Last weekend, writer Nancy French posted a picture of her and her daughter dressed up and heading out to attend a Taylor Swift concert together. For reference, Nancy is the wife of New York Times columnist David French, a conservative Christian author whose recent ideological drift in recent years has drawn the attention and ire of many on the right – including me.
So it wasn't overly surprising to me to see a handful of David French critics seize upon the picture as some sort of "gotcha" moment: Taylor Swift is an outed leftist these days and so that must be why the French family was willing to spend money on tickets to her show. How silly.
Of course, those attacks led to an equally silly rebuttal by a chorus of Swifties who balked at the notion that the singer had sullied herself in petty, progressive politics.
I knew better than to march into that online comment section catfight, but I think there's value in addressing what is unfolding here. Two things can be true at the same time.
First, of course Taylor Swift is another uninformed musician taking cues on what she's "supposed" to believe and say from the pop culture voices that surround her. She's a conformist, too busy writing and performing music, and running an incredibly successful personal brand, to do serious deep thinking about geo-politics.
That's why I think it's so funny to see progressive media types work themselves into a lather about the "courage" and "bravery" of stars willing to boldly say – exactly what those same progressive media types expect them to say and would punish them for not saying.
I remember this kind of talk surrounding Hollywood stars Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres when they came out as a lesbians years ago. To demonstrate the absurdity of it all, let's take Ellen and play a game. DeGeneres's coming out led to rocketing fame, unanimous praise from the entertainment community, multiple hosting and feature opportunities, and with the departure of Oprah, the opportunity to be crowned queen of daytime television.
Knowing that, predict what might have happened to Ellen's career if, instead of coming out, Ellen had announced that she was becoming a born-again Christian who would eschew the immorality that is rampant in Hollywood, relocate, and would submit her views on sexual morality to the will of Christ. Would we even know her name today?
So Krassenstein and other progressives can boast about Swift "risking money and fame" to conform to the pattern of this world, but simple sanity says otherwise.
At the same time, I'd propose there's another possibility beyond the French family's (or anyone else attending the concert's) complicity in covertly fueling a hostile leftist takeover of society. Maybe they weren't attending because they agree with Swift's shallow observations about presidential politics. Maybe they were willing to spend the money because they love her songs and wanted to go see her perform them in a live concert with thousands of other fans?
For those who find that inexcusable, I suppose I should be forthcoming and tell you that if the opportunity ever presents itself, I will be first in line to buy tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert despite him being one of the most egregiously progressive rock artists in the business. Ditto that for John Mellencamp.
I appreciate those who want to be responsible with their dollars. I think it's an admirable and commendable trait to feel ideological and spiritual accountability when you spend money. But take the French girls for example. Is it not reasonable to consider the value of a mother taking her teenage daughter to a concert of someone whose music they adore? Weigh the difference those couple hundred dollars will make in Taylor's progressive platform against the value of the family bonding and memories.
I find it annoying when my favorite stars opine on politics or faith and say something cringeworthy or ignorant. But I still like their music, still cheer for their performance on the field, still enjoy watching them in movies and shows. There is more to life than politics. Perhaps it's time we show one another grace to live that way.