Tags

, , , , , , , ,

a122

A case can be made that the American country singer Taylor Swift is the most beautiful woman in the world. A superstar and multi-millionairess at 24, the artist’s aesthetic is one of shining health, sexual sincerity and perfect symmetry. And with such perfection comes political power.

The genre which Swift until recently called her own – that of Country Music – is a cultural region exactly coterminous with middle and working class White America. It was the denizens of this region who sponsored Swift’s rise from local performer to global icon, and it is undoubtedly these same people who have over the past month (since the publication of Swift’s video for ‘Shake it Off’) complained of ‘betrayal’.

Swift, you see, has departed the straight-backed Caucasian domain of country for the relaxed, multi-racial world of millennial pop. The ‘Shake it off’ video features Swift holding a boombox stereo, wearing a baseball cap and making lyrical allusions to ‘haters’, ‘playas’ and ‘sick beats’. Nothing in the video is pornographic or offensive. Swift retains her class and restraint throughout, even as she is surrounded by twerking Africans (Some have even noted this contrast as evidence of a racist agenda behind Swift’s reinvention).

And yet still the comments flood onto YouTube and elsewhere, accusing the singer of having abandoned something; of having done ‘a Miley Cyrus’. I found one comment especially revealing:

“Why Taylor why! You were the last one to not give in. Theirs (sic) no one left now.”

While, as my tone would suggest, I’m not at all convinced that (unlike Cyrus) Swift has vulgarised herself – the song and video are both tasteful and enjoyable – I do perceive a familiar anxiety underpinning this kind of outrage.

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s elite. Not the day after tomorrow, but tomorrow. Swift’s generation (and mine) will one day be charged with deciding the direction of our civilisation. What you see in youth is a prophecy of the future.

The Africanisations of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber therefore have ethno-political implications. As does the (albeit less dramatic) cosmopolitanisation of the formerly White-as-snow Taylor Swift. Whiteness is everywhere declining, transforming from an advantage into a detriment.

When the comments talk of ‘giving in’, they are communicating a transparently racial anxiety; the uplift of blackness and the corresponding decline of Whiteness.

To remind you why this is happening, I will now use a quote from my own work I have recycled before:

“The centre of White gravity is now conspicuously old in America, and getting older. By this same trend, White culture has become ever more morally stiff and disconnected from younger generations. If you are young and White in America, you are, whilst not yet in an ethnic minority, most certainly in a cultural one.”

The short post from which this text is taken (Miley Cyrus and White Cultural Decline) is one the posts I am most proud of having written. It has a prophetic quality to it.

How complete its accuracy turns out remains to be decided.

D, LDN.

Advertisements