Taylor Swift Is Not Your Friend
July 22, 2015 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Dayna Evans writes about Taylor Swift for Gawker: [T]he part of Taylor’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] she is a ruthless, publicly capitalist pop star. To think of her as womanhood incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about “Bad Blood” and “Better Than Revenge.” Swift isn’t here to help women—she’s here to make bank… Her plan—to be as famous and as rich as she can possibly be—is working, and by using other women as tools of her self-promotion, she is distilling feminism for her own benefit. posted by Going To Maine (180 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
The whole Nicki Minaj/Taylor Swift kerfuffle that erupted on Twitter amused me in that I read tweets from people who clearly didn't listen to either artist all of a sudden have Important Opinions. (Most of those people were dudes, natch.)
posted by Kitteh at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


So, in other words, she's the stereotypical successful celebrity?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dayna Evans writes about Taylor Swift for Gawker: [T]he part of Taylor’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] she is a ruthless, publicly capitalist pop star.

This is gonna be good. (Relatedly, my favorite listicle ever: "Hills to Die On, Ranked.")
posted by octobersurprise at 11:14 AM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe she's my friend and also wants to make a lot of money.

There's nothing wrong with women making money. I think more women should make it a priority.

When is all this "she's a big phony" stuff going to end? It's always reserved for women. I've never heard any male singers be called a phony or a fake. The last time a guy got called a phony was probably in Catcher in the Rye.
posted by discopolo at 11:17 AM on July 22, 2015 [106 favorites]


Get rich or die trying worked for 50 cent. Why should Swift be held to any other standard?
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2015 [23 favorites]


The whole Nicki Minaj/Taylor Swift kerfuffle that erupted on Twitter amused me in that I read tweets from people who clearly didn't listen to either artist all of a sudden have Important Opinions. (Most of those people were dudes, natch.)

Luckily(?) you don't need any familiarity with their music at all to see the racist, sexist baggage involved in (at least) the media coverage of that particular bullshit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


To think of her as womanhood incarnate

Have they SEEN Taylor Swift? That Kinda Rich Chick Who Went To Your High School Incarnate, maybe...

Why is making a ton of money a bad thing? It worked just fine for Nickelback, and Taylor Swift is way more likeable than those guys.
posted by St. Hubbins at 11:19 AM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've never heard any male singers be called a phony or a fake.

You've never been in a record store?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2015 [57 favorites]


Is it next to the comic book store? Yes? Yeah, not going.
posted by discopolo at 11:22 AM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


So let me get this straight. Giving $90 from her wallet to a fan on the street and telling her to go 'somewhere nice' after said fan said she was headed to Chipotle for a birthday dinner gets turned into: 'OMG Taylor Swift thinks a burrito costs $90 and BTW Chipotle is nice you elitist snob, thank you very much!'

Hmm.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:23 AM on July 22, 2015 [26 favorites]


Maybe she's my friend and also wants to make a lot of money.

There's nothing wrong with women making money. I think more women should make it a priority.

The article doesn't say there's anything wrong with Taylor Swift making money. It just says she isn't your friend.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:26 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Get rich or die trying worked for 50 cent.

50 Cent is alive and bankrupt and basically just testified in court that his life is a lie.
posted by Naberius at 11:26 AM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Get rich or die trying worked for 50 cent.

50 Cent is alive and bankrupt and basically just testified in court that his life is a lie


He also admitted to using bankruptcy as a means to reorganize his financial situation. Like Donald Trump does. Will 50 get called out? No. But he's using it as a tool.

I read an article a long time ago about how focused he was on keeping himself financially secure. He'd spoken about not wanting to be in Mike Tyson's situation (he'd bought Tyson's home, after all and that wasn't lost on him).
posted by discopolo at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Feel like the moral panic angle here is pretty unfortunate. She's a huge pop star. Of course she is out to make money. Something like Taylor Swift can't happen without a whole lot of people (herself included) being dedicated to making a lot of money.

Of course it kind of stinks if people try to dress the commerce up in aspirational clothing. But that doesn't mean she isn't basically nice, a good citizen, and a hard worker, in her role as mega-star, and as far as that goes. Those parts of her image don't have to be lies, just because she is trying to make bank.

More interesting to me is the planning of a massive Chinese tour that is called 1989 and headlined by "TS", backed by a huge line of 1989-branded merch. It's almost like she happens to be named "June Fourth."
posted by grobstein at 11:30 AM on July 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


I was just a wee lad in short pants at the time, but I half suspect that some of these are recycled articles about Madonna from 1984.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


discopolo: "When is all this "she's a big phony" stuff going to end? It's always reserved for women"

Drake.
Kanye West.
Nickleback.
Poison.
Avenged Sevenfold.
Smashmouth.

powers
onnnn and onnnn and onnnn. I mean, I don't even think that Swift is a fake anything, and that yeaaah, you can make super catchy music and not be personally invested in it, and issues of authenticity are Weird and Tricky, but pretty much everybody gets put under that poseur lens by people who don't like them, for whatever arbitrary reason.
posted by boo_radley at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


Wouldn't it be great if we expected men to be perfectly feminist just as much as we expect women to be?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:32 AM on July 22, 2015 [37 favorites]


I am usually pretty silent about my deep dislike of Swift, because it's based on things I do not (and should not!) have any right to demand from her, mostly that I fervently wish she would use her very loud voice to support issues that need a bigger audience and that she would use her insight and talent to record higher quality, less clichéd, deeper, more interesting music that pushes the cultural boundary just a liiiiittle harder. She doesn't owe me any of that so I don't usually complain about it.

But what this piece nails is that there are ways in which she uses her loud voice in one way while portraying her choices as the polar opposite. What she did last night to Nicki was not only ignorant and unnecessary, but also deeply hypocritical, considering the video Taylor *thought* Nicki was aiming at was Taylor's musical slap back at Katy Perry.

Maybe Taylor should collect some celebrity friends to teach her about intersectionality. And maybe next time she will pause to consider whether her words are doing helpful work or are impeding needed change.
posted by sallybrown at 11:33 AM on July 22, 2015 [25 favorites]


Boo_radley, I have never heard popular media insinuate they were fake or inauthentic as people Just people saying their music sucks.

I'm talking about the person being accused of being inauthentic by having a fake personality, not the music itself being inauthentic.

Kind of like getting accused of gold-digging.
posted by discopolo at 11:35 AM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


i mean, most people aren't my friend

they're just people

or is this more aimed at the caliber of individual who in decades past might have believed that Gilligan's Island was literally real and wrote and mailed angry letters to Thurston Howell about how he was such an elitist prick?
posted by indubitable at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Authenticity/inauthenticity is a oft-flung source of insult in the rap community and has been for a long time. Think of all the beefing around Puff Daddy - the 1995 Source awards, in particular. I can't link it right now but Questlove has some great writing on this.
posted by sallybrown at 11:39 AM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean, I do think there's a problem with the media holding up women to a higher standard in general, but at the same time, goddamn I hate Taylor's brand of #fffffeminism.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 11:39 AM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


discopolo: "Boo_radley, I have never heard popular media insinuate they were fake or inauthentic as people Just people saying their music sucks. "
It's exciting times for you that I've given you a few examples then, I bet.
posted by boo_radley at 11:40 AM on July 22, 2015 [19 favorites]


Authenticity aside, pandering to feminists is now highly profitable? That's very good news!
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:40 AM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's exciting times for you that I've given you a few examples then, I bet.

Gee, thanks. But again, no one accuses them of being inauthentic as part of their character, as people. Taylor Swift is gracious to another artist---"What a fake! She just pretends to be nice."
posted by discopolo at 11:42 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are plenty of examples of rappers who people claim are inauthentic because they aren't really from the "streets."
posted by smackfu at 11:44 AM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]




There are plenty of examples of rappers who people claim are inauthentic because they aren't really from the "streets."

True. I'm wrong.

Is that okay with you guys? I'm allowed to be mistaken sometimes? Yeah?
posted by discopolo at 11:46 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Evil" seems like a pretty hyperbolic term for what the article is describing, and I found the supposedly feminist angle -- you think she's being a nice feminist epitome of womanhood, but actually she's making money -- deeply irritating. What is so shocking about a woman using feminism, gasp, to her own benefit? I thought the point of feminism was to benefit women. If she was benefiting herself by harming other women, I could see the argument that it was unfeminist but the claim seems to be that she is not 100% Angel in the House altruistic about all the work she does connecting with her fans. It's news to me that feminism = doing things for free.
posted by Aravis76 at 11:46 AM on July 22, 2015 [37 favorites]


Models may be nice to look at, sure, but they don’t actually do anything, and when a ticket to see Taylor Swift perform can skyrocket into the hundreds of dollars,

As someone who has recently purchased Taylor Swift tickets, I'm laughing a little bit at the idea that they've "skyrocketed" to hundreds of dollars. Gone slightly up from face value? Maybe.

I posted few hundred words on /r/taylorswift about the Nicki Minaj thing earlier today, which I won't repeat here, but while it doesn't affect my fondness for Taylor much, I think she could have behaved much better. Taylor has a real weakness for seeing only "women tearing down women" in interactions like that and it doesn't work to her advantage here. The result is that she winds up talking over a black woman in the name of feminism, which is unsurprising, but obviously deeply problematic. On the other, Taylor has only recently come to understand feminism, really, so I think there's a chance she can improve on these issues. (We just need to find her a black friend to be the Lena Dunham of intersectionality for her)

As to the main article, I guess I don't really see the point? No one thinks Taylor Swift is actually their friend because they went to a concert, even if the "you have to like me, you have to want to spend time with me"* bit works REALLY well in an arena full of screaming fans. No (adult) Taylor Swift fan doesn't realize she's out to make money. The reviews of the 1989 tour are fawning in part because that's the nature of pop music reporting and in part because it's actually a really good show. References to her "collecting" friends seem like projecting, given that I (and the writer) have no idea how good of friends Taylor is with any of these people. There's a lot of venom in the article on that point (calling it "evil") without much support.

*Which, by the way, are PERFECTLY good criteria for friendship, especially when talking to a room with a bunch of teenagers who probably each have ten "friends" who don't meet either one.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:47 AM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wait. Wait. Wait. First off: somebody please give me a good reason to click on a Gawker link, particularly a post that is explicitly about tearing someone down.

Seriously. I dare you. I'm calling you out. This is your challenge. Whatever motivates you to give me a serious answer. Explain to me why I should give a damn about Gawker's views on anything. And yes, there are non-Gawker links in this overall post, but the post leads with Gawker, so WTF?

Secondly: Every single fucking time someone tells me something bad about Taylor Swift in particular, I have invariably wound up with a lower opinion of the critic, while my opinions on Swift either remain the same or become even more positive.

Every once in a while, I'm left thinking that ad hominem isn't always a logical fallacy...because fuck Gawker.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:48 AM on July 22, 2015 [19 favorites]


Also: I read Nicki Minaj's tweet stream re: VMAs. I'm not a huge fan of her work, but I love her advocacy and all that, and...and there's just no reason to believe that Swift shouldn't have believed that Minaj was complaining about her. That was my immediate reaction, and Minaj's denials were entirely disingenuous. And I'm bothered that I even have an opinion about the whole freakin' thing.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe the problem is the deeply creepy idea that Taylor Swift is or could be your friend?

1989 is a great album. I enjoy listening to it. That is the extent of my relationship to Taylor Swift. I'm going to bet that is the extent of your relationship to her as well: she's a musician and you listen to her music, and maybe go to her shows.

Unless you actually know her, she's not your friend, she's just an entertainer. It's bizarre and weird to me that anyone would think otherwise.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe the problem is the deeply creepy idea that Taylor Swift is or could be your friend?

It's a fun and generally entirely self-aware game. It's much less creepy than the relationship of most obsessive male rock fans with their idols.

We play at being friends with the public persona that pop stars offer us. Just like we play at moral judgement of the characters in soap operas. A few people get weird about it, but a few people get weird about everything.
posted by howfar at 11:53 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm going to bet that is the extent of your relationship to her as well: she's a musician and you listen to her music, and maybe go to her shows.

And follow her on Twitter, and watch the videos she puts up (which aren't music videos), and talk about her on discussion boards, and so on. It's a different world than the 90's.
posted by smackfu at 11:55 AM on July 22, 2015


ails is that there are ways in which she uses her loud voice in one way while portraying her choices as the polar opposite. What she did last night to Nicki was not only ignorant and unnecessary, but also deeply hypocritical, considering the video Taylor *thought* Nicki was aiming at was Taylor's musical slap back at Katy Perry.


She shouldnt have said anything, true. Though judging from Minaj's favorites and retweets, it seems like there was gaslighting going on. Clearly Minaj wasn't talking about Beyoncé as the other nominee. I'd have been hurt if I knew Minaj personally, loved and promoted her music. I think It's understandable that Swift thought it was a personal attack on her being deserving of anything she's worked for.

sangermaine, nobody seriously believes swift is their friend Unless they're getting an invite to have pasta at her house.


Also, is BBHMM not eligible for this year?
posted by discopolo at 11:55 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


do you guys not get those invites
posted by cortex at 11:57 AM on July 22, 2015 [30 favorites]


Wait. Wait. Wait. First off: somebody please give me a good reason to click on a Gawker link, particularly a post that is explicitly about tearing someone down.

It's my post, so I guess I can answer. I thought Dayna Evans had an interesting take - one that, to me, was a bit more about criticizing the way the media has generally failed to interrogate Taylor Swift's image than it was about blaming Taylor Swift for being a bad businesswoman. It smacks a bit of "Get off my lawn" - Evans explicitly acknowledges that in general she prefers "solidarity feminism" to "bestie feminism" - but I thought it was good enough to put here on MetaFilter.

Gawker has done lots of terrible things and will do many terrible ones more. If you don't want to click on the link, don't.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think the vast majority of her fans actually think Taylor Swift is their friend, but she makes them feel like they COULD be, and the belief that you're worthy of friendship from someone you think is cool and fun means a lot to a ton of people, especially but not exclusively girls and young women.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


Taylor Swift is not your friend

Errbody's my friend, unless they are trying to swipe my cookies.

That said, she's near the top of a pile of people who are distinguished for their singleminded obsession with fame and fortune; it would be surprising if she were not similarly obsessed.
posted by Mooski at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2015


do you guys not get those invites

If you so much as get to play with Swift's cats before me, cortex, there will be tears here. Mine. So many tears.
posted by discopolo at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


They'all just rel jel, god forbid she competes & succeeds. Why shouldn't she climb to the top and plant her flag there. You go tay-tay.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:03 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


1989 is a great album. I enjoy listening to it. That is the extent of my relationship to Taylor Swift. I'm going to bet that is the extent of your relationship to her as well: she's a musician and you listen to her music, and maybe go to her shows.

Eh, the thing is, while I don't believe Taylor Swift is my friend, the idea that you're all friends is part of the concert experience. Someone described the Red Tour as feeling like a slumber party with your best friend Taylor Swift, and 1989 is similar. The thing is, while that feeling is real, no one thinks it's a real friendship. It's like feeling like you know characters from a TV show or believe magic tricks are real or something.

It's also true that she does interact with her fans online in ways that, no don't make her their friends, but she sends them gifts and notes and stuff, which means some of her fans have a connection beyond simply buying albums and going to shows.

I'm also working on a theory that Taylor is actually an alien being that requires our love and approval to stay alive, like the ending of an especially maudlin Doctor Who.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:03 PM on July 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


Errbody's my friend, unless they are trying to swipe my cookies.

Taylor is an avid baker, so she's actually a cookie source. Update your friend books accordingly.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Has spotify/Google been dumping wads of cash outside Gawker's offices?
posted by lilburne at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


She shouldnt have said anything, true. Though judging from Minaj's favorites and retweets, it seems like there was gaslighting going on. Clearly Minaj wasn't talking about Beyoncé as the other nominee.

But Minaj never said "the other nominee" wasn't deserving. She said videos celebrating the form of a thin white woman will get awards but the same sort of song about a black woman doesn't. If someone assumes only one of those two can possibly deserve a spot in a five-nominee slate, that's not on her.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Why 1989? I haven't even figured out what Janet Jackson was doing with 1812 yet, and now this.
posted by thelonius at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, Piers Morgan is on Taylor's side, at least.

Taylor was promptly eaten alive on social media by the self-styled ‘Black Twitter’ – a very large, vocal and aggressive social media group of mainly black Americans who collectively leap on any perceived racial insult or bias to expel their indignation.

Eloquence worthy of the Daily Mail.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why 1989? I haven't even figured out what Janet Jackson was doing with 1812 yet, and now this.
posted by thelonius at 3:05 PM on July 22


Is this just a joke? It's the year Taylor was born.

I attended one of the DC shows with a person who shares her birth year and the guy carding her for Miller Lite said "Hey! The same year as Taylor Swift!" A funny side effect of that is that now a gruff old man who sells beers at Nationals Stadium knows a fairly unimportant piece of Taylor Swift trivia.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wait. Wait. Wait. First off: somebody please give me a good reason to click on a Gawker link, particularly a post that is explicitly about tearing someone down.

Gawker: not even once.
posted by gyc at 12:12 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have never heard popular media insinuate they were fake or inauthentic.

I've been following pop music for 30 years. Take my word for it: name a performer who's gotten huge—Bono, for example—and there will have been some music mag calling him or her "phony" or a "fake" or saying they "lack soul" or whatevs. It's true that these charges have more often been leveled at specifically pop performers and there's definitely a gendered aspect to the charge. At what point in her career hasn't Madonna been called a phony? OTOH, it's an accusation that was frequently hurled at Bowie, too.

It's all absurd, of course, so much so that it's a staple cliche of bad music criticism. Sangermaine gets it exactly right "Maybe the problem is the deeply creepy idea that Taylor Swift is or could be your friend?" (And I don't have any reason to believe that it isn't a pretty small number of fans who really believe that Swift is their friend.)

I have always been struck by how people generally don't have any trouble accepting that actors pretend for money but accepting the same about musical performers is so much more fraught.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Going to Maine: My commentary wasn't intended as a personal attack, which is a very silly thing to say as I can see that it clearly, justifiably can be taken that way. I apologize. In my head I was doing that thing where you just throw thoughts out onto the Internet, and I figured any number of people might answer or it might go completely ignored. Regardless, again, I'm sorry.

...not sorry for my hatred of Gawker, though, but that's not on you...
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:15 PM on July 22, 2015


Has spotify/Google been dumping wads of cash outside Gawker's offices?

Probably just trying to get someone else into the outrage spotlight.
posted by zabuni at 12:16 PM on July 22, 2015


But she never said "the other nominee" wasn't deserving. She said videos celebrating the form of a thin white woman will get awards but the same sort of song about a black woman doesn't. If someone assumes only one of those two can possibly deserve a spot in a five-nominee slate, that's not on her.

And Taylor is a thin white woman whose BB music video has a bunch of thin people in it. And there's tons of media coverage on Taylor being skinny with skinny friends and her skinny ppl music video. Minaj was also favoriting tweets that were bashing Swift's nomination.

When I first read it, I thought she was aiming it at Taylor. But I was wrong, Swift was wrong. She clearly misunderstood, and is getting beaten for it, which, knowing how Swift doesnt engage, she'll handle just fine. She's probably been apologizing for hours.

People can be wrong. Though it made Minaj, rightfully, angry if she wasn't shading Swift. I'm sure it will all get worked out.

.
posted by discopolo at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


critiquing how the nominations shook out, even if one of your comments might can maybe apply to one artist is still not attacking that artist. nicki minaj was very clearly attacking mtv directly and broadly attacking the larger culture that takes from black women but doesn't reward them for that work. for taylor swift to snipe back at nicki minaj in the way she did was absurd - and to have it described as gaslighting here? equally absurd.

this is a perfect distillation of "white people benefit from white supremacy" being answered with "i'm not racist!!" it's just so off topic and a master class in missing the point.
posted by nadawi at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2015 [42 favorites]


Dylan's gone electric. What a phony.
posted by Elmore at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


So perhaps I am missing something here or am unaware of some american cultural thing (only been here for 15 yrs or so), but as long as she does not eat babies and kittens for breakfast or is a completely indefensible asshat, why is this a bad thing?
posted by ding-dong at 12:25 PM on July 22, 2015


When I first read it, I thought she was aiming it at Taylor. But I was wrong, Swift was wrong.

Has Minaj said anything to the effect of "I can see how Swift took it that way?" 'cause I stopped following shortly after it started making headlines, but Minaj's tweets sure as hell looked like a lot of passive-aggressive BS aimed pretty squarely at Swift to me.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2015


So eating puppies for breakfast is acceptable? Monster.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2015


She may not be authentic but she certainly knows about infosec.
posted by charred husk at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


Hell, when I grew up we called Whitesnake "Whitefake". Don't even get me started on Warrant.
posted by Ambient Echo at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


> why is this a bad thing?

Misogyny. I mean, people dump on male entertainers (#yesallNicklebacks) all the time, but to have Every. Little. Thing about her persona, motivations, image, etc. dissected in such minute detail...this is generally not something men are subjected to or have to worry about.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


MeFi's own: Taylor Swift.

Seriously, though, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around why there is a critique of her persona and, on the other side, why she gets Bonus Points for being a shrewd businessperson.

Like what is it about Swift that moves her out of the value-neutral category? Can't she just exist as an entertainer?
posted by Tevin at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2015



this is a perfect distillation of "white people benefit from white supremacy" being answered with "i'm not racist!!" it's just so off topic and a master class in missing the point.


I don't disagree with you. But I didn't think it was very clear at all because I followed back starting from Swift's response. It's Twitter. It depends what direction you read in chronologically.

Has Minaj said anything to the effect of "I can see how Swift took it that way?" 'cause I stopped following shortly after it started making headlines, but Minaj's tweets sure as hell looked like a lot of passive-aggressive BS aimed pretty squarely at Swift to me.

It can be read that way, but I realized I'd missed a crucial tweet about Minaj referencing if a woman had done the "same" video. She wasn't talking about Swift's video being the same as hers.

It took me awhile to wrap my head around it, but made sense when I read that tweet. Though She really lit into Taylor Swift after Swift's tweet.
posted by discopolo at 12:32 PM on July 22, 2015


Bruce Springsteen. The big faker.
posted by howfar at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2015


Someone who truly believes and seeks to promote the idea that "women tearing other women down" is always harmful could have (a) not responded (let the tweet stand or fall on its own rather than be a woman criticizing another women); (b) retweeted it with a note informing her followers that Minaj was making a point and it was something to consider (again, uplifting another woman's argument rather than tearing it down); or (c) talked to "friend" Minaj offline to see what the issue is.

The problem is that Swift uses "women shouldn't tear other women down" as a way to dodge criticism and then goes ahead and tears other women down. I don't even think she is correct that women should never harshly criticize each other, but she uses it as a shield and has been for a while (Amy and Tina called her on it a few years back).

And the standalone Minaj tweet Taylor retweeted said nothing to limit the artists responsible for the videos Minaj was talking about. It applies to "Blurred Lines" and "7/11" and "Genie in a Bottle" and 1,000 other music videos just as easily as it applies to "Bad Blood."
posted by sallybrown at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


You know, when my daughter was just barely a teenager, she was listening to a song that went, 'In your life you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team.'

So Taylor Swift is a big phony who wrote that shitty pop song just to trick me into forking over a buck for the MP3. But you know what? The joke is on her, because her song isn't NEARLY as shitty as the stuff I paid way more than that to listen to when I was barely a teenager. I was a KISS fan at that age, so I listened to a lot of songs about getting wasted and having sex with underage groupies. Later I lived through Foreigner, Phil Collins, Madonna, and some other stuff that I forget, all of which was indisputable tripe, generated for no reason except to collect money from people with shitty taste. Most of those performers still enjoy lifestyles that would embarrass most of the emperors, pharaohs, and sultans of history, and if you accused any of them of being out to make money they would laugh at you like you were stupid. But Taylor Swift? You know what makes her stand out from the crowd? SHE'S NOT MY FRIEND.

Anybody who thinks Taylor Swift is remarkable for her desire to make money, or for the low quality of her contributions to popular music, is somebody who is probably not qualified to write about any of those topics.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hell, when I grew up we called Whitesnake "Whitefake". Don't even get me started on Warrant.

If you wanna get into kpop, there was the infamous Tablo clusterfuck, where a bunch of Korean netizens became convinced that Tablo aka Daniel Lee was lying about having graduated from Stanford and proceeded to make his life a living hell trying to prove it. Of all the hills to die on...
posted by imnotasquirrel at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Saying that this happens to all musicians? Well, like, it's popular to hate Nickelback, but nobody talks like that's something that's actually important for people who don't care to suddenly care about. Liking them gets you, like, mild ribbing. Criticism like this implies that I should care about this even if I don't normally follow stuff about pop stars. It says this should mean something about feminism to me, because Taylor Swift acts like a capitalist, despite the fact that the publication in question is not normally against capitalism. I'm sure Swift isn't a perfect feminist role model. Neither is Nicki Minaj. Or Beyonce. For women who have to combine "being human" and "being a pop star", I think they're all doing pretty well, but not perfectly. Criticism of their level of feminism or whatever from people who don't care about the feminist cred of all the other pop stars?

No, I don't believe it's genuine. It's Gawker trying to get clicks out of a thing that happened that they weren't actually a part of, which is to say, they're accusing her of caring about nothing but self-promotion... for the purposes of self-promotion. It's trashing her for making money so they can make money. And that, I think, would not be a successful strategy if Swift was a man.
posted by Sequence at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's Twitter. It depends what direction you read in chronologically.

i was on twitter reading along from minaj's first tweets, before swift jumped in. it seemed clear at the time that minaj wasn't calling out performers who were women, but rather videos that celebrated skinny women. even if someone wanted to take it to only mean this year instead of a repeated institutional problem, taylor swift's video isn't the only one on the list that qualifies as "[celebrat[ing] women with very slim bodies." and even if taylor swift's video was the only one that had skinny women in it, nicki minaj still can't be seen as trashing her because unless t.swift has more power than we know, she didn't decide on the nominations.
posted by nadawi at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Someone who truly believes and seeks to promote the idea that "women tearing other women down" is always harmful could have (a) not responded (let the tweet stand or fall on its own rather than be a woman criticizing another women); (b) retweeted it with a note informing her followers that Minaj was making a point and it was something to consider (again, uplifting another woman's argument rather than tearing it down); or (c) talked to "friend" Minaj offline to see what the issue is.

The problem is that Swift uses "women shouldn't tear other women down" as a way to dodge criticism and then goes ahead and tears other women down. I don't even think she is correct that women should never harshly criticize each other, but she uses it as a shield and has been for a while (Amy and Tina called her on it a few years back).


so Taylor should shut up when another woman hurts her feelings or undermines her arena tour because supporting other women means not saying anything when someone you trust decides to hurt you? Gosh.

I love Amy more than Tina, but shaming Taylor at a televised event, for dating and having boyfriends and then expecting her to not say she was hurt and upset about it?

I think it's brave of her to say she was hurt. I know we're all supposed to be cool and made of steel, but yes, people have feelings. But people also get over stuff. I know Amy said she felt bad if Swift's feelings got hurt, suggesting that it's actually understandable.
posted by discopolo at 12:47 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nicki got flak for Tidal because Tidal sucks.
posted by reiichiroh at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


...how did nicki minaj undermine taylor swift's tour? and yeah, part of being an intersectional feminist (which taylor swift should absolutely seek out some conversations about) is realizing that as white women using our hurt feelings to try to shame a black woman discussing structural racist issues has a long and ugly history and we should learn to sit with our hurt feelings for a minute and figure out if we're even striking out at the right target (which swift wasn't, so...)
posted by nadawi at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2015 [18 favorites]


I think we can all agree that it's the Ed Sheeren video that needs to go, right? I mean if you can only have five nominees, Anaconda does need to be there, Nicki's right, but it's not replacing Bad Blood or Uptown Funk, and it's probably not replacing 7/11 or Alright.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Comment removed; if you're frustrated with folks' disagreements, that's okay, but please don't get into sarcastic/accusatory exchanges about it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2015



...how did nicki minaj undermine taylor swift's tour


I was talking about Katy Perry undermining Taylor's Red tour by poaching dancers halfway through.
posted by discopolo at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2015


I also think the comparison to Madonna is off. Madonna was raked over the coals because of, but also hugely profited from, her image as a transgressive woman who crossed all boundaries and was willing to break all the rules. The fearmongering was that this was a loose woman idol who was going to lead all our girls astray and get them doing dirty sex things and skipping church.

Taylor Swift has crafted an image of a "good" girl -- I don't mean polite, more like kind to everyone, friends with everyone, not a "mean girl." Part of her image is that of a figure trying to help other girls be "good" in this way -- instead of fighting, join forces! Look, we could be fighting over a boy and instead we're baking together! But she slyly used this mantle to really slam other women once in a long while, and it pays off even more, because if the non-mean girl is meangirling you then girl you must have done something really bad (i.e. "You deserve to be meangirled, Katy Perry"). I'm sure even THIS is part of the manufactured image, because even the good-est good girl has her own moments like this. What I question about Swift is, if you're pretending to be honest and open about everything, why not be honest about that rather than pretend it's never okay to dig into another woman? And, perhaps more importantly, is it harmless to place such a high value on getting along, on SUPERFICIAL solidarity that does not extend to weightier, meatier issues? Should the good girl in this mold be satisfied enough to pat herself on the back for baking cookies with another girl and maybe talking about Gloria Steinem's awesomeness, when your sisters are marching in the streets for higher minimum wage and an end to police brutality?

If anything, Swift is closer to Beyoncé, although the latter's image is one of supreme individual perfection rather than solidarity and harmony. For a long time, both sought to model behaviors that were purely admirable, not transgressive. And while Beyoncé could be more of an activist also, she at least did something really interesting and somewhat transgressive with "Beyoncé" (the album): she said "I, your perfect Queen Beyoncé, am a woman, a wife, a mother, and a healthy sexual being as much as any man is, and all of that is great and worth celebrating."

If anything, Minaj, whose video ushered in the Year of the Ass, is closer to Madonna than Swift is.
posted by sallybrown at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2015 [20 favorites]


I am so appalled at the way the media's been reporting on the Twitter argument between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. The language is all coded so aggressively and is pretty disgusting: Minaj "attacked" her, "lit into" her, "took aim" at her, "hated on" her. I see a lot of that language in this thread, too, and it makes me sad. Whether you read her initial comment as a passive-aggressive call-out or not (I certainly don't - Swift inserted herself into that situation 100% by my read), there is just no way that anything Minaj said has risen to this level of invective. So I hope we can please be careful about the language we use to talk about Black women "attacking" white women because it's pretty problematic.

I think we can all agree that it's the Ed Sheeren video that needs to go, right?

YES EXACTLY! It's tantamount to a crime that his profoundly terrible video has escaped all criticism in this discussion thus far.
posted by dialetheia at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


ed sheeran's video is another that absolutely celebrates a certain frame of woman (and the one that seems utterly out of place).
posted by nadawi at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Discopolo - Swift is the one who claims women shouldn't tear down other women. I disagree with that -- immensely. But if she's going to insist other people live up to it, she should be held to that standard also.
posted by sallybrown at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Discopolo - Swift is the one who claims women shouldn't tear down other women. I disagree with that -- immensely. But if she's going to insist other people live up to it, she should be held to that standard also.

Okay. That seems pretty sound in theory.

Nadawi, I almost wrote "poaching demons" in my response to you and didn't think twice. I think it's time I have lunch.

(fwiw, I don't think you guys are wrong, sallybrown and nadawi. I certainly see your point of view, and I hope you guys know that.)
posted by discopolo at 12:59 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, I don't believe it's genuine. It's Gawker trying to get clicks out of a thing that happened that they weren't actually a part of ...

I hear Nick Denton is going to hire Chris Ott to write about music and feminism.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:00 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bruce Springsteen. The big faker.

Born in the U.S.A.? Show me the long-form birth certificate.
posted by The World Famous at 1:02 PM on July 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


Taylor Swift was nice to my son once. She let him play with her bubble gun once. He had no idea who she was - just that she had a bubble gun and, well, bubbles. I do believe she's very intentional with her image. I think the creation of this image probably helped her play bubbles with my son (and not mind that we took pictures and posted them online). She's a brand and I think sallybrown's analysis of TSwift to be spot on.
posted by Stynxno at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Two Questions:

1.) Is Taylor Swift pretending to be nicer than she actually is in order to make lots and lots of money?

2.) If she is, in light of our recent discussions about how emotional labor is deserving of compensation, shouldn't the feminist position be that we should find this laudable?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:25 PM on July 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


2.) If she is, in light of our recent discussions about how emotional labor is deserving of compensation, shouldn't the feminist position be that we should find this laudable?

I think the question is whether or not people believe that they are buying that sentiment. If yes, then yes. If no, then no. The central question posed by the article is really how Taylor's fans (of all ages) feel about the relationship, and I'd love to read something that hits that.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:29 PM on July 22, 2015


To me, if the answer to (1) is yes (and I would guess it is, but I don't know her and thus can never know), what she "deserves" is fair compensation for that work, not necessarily more plaudits in the sense of positive moral judgment (that's how I read "laudable").

Perhaps you could say, instead, that part of Swift's genius (and her image crafting is genius, imo) is finding a way to profit from emotional labor.
posted by sallybrown at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2015


The thing is, even if Taylor Swift is our friend, we hate it when our friends become successful. If we can destroy them, you bet your life we will destroy them. If we can hurt them, well, we may well. It's really laughable.
posted by The World Famous at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


1.) Is Taylor Swift pretending to be nicer than she actually is in order to make lots and lots of money?

This is an impossible question to answer, obviously, but the consensus of the fans who've met her through things like meet and greets after shows or when she invited people to her houses to listen to 1989 is that she's very nice and it comes across as genuine.*That said, I suspect she's not as nice as her media image, because who is and who would want to be, but that she's actually pretty nice.

*There's a few stories that she was stuck up in school, but god if the people I knew in school could remember me as merely stuck up, rather than "stuck up despite the fact that he's wearing a homemade X-Files t-shirt," I'd be happy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:34 PM on July 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


The thing is, even if Taylor Swift is our friend, we hate it when our friends become successful. If we can destroy them, you bet your life we will destroy them. If we can hurt them, well, we may well. It's really laughable.

Do people truly feel this way about their friends? (Real friends, not frenemies.) I love seeing my friends succeed. Hell, if they succeed wildly enough I can quit my job and babysit their vacation houses for a living.
posted by sallybrown at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't think it's emotional labour in this context. I think the question is more "how nice is she really?" and therefore "is she being two-faced and manipulative?"

I'm already clearly on team taylor, but she seems more or less genuine AND strategic. Nice AND business. I couldn't see a true ice queen faking it that successfully for that long.

Whatevs. Call me tay, I'm down for brunch.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do people truly feel this way about their friends?

At least one guy does.
posted by cortex at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Honestly, it would be just about perfect as a Taylor Swift song.
posted by The World Famous at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2015


Do people truly feel this way about their friends?

"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."
— Gore Vidal.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on July 22, 2015


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Taylor Swift is not feminism.
posted by New England Cultist at 1:58 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find her writings on computer security more insightful than her pop lyrics.
posted by acb at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Maybe the problem is the deeply creepy idea that Taylor Swift is or could be your friend?

I've never been invested in the fantasy of popstar as my friend either, but it's such a tremendously commonplace marketing conceit, played out in the same hackneyed ways over and over, that it must strike a real chord with a predictable segment of the audience. I'm having lurid flashbacks to Teen Magazine-esque profiles of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany that were in a similar vein.

I don't particularly enjoy this sort of pop music and I don't really have a strong opinion about Taylor Swift, personally or professionally, but the "Taylor Swift has No Concept of Money" piece is a dumb, misogynistic, mean-spirited little thing.
posted by desuetude at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."
— Gore Vidal.


I don't think his idea of friendship is very healthy. And different people have different ideas of what constitutes friendship. Some people are pretty casual about it. I'm pretty serious about it. And I do a lot for my friends and they do a lot for me in a variety of ways. There's lots of mutual love, affection, emotion there, and history.

Meanwhile, I had a boss who called this one guy a friend of his, but turned out he met the guy exactly once in his life, didn't know his last name, and they talked about hockey.

But to each their own.
posted by discopolo at 2:03 PM on July 22, 2015


I've never been invested in the fantasy of popstar as my friend either, but it's such a tremendously commonplace marketing conceit, played out in the same hackneyed ways over and over, that it must strike a real chord with a predictable segment of the audience.

I think it's basically like the idea that the movie star could be your boy/girlfriend. The fact that it's fun to imagine it that way doesn't mean you need to be told that they aren't really.
posted by Sequence at 2:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think his idea of friendship is very healthy.

As fun as it is to quote Morrissey lyrics and Gore Vidal, I agree that one seeking healthy relationships would be well advised to avoid those two sources of wisdom.
posted by The World Famous at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's Gawker trying to get clicks out of a thing that happened that they weren't actually a part of, which is to say, they're accusing her of caring about nothing but self-promotion... for the purposes of self-promotion. It's trashing her for making money so they can make money.

Yes, exactly. In fact, the original quoted paragraph would work well as a generic criticism of any rich public person.

[T]he part of ____’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] he/she/it is a ruthless, publicly capitalist ____ ____. To think of him/her/it as ____ incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about “____” and “____.” He/she/it isn’t here to help ____— he/she/it’s here to make bank… Her/his/its plan—to be as famous and as rich as he/she/it can possibly be—is working, and by using other ____ as tools of his/her/its self-promotion, he/she/it is distilling ____ism for his/her/its own benefit.

Fill in the blanks with anything or anyone you think has money disproportionate with the value you derive from them. For example:

[T]he part of Gawker’s persona that doesn’t get talked about enough [is that] it is a ruthless, publicly capitalist blog. To think of it as truth incarnate is to trick oneself into forgetting about everything they do to make money. It isn’t here to help uncover truth— it’s here to make bank… Its plan—to be as famous and as rich as it can possibly be—is working, and by using other famous people as tools of its self-promotion, it is distilling others' fame for its own benefit.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


The idea that a celebrity you don't know or that you've met a couple of times is your friend is absurd in the first place.

I've never heard any male singers be called a phony or a fake.

And that's fine. You're obviously not familiar with large parts of pop music history and the pattern of innovation followed by imitators. The imitators (and innovators from time to time), regardless of their sex, were and are, regularly called phonies or fakes. I've never seen anyone murdered, but I know it happens.
posted by juiceCake at 2:09 PM on July 22, 2015



I think it's basically like the idea that the movie star could be your boy/girlfriend. The fact that it's fun to imagine it that way doesn't mean you need to be told that they aren't really.


You know, I just remembered that Swift has a 24/7 security team housed ion the same for as her NYC penthouse because she apparently routinely gets those crazy letters from nuts. I remember her saying in that "$90 for The fan to go someplace other than chipotle" article that she regularly gets letters from weird guys who want to kidnap her and chain her up in their basement. So she has basically not been left alone in years. (Based on the messages women get on dating apps, I can imagine the crazy letters/stuff she and her fellow celebs get are so, so much worse.)

So maybe some people do need to be told that she doesn't mean you should expect her individualized attention or invites to her house, just to be extra careful. Shudder.
posted by discopolo at 2:24 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is this just a joke? It's [1989] the year Taylor was born.

And I'm....supposed to know that?
posted by thelonius at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2015



And that's fine. You're obviously not familiar with large parts of pop music history and the pattern of innovation followed by imitators. The imitators (and innovators from time to time), regardless of their sex, were and are, regularly called phonies or fakes. I've never seen anyone murdered, but I know it happens.


Yes, I forgot about that and the accusations of fakeness in hip hop. And I hope neither of us ever see murder.

I'm not even sure I'm interpreting the accusations of her being fake, etc. correctly, to be perfectly honest. I was slow on the uptake as to what Minaj was talking about. Clearly didn't get it, but see it now.
posted by discopolo at 2:49 PM on July 22, 2015


Is this just a joke? It's [1989] the year Taylor was born.

And I'm....supposed to know that?


It's not even right. Bob and Kurt started the company in 1974.
posted by The World Famous at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have shown Swift performing in my art classes, I think she is a great role model for young people, confident, able, skilled, and you don't get the feeling she will be taken advantage of by an agent, or die a squalid, sad, death of surfeit. I have never even read Gawker, except for today.
posted by Oyéah at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, but performance is just that - a performance. From every indication I'm aware of, she actually is confident, skilled, etc. in real life, too. But the fact that someone comes across that way in their performance is an indicator only that they are good at performing that particular character, not that they're that way when they're outside the spotlight.

Taylor Swift appears from all accounts to be a rare performer who possesses some of the same admirable traits in real life as she portrays as part of her performed persona. But who knows? Stars are so tightly-managed that it's entirely possible that even the "real" star is part of the managed character. Is the friction between her and other celebrities even real, or is that a performance, too? We'll probably have to wait 20 years for the tell-all blog or whatever to find out even a little glimpse of reality.
posted by The World Famous at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm almost certain Taylor doesn't spend ALL of her time thinking about the acquisition of Fame and Money and More Fame and More Money. Probably only 50% tops. Maybe not even that. The rest of the time she's chillaxing with her besties in a pool filled with champagne and supermodels, same as regular folks who own Oculus Rifts.
posted by Sparx at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2015


You guys need to read some Miles Mathis. Taylor Swift is illuminati. <----- that is a .pdf
posted by bukvich at 3:31 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


While I recognize that the Famous Women Fighting in Public aspect of this is the worst and shallowest angle on this, I couldn't help but whisper "Shots fired!" to myself when I saw that Katy Perry has weighed in.
posted by Copronymus at 3:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


You guys need to read some Miles Mathis. Taylor Swift is illuminati.

Tell me the Truth, does Ms. Swift have a Boat?
posted by otherchaz at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2015


Copronymus, Im not sure Minaj wants the support from the Queen of Cultural Appropriation Katy Perry.

Perry tried to explain the reasoning behind her images to Rolling Stone: “As far as the mummy thing, I based it on plastic surgery. Look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Ice-T's wife, Coco. Those girls aren’t African American. But it’s actually a representation of our culture wanting to be plastic, and that’s why there’s bandages and it’s mummies. I thought that would really correlate well together ... It came from an honest place. If there was any inkling of anything bad, then it wouldn’t be there, because I’m very sensitive to people.”
posted by discopolo at 3:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think Katy Perry is so much supporting Nicki Minaj as she is taking a swipe at Taylor Swift.
posted by angeline at 3:42 PM on July 22, 2015


There's definitely nothing there about Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry is more clueless on racial issues than Taylor, so that just seems like taking advantage.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:46 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's definitely nothing there about Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry is more clueless on racial issues than Taylor, so that just seems like taking advantage.

I can see Nicki looking at her phone and that tweet from Perry, and being like,"What the hell is happening here?"
posted by discopolo at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2015


this whole thing reminded me of a friend's recent tweet:

Is [pop star] a feminist? Is MasterCard a queer ally? Is this tv show my friend?
posted by p3on at 4:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


As beefs were an integral part to some of the best hip hop ever made, I can only hope that Minaj, Perry and Taylor are all pushed to new levels by their feud.

Nah, who'm I kiddin', Nicki'd eat the faces off of either of them — one of the tragedies of her career is that she so swiftly (no pun intended) and thoroughly dealt with the women who beefed with her that she has no real competition. She needs, like, Lamar or Weezy beefs to keep her fed. Swift's not even Wings b-sides.
posted by klangklangston at 4:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hell, when I grew up we called Whitesnake "Whitefake". Don't even get me started on Warrant.
posted by Ambient Echo at 5:29 on July 23


I know you said not to get you started but I have to know what you called Warrant. The best I can come up with is "More like Faux-rant!"

Also I'm kind of reeling from the news that Taylor isn't my friend, this is the biggest shock I've had since I saw the guy from Vampire Weekend in Trader Joe's and he acted like he didn't even know me even though his CD liner notes specifically thanked everyone who listened. Everyone, Helen.
posted by No-sword at 4:46 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm wrong, as usual. Apparently Nicki favorited Katy's subtweet at Swift.

Katy, who said to Rolling Stone when asked about complaints re her incessant appropriation of black culture and any other culture she was marginally aware existed, "I guess I’ll just stick to baseball and hot dogs, and that’s it," she told the magazine. “I know that’s a quote that’s gonna come to f--k me in the ass, but can’t you appreciate a culture? I guess, like, everybody has to stay in their lane? I don’t know.”

Alright-y then.
posted by discopolo at 4:49 PM on July 22, 2015


I really find these kind of articles repulsive; articles that target one of the most successful celebrities of the moment and unjustifiably take a hot, steamy, shit all over her not because they have any sort of original or thoughtful point to make, but only so the author/publisher can glom onto the celebrity's fame in order to get pageviews and notoriety through manufactured controversy.

Really, I'm supposed to be shocked and outraged that a commercial pop artist is primarily interested in making money? Next thing you know they'll be telling me Judd Apatow is primarily interested in having people pay to see his movies in the theater or that JK Rowling is a fan of people buying her books and selling the movie rights.
posted by The Gooch at 5:52 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, I don't know, there are a ton of people that are always shocked anytime a celebrity has views that disagree with theirs (see "But how can Adam Baldwin be an asshole, he was on Firefly?!") and finding out Taylor Swift is ruthless and intelligent rather than a hardcore feminist activist that agrees with everything they say on Twitter/Tumblr may genuinely rattle the naive. Personally I think a woman openly defying men and empowering herself through the stereotypes and images to make shitloads of money and have a blast is pretty subversive but obviously not everyone agrees.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:03 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


while i congratulate taylor swift on her success i'm not sure becoming extraordinarily rich is 'subversive'
posted by p3on at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


while i congratulate taylor swift on her success i'm not sure becoming extraordinarily rich is 'subversive'

When you're talking about a woman or a minority, wealth accumulation is very much a subversive act.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:42 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


imnotasquirrel, I just followed the Tablo reference down the rabbit hole and holy shit. It definitely makes US pop crazy look mild.
posted by tavella at 6:43 PM on July 22, 2015


I am still on a fangirl high from Taylor having Andreja Pejic strut down her stage's runway Sunday night at Soldier Field, and you can't bring me down, Gawker.
posted by LindsayIrene at 6:44 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


The thing that annoys me about Taylor Swift is about what sallybrown said: supposedly she has the image of a "nice girl" but really acts like a Mean Girl. I am so sick of all of her damn vengeance songs, I just keep thinking, as Edie McClurg said once upon a time, "Mm mm mm, what a little asshole." Also, at some point you're contributing to the problem yourself, honey. I rather like "Blank Space" because it seems like she's for once calling herself out on her own shit, but who knows with her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:04 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


When you're talking about a woman or a minority, wealth accumulation is very much a subversive act.

i guess i feel uncomfortable with this because it feels like it reflects a broader assumption of neoliberal logic by the left as progressive. economic injustice isn't properly addressed by a handful of millionaire individuals that belong to subaltern classes but we spend such an inordinate amount of time picking over them and holding them up as subversive that it seems to miss the forest for the trees to me.
posted by p3on at 7:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


She saved my life in Nam.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't Nam. There are rules.
posted by The World Famous at 7:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


>And Taylor is a thin white woman whose BB music video has a bunch of thin people in it. And there's tons of media coverage on Taylor being skinny with skinny friends and her skinny ppl music video. Minaj was also favoriting tweets that were bashing Swift's nomination.

When I first read it, I thought she was aiming it at Taylor. But I was wrong, Swift was wrong. She clearly misunderstood, and is getting beaten for it, which, knowing how Swift doesnt engage, she'll handle just fine. She's probably been apologizing for hours.


Yout referring to her by her first name actually just convinced me of TFA's position!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Katy Perry tweet was not just another pop star using someone else's feud to siphon off attention for herself. That was long-waited for vengeance for Swift's "Bad Blood" video, a revenge song very obviously portrayed as being about Katy Perry (for being a "mean girl" to Swift). Perry's tweet was saying "funny how you're deploying this argument as you profit (hugely) from a song that contradicts it."

That Katy Perry is a cultural appropriator in the extreme doesn't discredit that tweet. And as for Minaj liking it...the enemy of your enemy is your friend, at least temporarily. Twitter war is hell.
posted by sallybrown at 8:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I tried to read that Gawker article but I got a couple hundred words in, saw how much more there was, and walked away.

I haven't listened to much Taylor Swift but honestly, I respect her. She is an actual songwriter and businesswoman. She plans her own tours. She keeps her clothes on. She grew up a celebrity and never had a crazy phase. She doesn't curse in her songs AFAIK. And she seems like a decent person - she loves on her fans like few others I can think of. She adores her mother. I don't know. I feel like there's a weird Taylor Swift backlash going on just because she's popular and having a moment, so clearly it's time to tear her down.

The thing with Nicki Minaj was self-inflicted but that makes me think she really runs her own Twitter, which makes her more endearing IMHO. I think she might actually be a real person who makes mistakes and not a pretty song-generating robot. No, she's not my friend. But if she was, I think I'd be pretty happy about that.
posted by kat518 at 8:28 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


>She keeps her clothes on.

Ah, nice--slut-shaming! Swift would be proud (see #3).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


She keeps her clothes on.

Sorry, you don't know what you're talking about. but I guarantee you'd be disappointed with Taylor. She walked around in a crop top with a dominatrix whip during a song in her concert on her tour, and it was sexy and meant to be so.

You are not going to like her Bad Blood costumes, if you understand them. she literally rented them from sex shops. Oh, and she kept a bunch of them. Scandalous, right?

Btw, she has sex. With men.

Sorry not sorry to burst your bubble.
posted by discopolo at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, people dump on male entertainers (#yesallNicklebacks) all the time, but to have Every. Little. Thing about her persona, motivations, image, etc. dissected in such minute detail...this is generally not something men are subjected to or have to worry about.

We've already had a similar claim debunked in this thread but this is going to get trotted out with absolutely no supporting evidence?

I have always been struck by how people generally don't have any trouble accepting that actors pretend for money but accepting the same about musical performers is so much more fraught.

I've done some thinking about this. Musicians seem to own their characters more than actors do. Same goes for TV opinion makers. I think it has something to do with the way songs and political opinions are sold as "authentic."
posted by Maugrim at 8:41 PM on July 22, 2015


Actors break character. Musicians don't.

That's why.

But of course you're right: pop musicians are absolutely actors.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe more to the point:

While both actors and musicians craft their images carefully, actors don't pretend in their daily lives to be the characters they play on screen, whereas musicians' images and the characters they play on stage and in videos are rarely separable and distinct.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:52 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, nice--slut-shaming!

Ouch. I was referring to the recent discovery that she does in fact have a belly button. I like to think that if my mom was still alive, she and I could talk about Taylor Swift. If one of my cousins' kids or my goddaughter said they liked Taylor Swift, I'd think, right on, I can get behind that. It doesn't really burst my bubble to know that she has sex with men. I mean, I do too. Just hope she's having fun.
posted by kat518 at 8:55 PM on July 22, 2015


>whereas musicians' images and the characters they play on stage and in videos are rarely separable and distinct.

Really depends on the musician and genre, I think. For example, hip hop and pop are more about characters than indie and rock, at least at the moment.
posted by Maugrim at 8:56 PM on July 22, 2015


Really depends on the musician and genre, I think. For example, hip hop and pop are more about characters than indie and rock, at least at the moment.

I'm just talking about pop (although I consider hip-hop, indie--as it is circa 2015, at least--and rock to be pop).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:03 PM on July 22, 2015


Men are never called phony? Just look at this brutal takedown of Chris Pratt's persona!
posted by susoka at 9:18 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I really find these kind of articles repulsive; articles that target one of the most successful celebrities of the moment and unjustifiably take a hot, steamy, shit all over her not because they have any sort of original or thoughtful point to make, but only so the author/publisher can glom onto the celebrity's fame in order to get pageviews and notoriety through manufactured controversy."

But it doesn't take a shit on her, it points out that she's a canny person who is conscious of what she's communicating, that she wants to be rich, and that while she employs a common media strategy of encouraging an impossible impression of intimacy, she's not your friend. She can be a decent person who is still not acting in your interest, and that's a basic implied precept of friendship — something that's conspicuously absent in her criteria for friendship. Everyone acts to their own interest to some extent, and that's a fundamental part of liberalism. She should act in her own interest. But her interest is not necessarily my interest, and her interests are not necessarily the interests of a lot of other people who identify as feminists. That, combined with the disproportionate power that she has to enforce her interests upon me when they conflict, makes it important to remember the giant gap in any "brand's" proffer of friendship.

I can enjoy someone's music without being their friend — the same principle behind liking someone's music despite them being an asshole — and part of music criticism as cultural criticism is reminding music critics that presenting yourself in writing as a friend of Swift's is not something that's justifiable outside of a particular emotional narrative that serves her interests more than yours. She gets paid when I listen to her; she doesn't pay me to listen to her.

What's a little frustrating about this conversation is that it's one that we've been having at least since the Beatles. Aren't they lovable scamps in Hard Day's Night? Didn't throngs of young women literally throw themselves at them? The Rolling Stones were more brazenly rapacious, but Gimme Shelter is still one of the primary pop lenses for "the '60s" as an era. By weight, half of all articles about the Clash and punk are fixated on that same question of whether their leftist politics are being co-opted; punk should probably be dated from the first "Punk is Dead" article that complained about selling out. Yes, Led Zeppelin can authentically address your lemon problems. Yes, Led Zeppelin will gladly use their disproportionate power to fuck over black songwriters while clawing out every cent of licensing revenue possible. And yes, writing about it is one of the tools we have to talk about behavior norms and disproportionate power.
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 PM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


and you can't bring me down, Gawker.

OMG, did you just quote Suicidal Tendencies?

So fake. Just like those fakers.

I bet Mike didn't even really want a Pepsi. Dude probably drinks Coke.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


"When you're talking about a woman or a minority, wealth accumulation is very much a subversive act."

Aww, bullshit. First, #NotAllShetterly but wealth is an intersectional privilege — a force multiplier. Poptimism isn't just moar sugar plz but also being willing to treat pop as a serious, worthy of the sort of scrutiny that "serious" music has claimed forever (and rockism supports).

How is it subversive? It shows that women and minorities can succeed in the current economic system and thus earn conspicuous consumption? That miracles do happen, that the realities of populations, systems and statistics don't apply to individuals! Tools, master's house, etc.

It's not subversive, but it does serve to make the system more democratic, more just, and more open than it is without women or minorities. Saying that wealth accumulation is very much a subversive act is confusing Jesse Owens with Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Taylor Swift is not a radical. She seems like a pretty smart early-20s woman with the economic power of a small city, but her getting rich doesn't weaken capitalism and the extent to which it weakens sexism is by challenging the distaff role through her accumulated power. Subversion is almost certainly happening the other way — capitalism is subverting the social justice positions of people like Taylor Swift rather than the other way around (just like it subverted every pop rebellion ever).
posted by klangklangston at 10:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't really have the energy to continue reading this thread, I just want to say that Tay Tay (we're besties) is pretty awesome and I wish I could go see the show.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I bet Mike didn't even really want a Pepsi. Dude probably drinks Coke.

His mom's car has an ST sticker on the back window (or did years ago, anyway). I'm not even kidding.
posted by The World Famous at 11:59 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bad Blood isn't even a good video. It's a bunch of 5 second cameo shots of various models/actresses in fetish wear. And Kendrick Lamar.
posted by PenDevil at 12:36 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bad Blood is *hilarious*. Which is surely the point.
posted by pharm at 12:57 AM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I bet Mike didn't even really want a Pepsi. Dude probably drinks Coke.

Didn't he just get hit by a car, anyway?
posted by LindsayIrene at 4:37 AM on July 23, 2015


She keeps her clothes on.

From the Jezebel piece: "Most of her costumes on a curvy black woman would be viewed as aggressively lascivious; on Swift, lingerie is almost businesslike. When she came out in a white two-piece and black garters, the golf-clapping bro in the row in front of me briefly, respectably, averted his eyes."

I think it's worth considering how perceptions of "keeping one's clothes on" are shaped by body type, race, etc.
posted by naoko at 8:52 AM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Ah, nice--slut-shaming! Swift would be proud (see #3).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:33 PM on July 22


An article that's still dredging up the "I'll tell mine your gay"* line from "Picture to Burn" which hasn't even been in the song since god only knows when? I mean yes if you go back to songs she wrote when she was a teenager, there's a few problematic things, but bringing it up now just seems like a hatchet job.

*Eliding the fact that the "fuck you for telling your friends I'm crazy" sentiment is an early example of her feminism, too.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Taylor Swift has apologized to Nicki Minaj, FWIW.
posted by Andrhia at 9:32 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


i was frustrated with how taylor swift came at nicki minaj, but that right there is a classy apology. nicki minaj has accepted the apology. i imagine we'll get some shots of them hugging and giggling at the vmas.
posted by nadawi at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


i imagine we'll get some shots of them hugging and giggling at the vmas.

Why wait?
posted by The Gooch at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2015


In my ideal world, they'd quickly re-do a version of Bad Blood (one that didn't kind of suck) and jointly surprise perform it at the VMAs.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


How did I not know that existed? I like both of them (and Super Bass is a fantastic song, obviously), but Speak Now era Taylor with her cute little dresses and inspirational sayings written on her arms, singing even a very tame by her standards Nicki Minaj song is really weird.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Having said that, she apparently really liked the song.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:02 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like that apology, and I continue to like Taylor Swift -- can we have more pop stars like her, please, music industry? -- even if she's not my friend.

Also, her apology shows signs of wisdom, which makes me think that, due to her already good INT and CHA scores, a high level bard character is not out of the question for her.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wow, I have never more in my life wanted to play a D&D campaign where every player character must be based on a female pop star.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Dibs playing as Rihanna!
posted by sallybrown at 11:59 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Rihanna = Monk
Kesha = Barbarian
Katy Perry = Cleric
Taylor Swift = Bard
Lady Gaga = Druid
posted by Pendragon at 12:07 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Shake it off
posted by w0mbat at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


2010s Britney Spears = Ranger
2010s Madonna = Wizard
Beyonce = Sorcerer
Demi Lovato = Rogue
Pink = Fighter

(This is taking "MetaFilter discussions often feel very specific to my interests" to a really great place.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:31 PM on July 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Personally I'd peg Beyonce as a Warlord (or I guess a Fighter-Battlemaster in 5e), Gaga as a Wizard (I was going to say Sorcerer but her look is nothing if not carefully studied... plus if she specialized in Necromancy she'd be able to raise an army of "monsters"), and Grimes as a Druid (or Fka Twigs, or Imogen Heap if those are too alt-y for this campaign). I'd also give Ri-ri a martial class that can use melee weapons since you know, chains and whips excite her. And judging purely on the strength of her hair toss, I'd make Ariana Grande a Ranger.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ke$ha as Barbarian is literally perfect tho'. Also I think Missy Elliott's credentials as a trippy monk-style mystic martial artist are immediately apparent from any one of her excellent videos.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:10 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


This thread has gone through a lot of changes
posted by Going To Maine at 1:42 PM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just want her to do a duets album with Lea DeLaria is all
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damn it, Ranger Ariana Grande was the PERFECT Ranger I couldn't come up with.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Azealia Banks is whatever they call a battlemage in D&D.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:00 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


But what D&D class is Mylie?
posted by drezdn at 2:01 PM on July 23, 2015


Miley is most certainly some sort of thief/trickster.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:07 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Best of the Web.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:58 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And now I'm wondering what class Lorde is...
posted by pxe2000 at 5:18 PM on July 23, 2015


Sophomore.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:19 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sometimes not bothering to catch back up with the thread is best.
posted by charred husk at 5:20 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Rihanna = Monk"

Psh, nah. She's your chaotic, whip-weilding summoner type.
posted by klangklangston at 5:49 PM on July 23, 2015


Shake it off

Check out this fantastic cover of the song by the Screaming Females.
posted by anothermug at 8:13 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just the thought of that raw, surging power makes me wonder why the hell I should care.

Sideshow Bob
posted by Redhush at 5:19 PM on July 25, 2015


This author did not get the memo that in 21st Century America narcissism and greed are virtues.
posted by Jode at 3:52 AM on July 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


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