by Sheri Urban
Taylor Swift dropped a new pro-LGBT video this week for “Pride” month — and it’s earned her blistering criticism from both the Left and Right.
And the criticism seems to be having one impact Swift could not have wanted: a slowing in the number of views on YouTube. The video is on track to be her most sparsely-viewed in years.
If you’re not one of the over 30 million people who have clicked on it already, here’s the trailer park-themed, pro-LGBT video telling all the (white trash) haters “You Need To Calm Down” over gay rights, or something:
The left-wing Cosmopolitan runs through some of the backlash the video has sparked online, particularly from the Left, over all the egregious stereotypes and counterproductive messaging in the video. “About halfway through the video, we are introduced to the anti-LGBTQ+ crowd protesting Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita’s fake wedding. Of course, they’re portrayed with about as much nuance as the lyrics of the song,” Cosmo notes, pointing out a shot of one of the gay marriage-protesting rednecks and one of the country bumbkins’ “ironic” signs declaring, “GET A BRAIN MORANS.”
“So [Taylor Swift’s] new song/video is calming down and not throwing shade yet she stereotypes the protesters…guess calming down only applies if you agree with her views,” wrote one “#disappointed” fan noted by the outlet. “Did she really need the lazy classist stereotype? Last time I checked, there were plenty of pretty polished people spewing intolerance too,” another disappointed pro-LGBT twitterer posted, a sentiment echoed by many others on the left. “The fact she really depicted anti-LGBT protestors as hicks? Girl, many are very privileged people in high places in society,” another wrote. “This issue is too important for caricatures.”
In a review for The Federalist, Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky provides a scathing run-down of the video’s “breathtakingly elitist” aesthetic:
To illustrate her LGBT pride anthem, Swift assembled the glitterati, casting them as the heroes of a utopian trailer park where her feud with Katy Perry ends, and ugly gay marriage protesters meet their match in a fabulous show of celebrity force. The set, of course, almost certainly cost more than what many people who make such places their home earn in a year. “Love letters only,” reads the side of one lily white mailbox in Swift World. (Where do the bills go?)
Her creativity mysteriously lapsed when it came time to cast the protesters, who look like they should be playing banjos in “Deliverance”: toothless, badly dressed, holding misspelled signs. “Control your urges to scream about all the people you hate,” Swift demands. “Cause shade never made anybody less gay.”
It’s all grotesquely elitist when you consider that she’s mocking people with less money while appropriating a trailer park lifestyle for three minutes of breezy, colorful fun. (Support for same-sex marriage declinesalong with income and education level.) Are there a lot of crazy people who yell at Swift on the Internet? Some, sure. But she went with a very specific type. The message is basically, “We’re beautiful and right; You’re poor and dumb.” If that sounds reductive or based on caricatures that would never be tolerated if used against the left’s pet identity groups, watch the video again.
Esquire‘s Justin Kirkland wasn’t impressed with Swift’s latest either, calling the video’s blurring of “the personal with the political” a “baffling parallel” that ultimately “misses the point of being an LGBTQ ally.” “Equating online haters with the personal and societal struggle of LGBTQ+ people is, at best, tone deaf,” writes Kirkland. The Atlantic‘s Spencer Kornhaber likewise slams the video’s “queasy double message” and stresses “the fear for many queer people” not just that “allies” like Swift “might profit off them” but that they “might change and defang what queerness means.”
On his podcast this week, The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh cites the heat Swift is taking from the Left for “not being pro-LGBT enough.” Instead of focusing much on the politics of the song, however, Walsh addresses how “aggressively bad” it is.
“It’s a song that smacks you upside the head with its awfulness and screams at you, ‘I’m awful!'” says Walsh. “It’s almost like you want to fall asleep and vomit at the same time … which is also really dangerous.”
Since coming out in support of Tennessee’s Democratic senatorial candidate in 2018, who went on to lose, Swift has increasingly promoted the progressive political agenda, particularly focusing on feminist and LGBT issues.
Amid the blowback, in an apparent attempt to help Swift’s case for being an effective LGBT “ally,” The Washington Post has provided a “running list of the LGBT icons” in her much-maligned video: