Hataz: A Reconsideration
by Roland Barph
What exactly "is" Taylor Swift? A person? A delusion? An hallucination of the collective conscious?
However dreamed into being, Taylor Swift (re)reminds us via reification of all that which we cannot, indeed, just shake off. She is the summation of our fears rendered into a slick, plastic package, the disharmonious outcry of the id rendered listenable by an overbearing and compulsory electronic "hook."
In function, then, Taylor Swift is not an individual, nor is she an object; Taylor Swift is a verb.
"To Taylor Swift" should by all rights be an expression as common to the tongue as it is to the twerk. Taylor Swift can only be measured kinesthetically, in Newton-meters, in pounds of static thrust. The power Taylor Swift has over our minds is approximately as rational as dreams interpreted over toast and jam: we try to obliterate it with Le Monde and the chatter of the TV news. Alas, nothing will do; there is no recourse but to retreat into Taylor Swift, a sort of mesmerism, the popification of a psychological St. Vitus' dance.
Necessity is bound up in it: the "gotta" that the hataz gotta do: tautology as logic model, a "musical" reversion to the mean.
We cannot blame this on the corporeal Ms. Swift, whose pursuit of her status is as direct an atavism as we're all after: to be rendered back into elemental principles, freed of the tyranny of the particular. No, Ms. Swift is out of this, and once Taylor Swift as an action has run its course, she shall be ejected from her primal status to once again suffer among the living.
To think too deeply about Taylor Swift is to defeat the purpose. Perhaps "purpose" is too strong a word. The truncation into "phenom" has developed in order to help us understand what happens when things like Taylor Swift [happen]. This shortening of "phenomenon," however, may place what happens here within too objective a context. Though equally inexplicable as Taylor Swift, most phenomena are observed, but, as of yet, incompletely accounted for. Taylor Swift is fully accounted for, but impossible to explain. Taylor Swift, then, proves that anything can be capitalized upon, even it it cannot be fully explained. The reach of capitalism, like all other faiths, moves beyond itself into the realm of the metaphysical. And so, in Taylor Swift, we unexpectedly find the reason socialism has never made significant inroads in The West: concerned only with material conditions, it offers little to stimulate the deep, if illusory, meaning of the waking dream. Pop music may never lift significant numbers of people out of poverty and oppression, but poverty is preferable for significant numbers to putting at risk one's access to popular music.
Hataz, indeed, gotta/gonna. Within the verb that is Taylor Swift inheres an existential positioning, a demarcation and, in that, an insulation, survival in the shaking off. The dance of a million music videos is the dance of the dialectic of the self/other (other/self). When encountered on our screens, the dance is micro/cosmic, a (re)minder of our own positionality when all around crests the illusion of subsuming; it is a re/calling in an era defined by the atomization of the text.
Taylor Swift offers, in her very corpus, a solution, a dissolve.
Through the blocking of a scene, a director creates the implications of another world. Not a dream but an upholding. Into this plastic realm, as inevitable as the weather, Taylor Swift.
We are able to both imagine a world without her and assume its impossibility: there is no time outside of Taylor Swift; Taylor Swift is the un(m)asked question, the tweet that keeps reappearing in your feed. Wittgenstein might consume himself in the unresolved issue of every iteration of Taylor Swift; each is yet unique and impossibly the same. Taylor Swift is its own internally consistent semiotics.
Equivalencies dance on the head of a PIN.
As we complete the cycle, we are re/mixed, and, the hataz notwithstanding, at least she isn't Pitbull.