No, Taylor Swift is not a deep‑state psy‑op
The Very Online right now has a conspiracy theory for everything.
It’s amazing what a pretty blonde with long legs can do to a man’s brain. I have spent the past week watching with amusement as more and more grown men on the US right have worked themselves into a lather about whether or not Taylor Swift is some kind of government agent.
Earlier this week, prominent right-wing pundit Jack Posobiec launched into a truly embarrassing riff at a Turning Point USA conference:
‘When it comes to winning these elections, we have to understand the new game. When I talk about Taylor Swift, it’s so obvious to me. She is the perfect vehicle to go to those low-propensity, white, liberal women, to say, “I need you to come to come out [and vote]”.’
And there was more. ‘I have to live in the world of what potential threats could be out there, and the indicators and warnings right now are going off the charts’, Posobiec continued.
Unfortunately, former Naval intelligence officer Posobiec wasn’t now talking about Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. He was still talking about a 34-year-old pop star being ‘used’ by the Democrats in the next election. The one who sings songs about her boyfriends, loves her cat and girls’ nights out, and who penned the terrifying lyrics: ‘It’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.’
As evidence of this devious government plot involving Taylor Swift, Posobiec offered the following: ‘She came out as a Democrat in 2020, she attacked [Republican senator] Marsha Blackburn in 2018… The New York Times has already said that the Biden administration is working on what they call “the Taylor strategy”.’
Here Posobiec is falling back on the same tactic that left-wing and establishment media have used for years. They take people and views that are banal and normal and present them as somehow dangerous and to be avoided.
And Taylor Swift really is banal and normal. She’s a Williams-Sonoma catalogue come to life. She’s a true-blue Dem because she’s an extremely successful, rich white lady who grew up in a leafy town, with a stockbroker father. The majority of women like her are also Trump-haters. That’s just how it is. It is unlikely she emerged from a CIA laboratory, à la Jason Bourne.
Yet, shockingly, Posobeic’s speech on the Democrats’ ‘Taylor strategy’ has been among the more sober takes on Swift from the Very Online right. Some have alleged a grand scheme involving Swift and her NFL player boyfriend, Travis Kelce, along with George Soros, Alex Soros, Gavin Newsom and Pfizer. Others have suggested that the upcoming Super Bowl might be rigged on Swift and Kelce’s behalf, seemingly to give their presumed endorsement of the Democrats more weight. A host of the right-wing OANN cable network claimed that Swift and Kelce’s relationship was merely the tip of the iceberg – all major-league sport, she said, is a ‘deep-state psy-op’ designed to march kids into ‘public-indoctrination camps’, and to promote ‘slave labour’ and the Covid vaccines (or ‘death shots’, as she insisted on calling them).
Needless to say, picking a fight with the female pop star most beloved by young American women, when the Republicans already have a problem with young American women, is not the win that these guys seem to think it is.
It’s very, very easy to understand why Swift has gained such a monster following, without the help of the deep state. Her lyrics are clever and catchy. Her songs are sometimes poignant and sometimes fun. Literally every woman and girl – including me, a wizened, cynical, Gen X former indie kid – can relate to the feelings she sings about. She has genuine mass appeal.
Even Posobiec was forced to acknowledge Swift’s popularity, reflecting: ‘We don’t have a Taylor Swift on our side, but you know who we do have? We have Kid Rock. We have Ted Nugent.’ I’m genuinely embarrassed for him.
Of course, it’s not as if America’s vastly resourced security apparatus has never worked to influence culture in order to win propaganda victories. But the only ‘evidence’ the right is presenting against Swift consists of a series of totally explainable and expected facts that fit in with the behaviour patterns of many, many other celebrities going back decades. Pop star loves liberal values? Shock! Pop star dates athlete who takes money from huge corporation? It must be a plot!
Insisting that these things make Swift an actual psy-op, rather than just the manifestation of long-standing and normalised cultural trends, makes these young conservatives look like helpless, babbling idiots in the face of the pretty, popular girl who doesn’t even know they exist. They should log off X and leave the girls alone – they have no idea what we like.
Jenny Holland is a former newspaper reporter and speechwriter. Visit her Substack here.
Picture by: Getty.
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