Dumb question

The New Republic has a question for us.

Why Do We Care if Taylor Swift Dates a Kennedy?

Um.  We care if Taylor Swift dates a Kennedy?

As it turns out, there are few subjects I can think of about which I care less than the romantic life of Taylor Swift.  Self-involved fool that I apparently am, I would have thought that opinion was shared by the overwhelming majority of The New Republic‘s readers.  Was I wrong?

Furthermore, is there something about Ms. Swift that makes her somehow more compelling than the average pop starlet?  Since I am, in pop culture terms, roughly fifteen billion years old, I don’t tend to listen to music sung by people barely old enough to drink.  If you played me a selection of Top 40 hits, I strongly suspect that I would be able to name the artist who sings them no more than one or two times, and that probably by sheer dumb luck.  So this morning when I heard a report about the musical influences of Ms. Swift on NPR, my primary response was to wonder who the fish cares.  I’m sure she’s just a peach of a person, but the snippet they played of her latest song about breaking up with a Mysterious Celebrity Ex was so auto-tuned it could have been sung by a Tibetan throat singer for all I could tell.  I don’t care whether her influences are a little bit punk.  (That whirring noise you hear in Lyndhurst, New Jersey is Joey Ramone spinning in his grave that anyone is even asking.)  I couldn’t possibly care less who the song is about.  NPR couldn’t find something or someone else to talk about?

I realize that musing about this merely proves that the aged British spinster librarian who inhabits my soul is strengthening her grip on my psyche.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of days before I start wearing a shawl and complaining about my rheumatism on damp mornings.  But is it impossibly curmudgeonly of me to wonder if maybe The New Republic could leave the celebrity reportage to esteemed fellow periodicals Us Weekly and InTouch, and maybe provide one of the few remaining havens from the otherwise unrelenting American obsession with fame?

Or do I just need to take a nice healthy slug of nerve tonic (read: gin), go lie down, and accept that The World Has Changed?

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. I think you should take that slug of gin anyway. But yes, I’m peachy-keen with cutting all the baloney out of We Want To Be Taken Seriously publications.

  2. A Kennedy involved with a famous, young, blonde entertainer? Such a thing has never, EVER happened before! I’m shocked and appalled that our scions of American prestige and opportunity could debase themselves in such a way!

    I assume that this article happened when Leon Wieseltier went grocery shopping and someone slipped up and forgot to hide the tabloid covers in the checkout line from him? I mean, if he has such wrath for Bruce Springsteen, I can’t begin to imagine what he would do when confronted by a popular entertainer not of his generation…

  3. Jim Bouton’s Ball Four is mostly remembered for its account of baseball players’ sex lives, but my favorite parts are about the recreations the players invent to stop from going crazy during the six month grind of the season. One of them is singer-and-actor baseball teams, where you populate a team with entertainers based on what their names sound like.

    So: Taylor Swift: left-field, leadoff hitter who knows how to draw walks, but also has some pop, say 12 homers a year. Steals 30 bases a year, but gets thrown out 20.

  4. We care if Taylor Swift dates a Kennedy?

    Um…yeah. It means she’s not available to me. Duh.

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