Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rock on, Taylor!

Some bizarre and contradictory scenes played out in the media last week.

We have Taylor Swift posting a political message to Instagram - something she rarely does:

And then we have Kanye West in the Oval Office - transcript here:

What first struck me was the blatant double standards at work in the highly-charged world today

When Taylor Swift posted her thoughts on Instagram, an angry hornet swarm of indignation buzzed into being.
“Why should the world care what a singer thinks?”
“What does she know about politics?”
“What gives her the right to voice an opinion?”
The implication is - you have no right to post this, shut up!

Let’s step past the obvious absurdity of these comments in the first place. Instagram is a social media site, along with many others. Millions of people post their thoughts to these sites every day. Who cares what you ate for breakfast? Nobody? Fair enough, but nobody castigates you for posting it. If you don’t care, shrug shoulders and move on.

The subtext seems to be, becoming a successful musician somehow cancels your right to a voice like the rest of the population.

The double standard comes into play with the sub-subtext - you’re not allowed to post something I disagree with. That same furious horde was strangely silent when Kanye West monologued in praise of Donald Trump.
Who’s he? A rapper.
Political qualifications? Zilch.
Equivalent condemnation on publicly voicing an opinion just because he’s an entertainment celebrity?

Then we come to the content of their respective messages

Kanye West expressed outright and unequivocal support for Donald Trump. The message was exclusively partisan. That is his right.

In comparison, Taylor Swift did express her values and who she would be supporting in her state in the mid-terms, and she articulated her reasons clearly and succinctly. That is her right.

But beyond that, she didn’t exhort her followers to support Democrat candidates or to share her political beliefs. This was simply the lead-in to the real thrust of her post, which was an entirely non-partisan exhortation to educate yourself and vote accordingly. And, importantly, to make sure you actually do register and vote.

Why that message should attract such vitriolic condemnation escapes me.

To put it bluntly, if you have a problem with Taylor Swift’s post, then you appear to have a problem with the very foundation of democratic elections


  1. Well said! That is the norm today - if you don't agree, raise a fit. Or those who don't agree with a view are just wrong.
    State your opinion without condemning.

  2. Hi Ian - I haven't been following the 'tirades' ... but sort of had the gist - I really don't like the vitriol that seems to be expounded today. Well written ... I just try and ignore - have a good week - cheers Hilary

  3. Alex, sadly that has been a problem for many years but (in my Uni days) at least it was confined to a handful of far left activists. Now it's become the mainstream norm :(

    Hilary, the world has become an ugly place, sadly.

  4. I just shrug and say - 'Only in America.' Perhaps Taylor Swift is a political animal. Whatever. We do still believe in free speech, don't we? Even Donald Trump looked a bit bemused by Kanye West flapping his gums. I didn't think it helped Trump much at all...

  5. Denise, I actually have a sneaking feeling that Kanye West had one or two good points to make, but they were lost in his rambling and rather incoherent delivery. But anything that keeps Trump quiet for even ten minutes is a good thing in my books :)

  6. I don't even try to figure it out any more. The lack of civility in public discourse has gotten beyond disgusting. Too many people seem to have the attitude that only their own opinion has any merit, and anyone who disagrees isn't only wrong... they're evil. But I must agree with you that anything that keeps POTUS quiet for ten minutes is a good thing. I blame much of the intolerance and downright rudeness on his (lack of) leadership.

  7. Susan, the lack of civility makes me sick, but sadly that has become a deliberate weapon on both sides :(

  8. I do my best to avoid reading comments, but when I get sucked into that void, I leave feeling sick and wondering why I've joined the dregs of the online society!

    Thanks for visiting my blog--so nice to see you again! :D

  9. Elizabeth, there are many news topics now where I steer clear of the comments, because it sickens me to see how uninformed many people are, but who still feel compelled to shout their views to the world :(

  10. An unattributed comment that comes to mind is:
    Opinions are like ass-holes everybody has one.

    Whose Kanye West? I thought that was a brand of underwear...

    Have fun!

  11. Len, opinions are fine, it's the personal attacks that aren't IMO. But then, look at the example the country's "leaders" set - political campaigns focus less and less on what the candidates believe in and propose to do by way of positive change, and more and more on tearing down the competition. Spiteful put-downs have become the accepted norm.


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