Everyone Please Be Less Weird About Taylor Swift. Please.
From conspiracy theories to creepy comments about the pop star's womb, it's a good time to dial down the weirdness a bit.
Hey all, Parker here.
With the Kansas City Chiefs headed to the Super Bowl, right-wing influencers, politicians, and ne'er-do-wells have worked themselves up into a conspiratorial lather with theories involving Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, the COVID-19 vaccine, Taylor Swift, and Joe Biden. It’s all pretty ridiculous.1 How ridiculous, you ask? CNN investigative reporter Andy Kaczynski tweeted that it “is some of the most poison-brained stuff I’ve seen on this website.” Yowza. That’s a high bar!
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But I don’t really want to talk about that today. Others have written about it, and the people slinging those theories are mostly hungry for attention, anyway.
But just… for a moment… let’s… let’s talk about… this…
Okay, so that’s New York Times columnist Ross Douthat making a little joke in which he (correctly) frames group B as people who absolutely shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of power in this or any country. For a moment, though, let’s look at group A: people who think Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are “a sweet thing to watch and maybe the last best hope for America, we need them to marry and procreate.”
First five words? Great. Perfect. Fine. Whatever. Next eight words? Getting just a bit weird. Final seven words? Ross, wtf, go to your room! Stop being weird about whether other people get married or have kids. Jesus, dude.
It was less than a month ago that Steven Hyden wrote his “Can We As A Culture Resolve To Be More Normal About Taylor Swift In 2024?” column, and dammit, Ross, you’ve proven to me that the answer is “no.” *sigh*has more on these weirdos being weird:
There’s another Swift-related story I didn’t get a chance to talk about last week: the AI porn stuff!
In case you missed it, last week, nonconsensual and sexually explicit computer-generated images of Taylor Swift went viral on Twitter last week. According to a report from The Verge, some of the top examples “attracted more than 45 million views, 24,000 reposts, and hundreds of thousands of likes and bookmarks before the verified user who shared the images had their account suspended for violating platform policy,” with it taking roughly 17 hours before any action was taken. That’s… not great!
404 Media has a great piece about what those images are (fully computer-generated, not deepfakes — there’s a difference), where they came from (they were being discussed on a Telegram channel prior to being posted to Twitter), and more. Go check it out. Later, they followed up with a story explaining that Microsoft had closed the loophole that allowed these images to be created in the first place.
And look, I think there are two important points that need to be made:
The first being that celebrities are human beings, and we all need to recalibrate how the internet has changed how we interact with people we don’t personally know.athas a smart piece about celebrity culture that’s worth a read:
And this, fromat(excellent name for a newsletter, btw) is another piece I’ve been chewing on for the past day or so that feels relevant here:
The second point is that none of this will remain relegated to the “big-name” celebrities of the world, either. As this post atexplains, that this kind of stuff can and will come for a lot of people, none of whom will have Swift’s fame or fortune to protect them (and what good fame and fortune did to prevent this from happening in the first place, anyway?). It’s not good.
Anyway, here’s a clip from when Travis Kelce hosted SNL (it was good!):
That’s it for me today. I hope you’re all doing well.