and rankest form.
Marie Claire is hardly the only or even the worst outlet when it comes to insisting that Taylor Swift join the barricades or shut up, but it’s always worth pointing out that very few people want to live in a world where everything is drafted for political purposes. The Kiss Army is right to remain neutral.
One of the main reasons I fell in with libertarians is precisely because their vision of the world is predicated upon squeezing areas in which politics operates to its minimum so we can get on with living our lives. Even if we live to be 200 years old, life will always be too short to fight over which celebrity should vote for which candidate.
If a public figure wants to use her fame to advance this or that cause, issue, or candidate, more power to them. But as basketball legend Charles Barkley put it way, way back in 1993, “I am not a role model.” In many, perhaps most, ways the personal is the political, but not in the grim partisan way that the Marie Claires and the Breitbarts of the world seem to insist.
There is plenty to criticize Taylor Swift about. Marie Claire notes in passing, for one, that she tried to legally quash the speech of neo-Nazis who were claiming her as one of their own. And her decision to walk away from her fans by ditching Spotify, and her ditching of Tim Hiddleston come to mind.
But not being sufficiently partisan? Please.
That way madness, or at least bitterness, or Phil Ochs, lies.
Nick Gillespie is a contributing editor at Reason.com and editor-in-chief of Reason.tv.
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