All You Are is Mean: T. Swift vs. Jokes
“All you are is mean
And a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean…”
These lyrics are from Taylor Swift’s insipid 2010 hit, “Mean.” However, in the last week these words have taken on additional meaning. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Swift had some harsh words for Golden Globe hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, saying that, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
A few things about this quote stand out to me:
- Swift attributed her quote to Katie Couric. However, Couric never actually said this; Madeline Albright did. It seems strange to me that someone could confuse a former host of The Today Show with a former Secretary of State. However, it also seems strange to me that someone could write a song called “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” so what do I know?
- This comment refers to a joke that Fey made at the Golden Globes when she said that Swift should “stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son.” This joke referred to Swift’s penchant for brief romances with celebrities—John Mayer and Jake Gyllenhaal are two of the most prominent names. It was also a fairly innocuous comment. If there were a list of the harshest jokes of the Golden Globes, during which there were no jokes that crossed the line, this one would probably rank only as the 8th or 9th harshest one (Seth MacFarlane could learn a thing or two).
- Fey and Poehler have inspired many women by shattering certain glass ceilings in the world of comedy and television. Whether you find 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation funny or not, this is an indisputable fact.
With these things in mind, it is pretty clear that Swift was being a little unreasonable and has a unique definition of the word, “Help.” For her part, Poheler’s response was characteristically witty, saying, “I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.” I don’t want to be “mean,” but if I had to pick a side in this argument in which the loser is confined to eternal damnation for not “helping” other women, the world will have to get used to a dearth of mediocre pop-country breakup songs.
P.S. T. Swift—Please refrain from insulting me in magazine interviews/one of your songs. I want to maintain relative anonymity as I go through law school.
Your friend (but not fan),