I’m going to assume — given lead time for comic strips — that this Taylor Swift reference in Brewster Rockit (Tribune) is coincidental, but it fits well with the sudden explosion of geezers discovering the existence of someone who has been a major phenomenon for a decade and a half.
And it fits particularly well with someone on social media who sniffed that she is no Stevie Nicks, because my reaction to that is that, if you mention Stevie Nicks to a Swiftie, they might well ask “Who’s he?”
Nothing against Nicks, mind you, but my goo’ness gracious, the woman is 75 years old, which makes her older than Taylor Swift’s parents. I found her age in Wikipedia, which also reported that, in 2011, “Nicks promoted the (In Your Dreams) album with appearances on various television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The X Factor, The Talk, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dancing with the Stars.”
Not likely to reach a lot of 14-year-olds.
And, as I noted last week, when my nephrologist cited Jimmy Buffett to a classroom of med students, none of them had heard of him.
You’ve gotta move fast to stay up-to-date in pop music. I have the advantage of having edited a team of young writers, among them several Swifties, but most them weren’t born in 2000, when this Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet, ran.
As both Dylan and Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back.”
The kids I worked with are out of high school now, some are out of college and I’m not sure how many are members of the UAW, but not only is Clay Jones right that Taylor would have given that picket line one helluva boost, but I’m betting a lot of the strikers have heard of her through their kids, if not on their own.
As Jones said in his column, “If you don’t know who Taylor Swift is by now, go back under your rock.” Even if you don’t listen to her music, you should know that she’s a major moneymaker for concert venues and surrounding cities, and that her ticket sales volume exploded Ticketmaster, revealing the scalping issues surrounding that company’s lax sales practices.
Which Swift rose up to challenge, because she’s one of the good guys.
Which may be why, as Daniel Boris suggests, she is anathema to the rightwing. It’s not just that she blew open the profiteering around ticket sales, though she did. Last week on Voter Registration Day, she asked her Gen Z fans to register and 35,000 of them signed up as new voters, with another 50,000 letting her know they were already on the rolls.
It brings to mind the probably-apocryphal meeting between Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in which the Emancipator is said to have remarked “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”
Which, if he didn’t say it, he should have. In any case, all those GOP hardliners who want to raise the voting age back to 21 are going to have to fight their way over a mountain of active, registered Swifties.
It all may explain why Rick McKee is critical of the attention she got for attending a football game as the guest of her friend-and-perhaps-boyfriend Travis Kelce.
Then again, maybe he’s just like the people back in the mid-60s who made jokes about the Beatles, often while wearing dime-store wigs in imitation of their haircuts, while we rolled our eyes and swore never to trust anyone over 30.
But the Beatles weren’t telling us to register to vote, in part because we weren’t old enough and in part because they saved their call for Revolution until well after it was under way.
Meanwhile, as Dana Summers (Tribune) notes, little girls are paying attention to the maybe/possible romance between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, which was highlighted with shots of her in the skybox during his game Sunday, and rewarded with a sudden spike of nearly 400% in sales of his jersey.
Presumably in size small.
And note that Kelce was not previously obscure: He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler and a four-time first-team All-Pro with two Super Bowl rings, and he’s hosted Saturday Night Live.
While what makes their friendship so delightfully galling to conservatives is that not only does she work to register young voters, but he appears in public service announcements promoting Covid booster shots.
As one might say to the hipster in this David Sipress cartoon, “You may be cool, but you aren’t Taylor and Travis cool.”
Juxtaposition of the Day
While all that is going on up here, I continue to be impressed by the way cartoonists in Australia and New Zealand are focusing on climate change.
As noted before, a significant number of prominent Aussie cartoonists withdrew from the prestigious Walkey Awards to protest sponsorship by a petroleum company and refusal to have an environmental award category.
It’s not that they don’t have other targets: I’m often flummoxed by cartoons from both nations because they are based on issues and personalities you’d have to live there to understand.
But they keep coming back to the environment, particularly climate change and endangered species and the many places the two issues converge, nor are these three, by far, the only cartoonists in the Antipodes mounting a continuing, blistering attack on waste and on irresponsible policies that damage the planet and those on it.
Maybe they took the dire warning seriously in On the Beach, Nevil Shute’s novel, turned into a classic movie by Stanley Kramer, in which Australians wait helplessly while the fallout from someone else’s nuclear war sweeps across the globe to wipe out all life.
Both governments have policies against nuclear weapons and are strong proponents of non-proliferation, though I’m pretty sure Shute and Kramer didn’t have much to do with that.
On the other hand, if Australia and New Zealand reverse their reliance on petroleum and coal, and their willingness to pursue deforestation, it may well be at least in part because of the pressure of cartoonists who refuse to be distracted or to let the public ignore the issues.
The alternative being to just wait for it to be over.