The ridiculous conspiracy theories that are circling around the singer and the Super Bowl are a source of great amusement to me and to a lot of others. I had thought that Swift had become a big star just in the last couple of years but it turns out that that was because I had not been paying attention. She has been performing for 17 years and selling out stadiums for a long time. But while that level of success made her a household name among those who follow popular music, her relationship with an NFL football player has thrust her in front of a much wider audience, people like me who had only been dimly aware of her.
The wild idea that she is a part of a ‘psyop’ operation by the Pentagon has clearly created amusement in that austere institution.
The claims by Fox News and far-right influencers that pop star Taylor Swift is part of a Pentagon “psychological operation” to get President Joe Biden reelected, and somehow rig the Super Bowl to benefit Kansas City Chiefs tight end (and Swift’s boyfriend) Travis Kelce, has been met with forehead slaps in the national security world.
“The absurdity of it all boggles the mind,” said one senior administration official, granted anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter. “It feels like one of those ‘tell me you are a MAGA conspiracy theorist, without telling me you are a MAGA conspiracy theorist’ memes.”
Faced with an onslaught of journalist questions about the theory, spokesperson Sabrina Singh was ready for it.
In the name of being honest, Singh vehemently denied Swift is part of a DOD operation.
“We know all too well the dangers of conspiracy theories, so to set the record straight — Taylor Swift is not part of a DOD psychological operation. Period,” Singh told POLITICO.
Of course, that is what people behind such an operation would say, no? Don’t be fooled, sheeple!
Even the Japanese embassy in the US has issued a statement explaining how it is perfectly possible for Swift to give a concert in Tokyo on the 10th and make it to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl on the 11th. To show that they are in on the joke, they even buried the titles of three Swift songs in the text.
Catherine Kim writes that while MAGA world seems to thrive on conspiracy theories, this particular one may not go well for them.
If you look at the history of Taylor Swift, if you go back 10 or 12 years, her main critics were actually coming from the left. There was a feminist discourse that argued that she was too heteronormative, that she is supporting the patriarchy by writing these love songs with a straightforward, boy-meets-girl, happily-ever-after kind of narrative. So you would think that the right would embrace that. And for a while, when Taylor was more quiet about her politics, they had this notion that she was secretly one of them. You saw this in around 2017, 2018 when literal Nazis like Andrew Anglin or folks from the GamerGate community like Milo Yiannopoulos, were posting these memes that were suggesting that Taylor was secretly a white supremacist.
And so the fact that she had this political coming out in 2018, and started to embrace leftist causes, that was the first moment when the right rejected her. And as she gained cultural power over the last year, I think that’s made her an easy target. You would think that her dating a football star would be something that would be satisfying to cultural conservatives – she’s playing out a standard conservative script of falling in love with a football star – but the fact that she’s not on their team is especially irksome for a lot of folks. On the right, it’s seen as a betrayal.
The intensity is coming from different levels. Again, it’s this basic sexism. She is unmarried. She is an extremely successful businesswoman. And I know that a lot of folks on the right probably do not aspire to be a pop star, but a lot of them aspire to be successful in business. And she has lapped them over and over. She has become a billionaire based on her own artistry. And so there’s a jealousy factor as well.
Rich Lowry, editor-in-chief of the conservative National Review and a columnist writes that this conspiracy theory is so mind bogglingly stupid, that one could easily weave a counter theory.
Politics has always had its share of conspiracy theorists on both sides, but the right has become particularly susceptible to the tendency as it has become more populist. The Taylor Swift theory is not the first lunatic idea that has gotten traction on the right, nor will it be the last. Most of this discussion is on social media and much of it doesn’t matter very much, but there is a risk that the conservative movement will appear weird and alienated from the American mainstream – and turn off voters in the real world.
In this regard, the Taylor Swift obsession is particularly stupid and perverse.
One might think these influencers have been manipulated by the Deep State into discrediting the right as part of a nefarious plot, but alas, they are doing it of their own volition. [My italics-MS]
This has also caused some disorientation among football fans when the San Francisco team takes on the Kansas City team in the Super Bowl. SF is the stereotypical ‘liberal’ city that conservatives love to disparage and yet the conspiracy theorists must now hope that it wins. Meanwhile, KC is in a very red state and yet they must be hoping that it loses. And SF fans may be equally conflicted.
It is all so confusing.