I’m going to take a wild stab at this and say that Taylor Swift isn’t exactly thrilled that she has become the focus of yet another controversy completely unrelated to anything she’s done or said herself. First, it was the “why hasn’t Taylor Swift given a public dissertation on her political views” social media outrage. Now, it’s the singer finding herself being compared unfavorably to great female heroines of world history.
It started when a Twitter user and apparent TSwift fan named “Nutella” posted an image from her smash hit song “Look What You Made Me Do” with the following challenge:
“Name a b**ch badder than Taylor Swift”
It’s fair to assume that Nutella was probably intending this to be focused on other pop culture icons like Beyonce, Rhianna, Miley Cyrus, or Adele. That didn’t happen. Instead it became an online slaughter of Swift’s contributions to the world versus some of the great titans of women’s history. For instance:
- @goldengateblond: At 15, @Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for insisting that girls had the right to an education. At 17, she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in history. At 18, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.
- @jimgeraghty: Julia Child joined the OSS during World War Two, worked directly for Wild Bill Donovan, developed shark repellant, earned the Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Service for her work at in Chunking, China, THEN mastered French cuisine and became America’s most famous chef.
- @cjane87: As a child, Harriet Tubman had her skull crushed in by a slave owner, was left w/o medical attention for 2 days, + then was returned to working the fields. She went on to rescue dozens of slaves + be the first woman to lead an armed assault during the CW.
- @benshapiro: Susan B. Anthony was a leading anti-slavery crusader and worked with Harriet Tubman on the underground railroad. She founded the National Women Suffrage Association and was prosecuted for attempting to vote.
Brutal, particularly since Taylor Swift never compared herself to any of those women, and probably holds each in high regard. If anything, this is a commentary on the state of pop culture’s perspective and self-awareness. So many, as exemplified in jarring detail on social media, lack any substantial or significant historical cognizance or appreciation for events occurring outside the bubble of American entertainment.
That’s why stories about professional athletes and movie stars are more important to us than potential nuclear war with North Korea. It’s why there are actual classes on Beyonce being offered in college course catalogues. It’s why we have a reality TV star elected president after eight years of a celebrity-in-chief.
None of that is Taylor Swift’s fault, of course. But maybe her recent Twitter roasting should serve as a wake up call to a generation of Americans suffering a toxic inebriation of entertainment obsession.
There are more important, more significant things in this world, and they deserve more attention than they currently receive.