The reactionary right has found an impressive new target in its ongoing culture war. This time it’s Taylor Swift, whose current Eras Tour—encompassing 146 dates on five continents—is a cultural and economic earthquake so large that it has even registered on the sensitive fiscal seismographs of the Federal Reserve. In July, the Philadelphia Fed, in its authoritative Beige Book, credited Smith with reviving that city’s flagging tourism industry. As Time reports, Swift’s tour is projected to gross a record-breaking $2.2 billion and generate nearly $5 billion in consumer spending in the United States.
Swift released her first album in 2006, before she turned 17. At 33, she’s become a media juggernaut comparable to Elvis in the 1950s, the Beatles in the ’60s, or Michael Jackson in the ’80s. And like those earlier celebrities, Swift has become a divisive cultural figure. Her legion of fans—a predominantly female group of enthusiasts known as “Swifties”—are relentless in attacking any criticism of their idol that they view as unfair.
Swifties now have their work cut out for them, as a mouthy section of the American right, which recently has had doubts about Swift, has decided to target the singer-songwriter with invective. In early September, The Federalist posted an article by Mark Hemingway titled “Taylor Swift’s Popularity Is a Sign of Societal Decline.” The article is largely taken up with invidious comparisons between Swift and male musicians like Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, arguing that Swift is narrowly and narcissistically focused on breakup songs about her former boyfriends. [Continue reading…]