In a world overrun by the idiotic and underqualified, it’s tempting to credit public figures with nonexistent cunning or forethought.
As nice as it is to imagine that the president of the United States isn’t just “ad-libbing” on North Korea, the facts maintain that there isn’t any sort of political chess at play here—everyone and everything really is as dumb as it seems.
With one exception. In an era of unbridled ids, impetuous boys, and impromptu boasts, there is one woman who is consistently 10 steps ahead: a pop music Machiavelli and Svengali of mutually beneficial relationships who also happens to be a pretty talented EDM scribe.
Naturally we’re talking about Taylor Alison Swift (alias: Nils Sjoberg), a 27-year-old singer-songwriter with a rare talent for self-preservation. Taylor Swift famously maintains strict control over her brand, and has been criticized in the past for her superficiality and attention to detail. From drafting an A-list squad of giraffe-legged pals to threatening to take legal action against some ardent fans on Etsy, Swift seems like a woman who knows exactly what she wants. Taylor Swift might look like a harmless, sugary-sweet pop princess, but make no mistake: This woman keeps Ryan Reynolds’ soul in a calligraphy-labeled Mason jar on her Rhode Island estate. She is not fucking around.
Somehow, through sheer strength of will, Taylor Swift convinced her millions of fans that she was a very sweet and chill girl next door. She realized that feminism was in and began marketing herself as a proponent of girl power, a victim of narcissistic and entitled dudes who would, nevertheless and against all odds, persist. But Swift’s delicate house of vaguely feminist aphorisms and carefully posed lady-Instagrams came tumbling down last summer, when Kim Kardashian outed Swift on Snapchat. The details of that social media checkmate—Swift condemned Kanye’s lyrics, harnessed this victimhood for her public image, was thwarted by leaked footage of Kanye running the track by her in the studio and then reduced to a Notes app statement—are already the stuff of legend. It was the “Kim you’re doing amazing sweetie” heard ’round the world. Unexpectedly pushed into an abyss of unlikability and overexposure, Swift quickly went into crisis/self-imposed exile mode: R.I.P. Hiddleswift, highly publicized squad parties, post-workout crab walks, and the days of underestimating Mrs. Kim Kardashian West.
Luckily for those of us with an appetite for drama and Tracy Flick-style anti-heroines, Taylor Swift plays a long game. Last week, Swift made her first major move since the summer of her Snapchat discontent, testifying in court against former radio DJ David Mueller. The jury ultimately sided with Swift, who alleged that Mueller had “intentionally reached under [Swift’s] skirt, and groped with his hand an intimate part of her body in an inappropriate manner, against her will, and without her permission” during a 2013 meet-and-greet. What happened to Swift was horrible and, as her suit stresses, against her will. But how the pop star chose to present herself in court worked completely to her advantage. When asked about her knowledge of police procedurals, Swift joked about her love of Law & Order: SVU—relatable! When pressed on why no one else witnessed the groping, Swift countered, “Because my ass is located in the back of my body.” Humor, wit, poise, just enough venom and an anatomy lesson to boot? Is it just me, or is 2017 “taking the stand” Taylor Swift actually likable?
At a time when many of us are just barely surviving off a steady diet of revenge fantasies and rage, it makes perfect sense for Swift to rebrand herself a pretty blonde vengeance demon. Why be a saccharine singer-songwriter when you can be an Arya Stark? Likability is so close that TayTay can probably taste it, and I think I’ve come up with a way to finally put her over the edge: All Taylor Swift has to do is denounce neo-Nazis.
Denouncing neo-Nazis might sound like a low bar or a meaningless declaration—if you don’t happen to be rocking a Fred Perry polo and holding a tiki torch your buddy Cole picked up for you at Party City and/or the president of the United States, you should have no problem condemning Nazism. And why should a pop singer have to personally clarify her position on white supremacy? This question would be perfectly valid if we were talking about Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, or any other major female celebrity who hasn’t been heralded in certain dark corners of the internet as an Aryan princess/secret neo-Nazi. Unfortunately, Taylor Swift has long taken on a starring role in some pretty sick Nazi fan fiction.
In an in-depth 2016 Broadly article, neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer explained Swift’s fashy appeal: “Firstly, Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess, like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn. That’s the most important thing,” Anglin insisted. “It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world. Probably, she will be betrothed to Trump’s son, and they will be crowned American royalty.”
Now, it follows that Swift wouldn’t want to dignify these lunatic ravings with a response, or spend any more time than absolutely necessary contemplating a relationship with either of Donald Trump’s large adult sons. But at a certain point—preferably before a white supremacist website publishes dozens of posts praising her Aryan bloodline—it might behoove a celebrity to publicly condemn the racist anti-Semites who are claiming her as their queen. People like Anglin seem to genuinely believe that Swift will be on their side come race war Armageddon. And now that Nazis and counter-protestors are actually fighting in the streets, there’s no time like the present for Taylor Swift to finally come out as anti-Nazi.
After an act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville left one woman dead, The Daily Stormer—aka Taylor Swift’s unofficial fan site—mocked the victim of the white nationalist attack. For GoDaddy, The Daily Stormer’s obscene and disturbing language was enough to convince them to finally dump the neo-Nazi website. Taylor Swift needs to get in on all this Nazi condemnation action. Why should Jennifer Lawrence get all the likes?
Now, in the past, Swift has scrupulously avoided any sort of political statement. She expresses her “feminism” through sanitized non-statements like, “I’m proud to be a woman today, and every day.” Not only did she refuse to endorse a presidential candidate—she wouldn’t even denounce the candidate who was accused of serial sexual assault. Given Swift’s history of failing to do the bare minimum, and her past swastika mini-scandal, it’s unlikely that she’ll make an anti-Nazi statement. Then again, the bar has never been so low. No one is expecting Taylor Swift to go on the campaign trail for Kamala Harris or exhibit a working knowledge of intersectionality—just to condemn the neo-Nazi community that’s already claimed her as one of their own.
Say it after me, TayTay: “I, Taylor Swift, denounce Nazis. And I am not attracted to Eric Trump.”