Here’s Proof Taylor Swift Really Is As Petty & Vindictive As We Thought
Taylor Swift’s team is notoriously litigious. Just last month, I had to cut a joke from my Halloween costume post because we didn’t want to receive a snippy retort from her camp for making false or exaggerated claims about her, even if they’re clearly in jest (it’s happened before). Now, do I think that Taylor obsessively reads my posts, biting her lip and imagining how handsome I am, only to get worked into a frothing rage when I make a joke about her spying on Beyoncé through the gaps in a bathroom stall? No, I don’t think that, but I can’t say for sure. The point is, don’t poke the bear.
But that’s exactly what one shitty blogger did, and now her site (which until now was basically nonexistent) is presumably enjoying an assload of traffic, thanks to a comically absurd post and an even comically-er absurd response by Taylor Swift’s lawyers. Writing at whatever the fuck PopFront is, blogger Meghan Herning tried to cash in on those sweet, sweet Nazi clicks with a post called “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor Swift subtly gets the lower case ‘kkk’ in formation with ‘Look What You Made me Do’.” Some lowlights, other than the headline itself which appears to have been written by Perd Hapley:
It’s a criminally long piece of analysis basically concluding that the lyrics to “LWYMMD” are a dog whistle for the white supremacist uprising, with the title in particular referring to the plight of disenfranchised whites: Things have gotten so bad for us white folks, apparently, that we have no choice but to march with tiki torches, run people over with cars and, uh, jerk off to Pepe memes on the internet, or something.
Now, that’s a rock-stupid thing to suggest; Taylor Swift is famously apolitical in public, and in private her politics are probably as benign, predictable, and disappointing as she is in bed. She’s a talented musician in her own right, but she’s not exactly the second coming of Marvin Gaye when it comes to social justice. But it’s not, like, illegal to arrive at that conclusion through a thorough (however misguided) piece of lyrical analysis, which is apparently news to Tay’s lawyers. She (or someone) was seemingly so incensed by a practically anonymous post on a blog read by no one that they reportedly sent a hilariously bad takedown letter. More lowlights:
That second bit is so petty that I won’t be convinced that Taylor didn’t write it herself with the aid of a friend who was thinking about going to law school at some point. It also, hilariously, tries to claim that the letter itself can’t be disseminated because it’s protected by copyright, which even as a non-lawyer I understand is not how things work.
More disturbingly (and why the ACLU had to intervene on Herning’s behalf), it’s an example of the treacherous environment the media occupies these days. Famously, Gawker Media was taken down by a lawsuit over publishing Hulk Hogan’s vile sex tape, which turned out to be bankrolled by an angry billionaire who didn’t like that they had outed him as gay years ago. There may have been a point in that case, but it set a dangerous precedent: If powerful people don’t like what you say about them (however valid it may be), they can and will use their resources and influence to silence those with less power.
That’s not a good way to live! What the law says you’re allowed to say is a lot more complicated than the “free speech” idiots make it seem, but generally speaking claims made in good faith, sincere editorializing/criticism and even hyperbolic comedy are considered safe and sacred. Or they were, anyway, until Taylor’s lawyers (or more disturbingly yet way funnier, Taylor herself) read some shitty blog and said, “Hey, it’s not fair that you’re saying this about her but not about literally everyone else.” Thankfully, she got shut up in a hurry. This time.
2017 is a literal hellscape of suffering, sadness, and the decline of America’s systems and institutions. But if it means Taylor Swift is going to have to awkwardly stand up and say she’s not a Nazi, I think it will all have been worth it. Goddamn it, “Nazi Taylor Swift” would have been such a great Halloween costume.
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