Keep “Swift” in Swiftmas”
Blast me if you want, but this post is to encourage myself and all of us, to constantly think about everything from the movies we watch, to Facebook trends we read, not just take them at face value. Just because something looks or sounds good, does not mean it is good. Somebody has to ask the questions and add to the conversations.
I have heard of keeping Christ in Christmas, but what about keeping Swift in Swiftmas? Recently, there has been a video that is going viral about Taylor Swift giving gifts along with detailed cards to unsuspecting fans. The video begins with words to the sound of a faux typewriter, providing background information for the proceeding display of Swift’s charity, making sure we are aware of what a charitable person she is. Once the text leaves, Taylor Swift appears, not just by herself, but with mounds, upon mounds of presents, that will be sent to her fans. A montage of Swift wrapping the gifts ensues, then a transition takes place, showing clips of her fans unwrapping them, crying, blubbering, all in thankfulness to Taylor Swift and how great she is.
I have no problem with charity, let me just put that out there. What I have a problem with is the pedestal we as Christians (the world does it too, but they have an excuse) put celebrities on when they do something charitable. First of all, for most of these celebrities, it really is no sweat off their back to give. Sure, it is helpful that they do so, but most of the time it really is not going out of their way to do so. What boggles my mind the most about this video though, is she does not seem to be meeting a need. As each of the girls who received the gifts on the screen appeared, what struck me about them was how middle, some even high, class they seemed. I was expecting to at least to see people who were needy, not those whose needs already appeared to be met. One video even showed a young woman, sitting in front of a Christmas tree that had presents filled all around its base. Okay, if you are a celebrity, at least drop money where money is need, on causes like relief efforts, social injustice, diseases, etc., not on something like this. Yes you might say “but she is doing a meaningful act of charity” to which I ask, is she really? Yes, these people might be emotionally happy in the moment, but if validation from a celebrity is that they need to deal with their problems, for fulfillment, they are in more trouble than what Taylor Swift can help them with. Also, if Taylor Swift were really concerned about being charitable, why is she being so public about it? Could she not have sent gifts anonymously, met needs without all the fanfare? I would say that the amount of good publicity this video is giving her, the positive image she has received from this display of charity, is financially worth more than any money or time she spent on gifts. She is one hell of a business woman, I will give her that. Why else would you make such a public spectacle over your charity? She did something nice, awesome, but is it really worth giving her as much praise as what she is getting?
My biggest beef about this is with Christians and how we will share and build up a story like hers, while so many believers work goes unnoticed. Taylor Swift might have shared temporal gifts, but she is not sharing the gift that is eternal. We are constantly exposed to missionaries, and people in ministry, who are doing true acts of charity, yet we do not make as big of a fuss about them. Is it because Taylor Swift is young, attractive, and famous, and they are not? Or do we just get bored about hearing the work people are doing for Christ, so we shift our attention elsewhere? If you want to support and praise Taylor Swift for her charity, do it, but make sure you are giving the same amount of attention to the Christian work you are exposed to also.
As I stated at the beginning, the goal of this post is simply that we think beyond the surface of what we read, see, and hear. Maybe I am right about Taylor Swift, maybe I am wrong, it is not my place to convince you either way. In this post I wanted to do nothing more than present the conclusions I came to, in hopes that you would come up with you own.