We in Telegram
Add news
March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010
August 2010
September 2010 October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019 January 2020 February 2020 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020 November 2020 December 2020 January 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021 January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 May 2022 June 2022 July 2022 August 2022 September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 December 2022 January 2023 February 2023 March 2023 April 2023 May 2023 June 2023 July 2023 August 2023 September 2023 October 2023 November 2023 December 2023 January 2024 February 2024
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
News Every Day |

Taylor Swift Is Just the Latest Subject in a Long History of Pop Conspiracy Theories

This article was featured in the One Story to Read Today newsletter. Sign up for it here.

You’d have to go back to the peak years of Bob Dylan’s cultural relevance, when one critic cum stalker started searching the songwriter’s garbage for clues about his lyrics, to find a musician who attracts as many amateur code breakers as Taylor Swift does. Swift has fed the frenzy by declaring that her songs, her liner notes, her social-media posts—basically everything around her—might have hidden meanings embedded in them. As she told The Washington Post in 2022, she and her fans have “descended into color coding, numerology, word searches, elaborate hints, and Easter eggs.”

That scavenger-hunt mentality can lead would-be decoders in directions the singer might not prefer, as with the “Gaylors” who search for signals that Swift is secretly queer. Now a different subculture is getting in on the act: A chunk of the GOP has been conjuring alleged evidence that Swift is a deep-state psy-op, and that maybe—we’re just asking questions here—the NFL is in on it.

This theory got its first burst of mainstream attention last month, when Fox’s Jesse Watters aired a video that, he claimed, shows that “the Pentagon psychological-operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset.” The person speaking in the video was not in fact from the Pentagon, she was citing Swift as a generic example of celebrity influence, and this all happened years after Swift became super popular anyway, but Watters still seemed to think it might explain “why or how she blew up like this.” He then interviewed a former FBI agent, who said that Joe Biden’s presidential campaign would like Swift’s support (which is true) and that she could move substantial numbers of votes into Biden’s column (which is not the track record that pop-music endorsements have historically had in American politics).

The psy-op rumor mutated into its most infamous form a few weeks later. Vivek Ramaswamy, until recently a presidential candidate himself, posted on X, “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month. And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

Yes, that was a reference to Swift and her boyfriend, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ve heard many ruminations over the years about both rigged elections and rigged Super Bowls, but this might be the first time I’ve seen someone imply that plotters might rig an election by rigging the Super Bowl.

[Helen Lewis: Travis Kelce is another puzzle for Taylor Swift fans to crack]

Other than that new wrinkle, though, none of this is unprecedented. In fact, as weird as the psy-op story may sound, it’s just a few short hops away from a rather popular way of thinking about culture. To hear some people tell it, pretty much all pop is an op.

Conspiracy theories about the music industry come in many flavors. A century ago, to give one of the uglier examples, Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent claimed that a “Jewish combine” was suppressing gentile music and promoting jazz. “Popular music is a Jewish monopoly,” the paper declared in 1921. “Jazz is a Jewish creation. The mush, the slush, the sly suggestion, the abandoned sensuousness of sliding notes, are of Jewish origin.”

You didn’t have to be a Ford-style bigot to suspect that a cabal was behind the music you disliked. In 1958, Vance Packard—the author of The Hidden Persuaders, a best-selling attack on the advertising industry—testified to the U.S. Senate that “the public was manipulated into liking rock and roll” and that “the rock and roll, hillbilly, and Latin American movements were largely engineered, manipulated for the interests of the [music-licensing group] BMI.” When a Michigan senator objected that many of his constituents genuinely like hillbilly music, Packard agreeably replied, “I like some of it too, but I think the quality of it lately has been degenerating.”

The psychedelic ’60s gave us such pamphlets as David A. Noebel’s Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles (which claimed that the Kremlin was using the Fab Four to induce “artificial neurosis” in the American child) and Gary Allen’s That Music: There’s More to It Than Meets the Ear (which speculated that the Beatles’ music was “put together by behavioral scientists in some ‘think tank’”). Then came the backmasking panic that peaked in the ’80s, when a horde of ministers, teachers, broadcasters, and legislators became convinced that conspirators were inserting backwards satanic messages into rock records, where they would subliminally lead young listeners to Lucifer.

But the most popular devil theory of music might be the suspicion that the industry itself is one big, sprawling maze of conspiracy, a suspicion that owes much of its popularity to the fact that there is a lot of truth to it. The music world is indeed filled with secret plots, though they tend to be more petty than grand: People have conspired over the years to bribe DJs, rip off artists’ royalties, juke the stats at streaming services, and otherwise engage in the sometimes-sordid business of manufacturing hits and scooping up all they can of the profits. And God knows the industry’s PR machines can be fountains of lies. So, yes: Music marketers operate behind the scenes to create an image and sell it, and sometimes they cut some ethical corners in the process.

Those facts have fed a more dubious intuition, one that imagines the public as a passive receptacle for the culture industry’s output, robotically consuming whatever products are pressed onto us. When Packard spoke with those senators, much of his testimony involved plausible claims about backroom business practices. But he also declared that the industry could, if it wanted, “make us all start humming chants of zinc miners or marching tunes from the War of 1812.” In this vision, the marketers are not simply slippery but all-powerful. It’s ops all the way down.

If you believe that marketers have unlocked the secret to inducing demand for unwanted goods, it’s not difficult to extend the story’s cast of characters to include the national-security state, the White House, or any other villain you please. Indeed, covert forces sometimes do try to insert themselves into popular culture, as when the Pentagon offers moviemakers access to its personnel and material in exchange for script approval. When people learn about those real propaganda pushes, it expands the range of hidden operations they’re willing to imagine.

[Stephanie Burt: Taylor Swift at Harvard]

But those puppet-master storylines greatly overstate the audience’s malleability. Viva Brother, the Cats movie—there are countless examples of relentlessly hyped musical products that failed to sell, the New Cokes of the sonic world. And it’s not plausible that the industry would be any better at selling nonmusical products, such as presidential candidates.

Not even the most advanced Pentagon program can reliably guide what cultural products we’ll buy or what messages we’ll take away from them. If Taylor Swift really were an op, I doubt she’d be a terribly effective one. It’s true that when she shared a link to Vote.org on National Voter Registration Day last year, the website saw a spike in registrations, though the size of that spike is often exaggerated. (No, she did not single-handedly cause more than 35,000 people to register.) But there is a difference between getting people to fill out a short form online and getting them to the polls, let alone getting them to vote your way.

A more realistic look at Swift’s likely impact came late last month, when a Newsweek survey found that 18 percent of voters say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Swift—and 17 percent are less likely to vote for someone she endorses. That one-point gap was well within the margin of error, so you shouldn’t count on it to tip Georgia into Biden’s hands. I don’t want to tell the Illuminati how to do their job, but surely there are better reasons to rig the Super Bowl than that.


Сергей АРУТЮНОВ второй раз собрал КРЕМЛЬ

Signs Someone Is Falling In Love With You

7 Behaviors Covert Narcissist Do

6 Tips & Tricks To Get Instant Respect

5 Reasons Eating Healthy is Making You Fatter


Read also

Supreme Court turns away House GOP lawmakers’ appeal over mask rule violations 

Dionne Warwick focusing on philanthropy in East Orange

Liverpool interested in £60m Man United target this summer, Ten Hag wants 23-year-old since last year

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro

News Every Day

6 Tips & Tricks To Get Instant Respect

Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

Ожидается, что строительство двух новых гостиничных комплексов позволит динамично развивать туристическую индустрию в регионе

Sports today

Новости тенниса

Теннисистка Павлюченкова вернулась в топ-25 рейтинга WTA

Спорт в России и мире

«Спартак» после 0:3 в начале матча забросил 7 безответных шайб в ворота «Торпедо»

All sports news today

Sports in Russia today


ХК «Торпедо» проиграл «Спартаку» в выездном матче

Новости России

Game News

Шапки женские вязаные на Wildberries, зима 2024 — новый цвет от 392 руб. (модель 466)



Европопейская Армения 24 февраля митингует против России?

Губернаторы России
Михаил Пореченков

Завершились съёмки костюмной комедии «Купцы и дети» с Михаилом Пореченковым и Павлом Табаковым в главных ролях

Путин через Лаврова передал устное послание Мадуро

Евросоюз ест Ереван

Шапки женские зимние на Wildberries — скидки от 398 руб. (на новые оттенки)

Чудо ИИ. Как новейшие технологии помогают спасать здоровье пациентов

Откуда у Александра Розенбаума звание полковника и военные награды, если он не служил в армии?

Продвижение Музыки. Раскрутка Музыки. Продвижение Песни. Раскрутка Песни.

Песни проекта Музея Победы прозвучали в Новосибирске

Концерт Арбениной в Южно-Сахалинске требуют отменить

Самый титулованный российский теннисист Евгений Кафельников отмечает 50-летие

Елена Рыбакина узнала место в рейтинге WTA после финала крупного турнира

«На поздравление с днем рождения Сафин недавно ответил: “Спасибо, брат!” Евгению Кафельникову — 50 лет

Синнер сместил Медведева с третьего места в рейтинге ATP

Эксперты: Псковская область обогнала Москву по перспективности трудоустройства

Европопейская Армения 24 февраля митингует против России?

Евросоюз ест Ереван

Шапки женские зимние на Wildberries — скидки от 398 руб. (на новые оттенки)

Шапки женские вязаные на Wildberries, зима 2024 — новый цвет от 392 руб. (модель 466)

«Динамо» в овертайме дожало «Салават Юлаев»

Тверская область: ввозили кофе из Колумбии, картофель из Беларуси

«Спартак» после 0:3 в начале матча забросил 7 безответных шайб в ворота «Торпедо»

Главный врач Коломенской больницы принял пациентов из села Непецино в местной поликлинике

В Греции полиция задержала укравшую древнегреческие артефакты пенсионерку

58-летняя жертва телефонных мошенников из Москвы стала их сообщницей

О награждении государственными наградами Российской Федерации № 113

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости Russian.city
Алла Пугачёва

Алла Пугачева передумала продавать свою недвижимость в Москве

News Every Day

7 Behaviors Covert Narcissist Do

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости