Shake It Off

taylor-swift-shake-it-off-video-falls-flat Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, singer and songwriter, sold 1.287 million copies of her new album last week. Swift is the first artist to have three albums sell one million copies; “Speak Now” in 2010, “Red” in 2012 and this album, “1989” in 2014. I love the featured song, “Shake It Off,” and want to wear a tutu and diamond tiara when I shake it off. I am thinking of dying my hair platinum blonde and getting some feathers. She makes listening to a boom box and wearing a hoodie look cool. I love that she cannot jump high and how she embraces the failure to complete a proper curtsey with nonchalance.

Watching the video, I feel fourteen again, back in high school, and sitting in study hall. It is the first day of school; Mary Ellen Knefley on her way to sharpen a pencil, drops a note on my desk. The note details what Lillian St. Clair is saying about me, and that I am not liked. I care less, rip the note into pieces, and with a boom box balanced on my shoulder sing my way to the wastebasket.

Needless to say, I did not have many friends in high school. I was not cool like Taylor Swift, but I did know to disregard other people’s stupidity, unlike the youth of today who put their fragile ego in other people’s hands.

Well, I did have a best friend, Liz, but we did not talk about stupid notes. We talked about boys, the Beatles and JFK saving the world.

In a recent interview with Gayle King, Taylor Swift talked about MBF’s, and said best friends share a passion for what they do and do not get upset if you do not phone them every day. This young woman is not only cool but also smart. After fifty-three years, Liz and I are still best friends although we do not talk everyday or even once a year, some years.

I love this song, and thrilled that Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan parody her in a spoof.  Their joint efforts make a successful anti-bullying campaign. Yes, bullying is complicated; more serious and damaging than ever, and cannot be prevented by singing. However chanting, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm us,” helped me. In addition, the line was clearly drawn in the schoolyard, anyone caught fighting was mean, and thrown out of school.

The only thing new about bullying is how extreme it has become, so extreme there are claims of bullying to death. Our local newspaper headlined a story about school age girls in a street brawl. A 9-1-1 phone call alerted police who said there were over 100 spectators and that they are investigating.

Has bullying becoming a spectator sport or does Taylor Swift have a better suggestion?

                                                                                       …just saying
 Rolling Stones Magazine “The Reinvention of Taylor Swift”

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