There are some really, really lazy plot devices in modern cinematography and culture, and I know you all know what I mean: Need to provide character development and background insights on your angry female lead? Don’t work too hard, just throw in a quick sexual assault.
Want to rebrand your image as serious, dark and edgy? Go Goth. Looking at you there, Taylor Swift. Yep, America’s favourite self-perpetuating victim has apparently “gone Goth,” in the wake of (but in no way related to, I am sure) her whole outing as a lying manipulative liar by (much as it pains me to write it) Kim Kardashian.
LOLZ DA FUQ IS THIS!?
For them as don’t know the back story (which I will totally forgive you for, given the cast of the
whole sorry shitshow) Kanye West called up Tay last year to tell her he was going to reference her in one of his new tracks prior to its release, and ask her if she was cool with that – which she was. However, despite Ms. Swift’s professional victim persona (and to be fair it was kind of a gift, beginning as it did with her interrupted VMA speech in 2009, when even I felt bad for the girl) underneath the blonde hair and wide blue eyes lies the heart of a cold, calculating businesswoman whose image is her bank; something she has proven willing to maintain at any cost.
The sheer length of time during which she has gotten away with the whole kitten act whilst simultaneously working behind the scenes to cut the throats of anyone who stands in her way or who might serve as a springboard to further enhance her image, regardless of how it affects anyone else, almost beggars belief.
But I refer you back once again to the blonde haired, blue eyed ultra-femme white girl act, and tell me that you don’t see this shit happening every day of your life if you open your eyes.
Unfortunately for Tay, when she decided to hone her sights on Kanye once more – low-hanging fruit, given their history and the eternal narrative of the innocent white victim being done wrong by the beefy black guy – she found herself inadvertently tangling with another powerful woman who was not going to let that shit stand, in the form of the aforementioned Kim K.
As anyone might expect from a family that lives their whole life in the public eye, Kim just happened to be recording that call between Kanye and Tay – and when Tay completely about-faced in public and again started pass-agg painting Kanye as the villain once more, Kim blew her out of the water with the kind of understated class and style that it pains me to acknowledge came from the Crown Princess of the Social Media Industrial Complex.
Left with nowhere to go from there – caught out, bang to rights, pulling a shady stunt – Taylor went quiet. Really, really quiet – and then reappeared, having apparently reinvented herself as an edgy dark evolution of little girl lost in the interim.
Except no one’s buying it… I mean, seriously. This is dress up. Goths just… Don’t look like that. The face is wrong, and it’s neither the nature of her face itself, nor the make-up… It’s just the lack of… Meaning. Anything. Anything that is not a costume.
The video for a song she released earlier this year “Look What You Made Me Do” (which says it all, really…) immediately got fans and foes alike talking about her new Goth/Emo look and styling and “Bad Girl” image, to which I have to say… Have you ever met an actual bad girl!? Mate, no
She would appear to have taken some PR advice at some point too, as her upcoming November album release (“Reputation”) would appear to take some ostensibly self-deprecating pot-shots at herself, with visuals including a tombstone engraved with “Here lies Taylor Swift’s reputation.”
In fact, the whole album, based on her form when it comes to dragging ex boyfriends and anyone else she happens to be beefing with at the time would seem to be directly aimed once more at Kanye – who let’s just be clear, I have no particular love for either – in the style of victim girls everywhere who just don’t know when they’re beat.
So, given my general ambivalence-come- disinterest in all of the major players in the tale of the slow fall of Taylor Swift, why do I give enough of a shit to write a whole blog post about Tay’s new lazy- assed “Gothic look” and the bullshit manoeuvring that got us here?
Lemme tell you real quick.
Taylor’s whole narrative of hapless, helpless good girl being dragged repeatedly by the big bullying fella no longer rings true, when you look at the background context of Taylor’s white privilege and her easy portrayal of Kanye as the supervillain black man.
It’s a salacious and trashy novel designed to deliver cheap thrills to only the laziest, most bigoted or uniformed of would-be fans – which is an unfortunately large number of people.
Now, Tay’s character development and persona is supposed to portray a woman who has evolved and pulled herself from victimhood and stood tall, who has learned a few things along the way. She is prepared to re-brand herself from the ashes of the ingenue Swiftie that endured for many more years than it had any right to, into the self-mocking dark sister who became a product of her treatment, and environment, and toughened up. And she expects the public to eat it up wholesale.
Except we’re shitting it all back out again too, because it’s all a lie. Swift’s persona, public image and when it suits her, shameless cultural appropriation are no more than plot devices in her narrative, strings that she pulls and puppets she controls to put on a show for the world around her.
Goth Taylor Swift is nothing more than another chapter in her penny dreadful – which most of the actual Goths that Vice Magazine asked were very clear about – those that even knew who she was, anyway, which was madly gratifying in its own right too.