Travis, Tay Tay and bottling any further debate

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. PHOTO: USA TODAY
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. PHOTO: USA TODAY
Bottling Black Doris plums on a hot Dunedin day may not have been the best time to be reflecting on the phenomenon which is Taylor Swift. Just saying.

But even when I am not hot and bothered, I find it hard to get the whole Tay Tay thing.

Tay Tay! Couldn’t we give this mega-rich businesswoman and international superstar a grown-up sounding nickname?

Maybe we cannot cope with her having what was once considered a man’s Christian name. Is it a cute way for fans who think she is their best friend to refer to her, or is it infantilising?

Why don’t we call Elon Musk Ee Ee or Peter Thiel Pee Pee or even Jeff Bezos Gee Gee? I know. It’s tempting.

One of the academics attending the Swiftposium held recently in Australia predicts Taylor will be considered the greatest songwriter of her generation and one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

Maybe it’s because I am not the demographic she is aiming at, but her songs seem on a par with the pleasant but utterly forgettable offerings from Ed Sheeran, Six60 and modern Christian songs you might hear at a happy clappy church.

But hey, I have been criticised for my love of Randy Newman.

Start a casual conversation about Taylor, and even those who know little about her music gush about her business savvy and her determination to take control of her career.

Good on her. But what price does such all-encompassing fame extract from those subjected to it, even if they have actively pursued that fame?

I am not sure megabucks make up for losing your privacy and being seen as an oracle or role model on subjects from feminism to politics.

It’s similar to the way we regard top sports players. It is not reasonable to expect them to be all things to all people because they had lots of money thrown at them before they had a chance to grow up outside the public eye. It’s as if we expect that being good at one specific thing miraculously makes you wonderful at everything in life.

As writer Frederik Backman put it in The Winners: "Those of us who love sports don’t always love sportsmen and women. Our love for them is conditional on them being on our side, playing on our team, competing in our colours. We can admire an opponent, but we never love them, not the way we love the ones who represent us, because when ours win, it feels like we win too. They become symbols of everything we ourselves want to be.

"The only problem is that sportsmen and women never get to choose if they want that."

Does Taylor Swift have a choice in that aspect of her fame? Did she expect that when she started out? Would she consider it ungrateful to find it stultifying now she is a billionaire?

Trying to decide how much fame is too much is not something many people have to decide and perhaps if you are in a position to be faced with that question, the horse has bolted anyway.

Whether mainstream media give far too much attention to the rich and famous and the minutiae of their lives is another question which does not get enough scrutiny.

Yes, of course, Taylor fans are fascinated by her every move, including her attendance at her boyfriend’s football games, but do the rest of us really care?

But, since I have seen the footage of her boyfriend at the National Football League final pushing the coach around, and then the later clip of him saying "Come here, girl" as she was waiting patiently to congratulate him afterwards, the mumsy me is not impressed.

Is that fair? Do I know anything much about the guy? Is it any of my business? No, to all of that.

Could such overblown NFL coverage embolden extremist Trump supporters who are not on the Tay Tay train (or rather private jet) who have dreamed up a far-fetched conspiracy suggesting her connection to the footy is somehow part of a bid to get Joe Biden re-elected to the United States presidency?

It makes mumsy me uneasy. If only I knew the answers to any of this.

My pondering did not help the battling with the Black Doris plums. Most seals failed the first time, meaning I had to re-process those jars.

The second time round, the overcooked contents of one jar rebelled as I tried to tighten the screw top, dramatically spurting bloody coloured boiling juice which narrowly missed me before flowing over the bench and down the side of a cupboard.

The conspiracy theorists might have a field day with that.

But if it was a sign, it was merely of my ineptitude.

 - Elspeth McLean is a Dunedin writer.