Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Swifties' Kindness vs. Haters' Hate (Travels in Edinburgh, Scotland)


“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off (hoo-hoo-hoo)
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off (hoo-hoo-hoo)”

-Taylor Swift lyrics in her song, Shake It Off

Dedicated super fans of Taylor Swift are known as Swifties. I must admit I have been a Swiftie since about 2008 when I started graduate school at Auburn University. I heard a new young talented voice on the radio being interviewed with Tim McGraw (because of Taylor’s song titled Tim McGraw). In the on-air conversation, McGraw was honored to have a song named after him.

As a dedicated Swiftie, I have been fortunate to see Taylor in concert on four occasions – the 1989 tour, the Red tour, the Reputation tour, and now the Eras Tour. When traveling through Scotland in June of this year, I saw Taylor on her third night in Edinburgh at Murrayfield Stadium (performing three nights in a row). It was amazing to share the experience with the Scottish Swifties! In my vast experiences with frequent concert attendance, musical artists rarely exceed a performance for over two hours. On each of these four tours that I have attended, Taylor performed for over three hours, giving fans the absolute best entertainment experience possible. In other words, she gives the concert performance her all without cutting the fans short.

The record for the most amount of people at a public event in Scotland was broken on Taylor’s first-night performance (Friday), and then again on her second night (Saturday), and then again on the third night (Sunday). Her first concert set the record and then broke it two more times.  

I witnessed the city of Edinburgh celebrate the achievements and arrival of Taylor Swift as a collective community with Swifties and non-super-fans. Stores sold fan gear. Coffee shops and known pubs made special drinks named after the artist. Signage was posted by fans all over the city. Swifties traded friendship bracelets, which is a common practice among the fan community. Some of these bracelets are quite intricate and require hours to make them. I did not make any friendship bracelets before my trip. However, some Swifties still gave me bracelets anyway, even though I did not have any to trade in return. These bracelets now serve as keepsakes for these new memories.

At the concert, other Swifties bought drinks for me without notice or me requesting them to do so. I saw Swifties helping other Swifties in long lines to enter the stadium or get food, practicing patience in the wait. In cramped public transportation going to the concert and leaving, I saw the same courteous actions (no pushing or shoving).

While recognized for musical accomplishments, Taylor is also known for her generous acts, her gratitude for the Swiftie fan base, and her financial contributions to worthwhile causes. On one occasion, she surprised a World War II veteran (96 years old) at his Christmas party with a personal performance for the entire family (Quinn, 2016). This demonstration of kindness was meant to honor the sacrifices of those who fought during these times. Through crowdfunding, Rosenbloom and Luhby (2024) quoted the following about Taylor in a CNN article: “In recent years, she has helped a boy with autism get a service dog, assisted with medical bills for a fan with cancer and a family struggling to make ends meet, pitched in to help two moms keep up with rent, and helped support a Covid widow with five children” (par. 18).

While in Edinburgh, I witnessed and experienced the kindness of other Swifties in the previously mentioned ways and more. Some of these individuals traveled from all over the world to attend this concert. As a movement of service, the kindness of Taylor Swift has spurred the kindness of Swifties helping each other. In other words, Swifties emulate Taylor’s example of kindness to the world. Kindness begets kindness. Thus, positivity begets positivity.

Relating to these kind acts, I recently posted a message on a social media profile about recent donations that Taylor Swift has made to food banks. It appears Taylor has made significant contributions to many food banks where she physically performed on the Eras tour in different European cities. As a response to this specific post, someone replied with the following quote:

“Compassionate and selfless? Have you listened to her music lately? If this were really true, NO ONE WOULD KNOW of her charity. No press releases, no attention.”

I found the quote unnecessary and unfounded. I chose not to respond. In other words, I chose not to add more negativity to an already negative statement. Taylor being Taylor, there is not much privacy for the most popular musician and performer in the world right now. Personally, I feel extremely fortunate to have attended her concerts because many Americans who desire to see the Eras Tour cannot afford the exorbitant ticket prices.

Think about the charity of a billionaire giving away millions of dollars to worthy causes. Whether acknowledged or not acknowledged by the media, these acts of service and financial donations likely help the people who need this assistance. The generosity of one human serving another human is a good thing. Negative sentiments like this quoted comment take away from the good being done for others in kindness. In other words, opinionated statements become the focus over the acts themselves.   

Therefore, why make fun of the good someone is doing for other people (publicly or privately)? Keep in mind this idea extends to all people doing good things…not necessarily only famous people. Rather than making fun, I try my best to respect the kindness of others. While many prefer a private donation, sometimes it gets out on the public record without the sole intention of gaining individualized media coverage.     

Relating to this reply, I sometimes find the negativity of social media and opinionated individuals exhausting. Negativity will breed more negativity and perhaps even animosity. Similar to radiant beams of light in a sunrise, positivity brings forth life. Thus, we experience nature’s alarm clock to feel positive vibes. Preferably, a kind action leads to another kind action, Thus, these kind actions create a friendly atmosphere like I experienced at the concert in Edinburgh. Swifties were serving each other instead of only thinking about themselves.

Like the quote states at the beginning of this article, oftentimes, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate,” no matter what you do. Taylor Swift has plenty of negative critics, including the person who posted this response. In Edinburgh and during the European leg of the Eras tour, kindness still abounds. I was blessed by other Swifties with this expressed kindness through positive words and positive actions. No negative social media posts or general news outlets are going to stop these kind actions from continuing. Like a Taylor Swift performance, measures of kindness continue as time moves forward with each new tour. With these Swifties and their love for Taylor Swift’s music, kindness keeps on going. Rather than the haters discrediting this kindness, maybe those same haters should actually set their feelings aside and do something good for someone else. The focus then shifts to the person being helped and serving others.  

 (This is a picture of me before the concert started.)

(Taylor’s accompanying dance team for the concert was terrific!)

(This photo shows a panoramic view of the entire stadium and concert.)


#TaylorSwift #Swifties #TheErasTour #ErasTour #Kindness #Services #Reputation #1989 #HatersGonnaHate #ShakeItOff