Taylor Swift is young, rich, intelligent, self-confident, in apparent good health and often idolized.
I wouldn’t trade places with her for a million dollars.
Perhaps for $39,699,575.60, which is what she earned last year, according to the Billboard Top 40 Money Makers list. But not for a million dollars. And trust me, there are days when even a music columnist could really use a million dollars.
It’s not worth a million, though, the “being Taylor Swift” thing. For me, it would be an angry-making endeavor. I’d walk around shouting and pointing at people, spewing vitriol like the love child of Don Rickles and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Because she just cannot win.
Search the Internet for “hate Taylor Swift” and you quickly get more than a million dollars’ worth of snarls and slurs.
She is the “lily white, pin-thin,” “vindictive” “former country oddball” who is a “disgusting,” “slut-shaming misogynist” and makes “training-bra music” that is “about as interesting as Olestra-based products, or Swiffers in multiple colors, or tiered Jell-O dessert products, or milk from China that has lead in it.”
Actually, some of those tiered Jell-O cakes are pretty amazing. But I digress…
Swift’s new single, “Shake It Off,” is an “oxymoronic treble-heavy booty bass song for girls with no butts.”
She is a “talentless twit” and a “feminist’s nightmare,” and she has been taken to task for wearing a bikini that was — wait for it — not revealing enough.
And the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum should be “ashamed” to have her name on the Taylor Swift Education Center, now that she’s recording an album of pop songs, even though she donated $4 million to help build the place.
Yes, to be so hated you have to be even more loved. But I don’t think we’d feel that love in the face of such a bludgeoning. It’d be like getting a hug from your mother, then walking into the ring to face Mike Tyson. That kind of love better bring some bandages.
I’m not worried about Swift, though. I’m worried about us. We look tacky. Why do we get angry about music, when we could just go listen to something else, or go watch a ballgame?
By all indications, Swift can take it. She’s managed a stunningly graceful transition from child stardom to adult superstardom. And even as she takes notice of the rancor, she refuses the rebuttals that I would be shouting from my lungtops.
There’s no “Of course I’m leaving country music as a radio format, because country radio programmers can find slots for 30 men in hats hollering about their trucks but no more than one or two places for thoughtful women singing about their lives.”
There’s no “Cowboy Jack Clement loved my songs, and so does Kris Kristofferson. Who are you people to say I’m not talented?”
There’s no “All I’ve done all my life is sing my little songs, and the fact that it makes some people angry points to their own frailties, shortcomings and syndromes.”
Instead, she enlists internationally groovy producers Max Martin and Shellback (the latter is not only a Swede, but I’m also told he is a part-time member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to put together a massive, instant, worldwide smash pop hit with lyrics that poke fun at herself.
Oh, and she does a video for “Shake It Off” that is directed by the esteemed Mark Romanek. When that video goes viral, Swift faces accusations of being — wait for it — “racist” because the video finds her — wait an extra beat — dancing with African-Americans.
"Shake it off," she sings, with apparent glee, in her "oxymoronic treble-heavy booty bass song for girls with no butts." Shake off the meanness, the ugliness, the venom.
We shouted, “She’s not country!” So she says, “OK, then, I’m pop.” But not before carrying the country genre for years.
We shouted, “She can’t dance!” So she cops to that, smilingly, in a video.
We shouted other things, too, and she just goes on, singing that “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” and that she’s just going to shake it off.