One thing I’ve learned throughout my travels is that celebrities are just like the rest of us, only with better jobs. And yet we never cease to be surprised when one of them snaps and does something “out of the ordinary.” Trust me, Britney Spears not wearing underwear is notable only for the fact that she’s sung a couple songs you’ve heard of, and isn’t somebody’s secretary.
But for all the crimes celebrities commit (drugs, shoplifting, armed robbery, drugs, assault, drugs, battery, drugs , prostitution and trying to give up a successful acting career to “concentrate on (their) music”), the one that doesn’t seem to come up is stalking. And I’m not talking about one of us invading a famous person’s privacy repeatedly or, God forbid, killing yourself after getting booted off a TV show. I mean when someone famous actually stalks someone else.
Why is that? Is it because they’ve already been successful and have no reason to be jealous of another person to the point of adoration and potential harm? Pshaw. If nothing else, it’s just statistically improbable that “unhealthy obsession” hasn’t come up yet.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I think we may soon have a winner: Teen singing/songwriting sensation Taylor Swift. Taylor is 19 years old (Yesterday was her birthday, as a matter of fact) and has two albums out, one country and a new one just country enough not to alienate her initial fanbase. By all accounts, she is a phenom, writing or co-writing all her songs, and being the most popular teenager on the music scene since … I don’t know, Hanson? Anyway, she’s had a bunch of hits and has nowhere to go but up.
But have you heard any of her music? I mean, really listened to the lyrics? There are some serious warning signs that should not be ignored. For instance, “Picture to Burn”:
So go and tell your friends that I’m obsessive and crazy
That’s fine; you won’t mind if I say
And by the way…
I hate that
Stupid old pickup truck
You never let me drive
You’re a redneck heartbreak
Who’s really bad at lying
So watch me strike a match
On all my wasted time
As far as I’m concerned you’re
Just another picture to burn
There’s no time for tears,
I’m just sitting here
Planning my revenge
There’s nothing stopping me
From going out with all of your best friends
And if you come around saying sorry to me
My daddy’s gonna show you how sorry you’ll be.
Did I mention she was only 16 when she wrote this? She’s had three more years of bitterness since then. Between songs such as this, “Should Have Said No” (sung to someone who cheated) and from her new album “You’re Not Sorry” (sung to an ex who, well, isn’t sorry he led her on). Taylor goes through a lot of boyfriends. And these are just the ones she’s written about. (Side note, I find it odd that there was recent conjecture about her being a virgin, with all these guys she’s had jilt her. Really? None of them? Or maybe that’s why there are so many, I don’t know.)
My personal favorite song (by Taylor Swift, not ever. Yet.) is “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Here, Taylor pines unrequitedly for Drew, a boy who, if her music video is to be believed, is her dreamy lab partner. If this song doesn’t smack of “restraining order waiting to happen,” I don’t know what does. In the end, Taylor decides to “put his picture down and maybe get some sleep tonight,” and cede her love to the infamous Other Woman (referred to in the song as “she”).
I can only imagine in the future, as Taylor and her songwriting mature and she has a few more failed romances under her belt (well, maybe not under her belt, per se), she won’t be content to keep getting cheated on, unceremoniously dumped or just plain not noticed. Oh no. She’s going to get one too many 25-second breakup calls from quasi-famous teen heartthrobs, and that’ll be it. She won’t just be burning pictures, she’ll be torching that guy’s house. She doesn’t just hate that stupid old pickup truck, she’s slashing holes in all four tires (now that should be a country song). And she’s not going to just be crying on that guitar. I’m thinking there’s going to be some Jimi Hendrix-style smashing over Drew’s head, until he either sees the error of his ways and goes out with Taylor, or succumbs to blunt force trauma.
Of course, Edward Furlong taught me that the future is not set, and there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. (Hey, why isn’t he stalking anybody? He doesn’t have anything better to do.) Taylor may find the right man for her and live happily ever after. But then what would she write about? I know: A song about how nobody thought their love would last, which will become a Top 10 hit, before her marriage ends in divorce a few short years later.