CSotD: Geezers and Good Guys

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

Alan Moir

Megan Herbert

Sharon Murdoch

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.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: Geezers and Good Guys

  1. I still miss David Bowie every single day. He must feel so much energy from the love people have for him and how much they miss him and play his music.

    1. Donna, you’re not alone. I also miss Bowie every day, and when I see videos like the one in this post I get a little misty-eyed.

  2. Funny. I’m a Beatles’ fan. Strike that: Beatles scholar. No intention of seeing Paul or Ringo. But. 26-year-old daughter says “Ringo is coming to Milwaukee [she lives there] and it’s on my bucket list to see at least one of the two remaining Beatles. Wanna go?”

    Of COURSE I’m going.

    (she also likes Taylor Swift. And wants the Barbara Streisand auto-bio for Xmas. I’m a happy old man.)

    1. I saw Ringo a couple of years ago, and it was a REALLY enjoyable show. It wasn’t just him, but a guy from Santana, Toto, Men at Work, and 10cc, doing songs from all of them.

  3. I know who Swift is, but this is a nice reminder of why I don’t care about pop stars and whatnot: because of their “huge today, forgotten tomorrow” nature. I’ve long since stopped caring about what’s hot and what’s not, and I’m only 37.

    1. You don’t have to follow music to know who Taylor Swift is. For certain, her popularity is solely attributable to her records, but she’s been at the top for seventeen years, and her fame lives outside her music. So I don’t think “gone tomorrow” will ever apply, even if her records’ quality diminishes over time. She’s like The Beatles in terms of influence and longevity, but more like Elvis as a solo singer whose name everybody knows so you don’t need to say anything more (though Elvis wrote nothing while she writes everything). I know there are others who are currently in (sort of) the same strata (Beyonce, Rihanna) but they’re not on her fame level. And nobody ever has been, certainly not Stevie Nicks or even Madonna or Cher.

  4. Mike – The Walkley Awards protest by some Aussie cartoonists is an interesting yarn. These premium journalism awards were created by Bill Walkley almost 68 years ago. Walkley was the founder of the giant oil company, Ampol. The awards are administered by the Walkley foundation, and its deputy chair is the president of the journalist union, the MEAA. Indeed the logo for the awards is a stylized gas flame. The board has been slowly but surely farming category sponsorship out to the business community, but the operating costs have been mostly carried by the trust established by Walkley. All this has been widely known for absolute decades, and is all over their awards website. Then a couple of months back in the final days of awards entry deadline, a cartoonist suddenly discovered that the awards had links to Ampol, and withdrew his entry, and subsequently took his protest to social media. ( I had correspondence from one Australian cartoonist asking if this was a pisstake ). It’s rather like discovering the ExxonMobile awards are indeed founded and sponsored by ExxonMobile. It became quite apparent that those who joined the protest had not read the years of bold headlines. If you look at the Instagram account of the Awards, they clearly show who sponsors each category. It’s not oil. The challenge for the board has always been, and will continue to be, distancing itself from its unpopular creator. Not an easy feat. Meanwhile within the cartoonists community, the protest is seen by some as a rebellious triumph, and by others as an epiphany.

  5. Geezer!? Hey, Mike, i resemble that remark!
    I do know about Taylor Swift and respect her for her responsible concern over the ticket scandal and more. But, I knew John Stewart (the Kingston Trio) when Stevie Nicks was a backup singer for him decades ago. And, Tom Petty was known for his support for his fans. Yet, now, the Orange Imbecile uses his music and ignores when Tom Petty’s heirs tell him to STOP, TWICE. Am I angry? Yes!

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