A Word About the Taylor Swift Super Bowl Conspiracy Theory

This year I made a new-to-me resolution: to try to consume new art as it debuts. Because you see, I am the opposite of an early adopter. I like to wait 5 to 10 years after something comes out to see if it’s worth checking out. Like, a few weeks ago I started Fargo. The TV show, not the movie. I’m not quite that behind. Only ten years, not 18. My review: pretty good! But in Season 3, Ewan McGregor’s accent is so bad that I watched half the first episode assuming he was just using his normal Scottish accent. It would have been fun to discuss that with other people in 2017 when it happened but oh well, that’s what the resolution is for.

Anyway I am now totally plugged in, which is how I know that Taylor Swift is a person who makes music and has a new album coming out this year. And I am very excited to give a spin to…The Tortured Poets Department? Jesus Christ. Okay no, I’m sorry I’m not doing that. I’m out.

Look, I know I’m going to lose subs for this but I absolutely refuse to give a shit about Taylor Swift. I don’t hate her, I don’t blame people who are fans of hers–some of whom are my very good friends!–I just put her in the same category as pickleball and Pete Buttigieg and Ted Lasso and no, I won’t explain why all those things are in the same category for me. They just are. It’s vibes.

Unlike pickleball, though, I do have a really hard time avoiding Taylor Swift. This was already getting more and more difficult due to our collective overwhelming monoculture, but it became truly impossible a few months ago when Swift started dating Travis Kelce, the incredibly talented tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I enjoy watching football even though bla bla bla concussions bla bla bla corporate greed bla bla domestic violence amongst players etc.

Suddenly, every Chiefs game, there would be occasional shots of Taylor Swift celebrating her boyfriend from the luxury boxes, and I thought, “Oh, that’s sweet.” Why was I not outraged, despite always avoiding Taylor Swift? Because I think it’s nice when people like each other and cheer for them. That’s it. I watch a lot of pro sports, and whenever there’s a celebrity in the stands they show them on screen. Usually it’s just, like, Jack Nicholson looking like a constipated toad at a Clippers game. Boring! Some pop star hugging her boyfriend’s mom? Cute. Perfectly acceptable. Who cares.

The answer to that not-actually-a-question is, of course, Republicans. Republicans care. You see, for one thing, Taylor Swift has previously encouraged her fans to vote. As we know, Republicans hate this, because most people who vote vote for Democrats and gerrymandering and the electoral college can only get them so far. Second of all, Taylor endorsed Joe Biden in 2020. That’s a thing I learned against my will: pop stars now make official endorsements of political candidates and we report on them like they’re coming from the ACLU or the NRA. In 2016 Lil Yachty endorsed Bernie Sanders, did you know that? I didn’t know that until I was writing the script for this video and first I thought, “Who is a funny popular musician to make a joke about them endorsing someone” and my first thought was “Lil Yachty” and then I went to his Wikipedia page to figure out who would be the funniest endorsement for him and I scrolled down and right there at the top of the “Personal Life” section is “In a 2016 interview for CNN, Yachty expressed support for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, and praised Sanders for his work during the civil rights movement.” Like, that’s how bad this all is, I can’t even make a joke about famous musicians endorsing presidential candidates because apparently they all really do it.

Anyway so yeah, Swift encouraged fans to register to vote, endorsed Biden, oh and one more thing, she’s a woman. Republicans, and a lot of other people to be honest, really fucking hate women. And they hate them even more when a woman gets multiple seconds of screen time in the middle of an event where they do not belong, like sports. According to someone at the New York Times with not enough on their to do list, Taylor Swift has received less than 25 seconds of screen time per 3+-hour game. But unlike celebs like Jack Nicholson appearing on the screen constantly throughout a basketball game and even storming onto the court like a demented grandpa angry that the UPS guy rolled over his flower bed while turning around, those shots of Taylor were simply unbearable.

All of this has combined with the fact that conservatives, for reasons unknown, continue to be very angry that scientists developed a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, and that Travis Kelce was hired to promote people getting booster shots. It’s been a few years now and the alt right just cannot comprehend the fact that all of us who got vaccinated have not, in fact, imploded or turned into zombies or “died suddenly,” and so instead of reckoning with that they’ve decided to just forge ahead, considering basic trust in science to be “liberal” and also “deadly.” Like, you should see some of the comments on my old videos encouraging people to get vaccinated–dudes are still posting things like “lol this didn’t age well” and it’s like…what dimension are you living in? It did age well! I still haven’t gotten COVID! A lot of people are alive because of the vaccines! But yeah, in whatever dimension they ARE living in, a bunch of people have died from the vaccine and so Travis Kelce is, obviously, a war criminal.

All of this has combined to make the perfect storm of very stupid conspiracy theories. Here’s how it goes: the Biden administration and possibly the Pentagon have hired on Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and the NFL as a whole to act as “assets” to steal the 2024 election from Donald Trump. People like Fox News’ Jesse Watters have implied or outright said that Swift and Kelce’s relationship isn’t even real–Watters, as a reminder, is the guy who got his current wife to date him by deflating her tires so she would get in his car, while he was still married to his first wife who was at home raising their twin babies, so if there’s one thing he knows, it’s true romance.

Those same conservative conspiracy theorists have decided that this also means the NFL has fixed the season and the Super Bowl in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been in three of the past four Super Bowls and won two of them. But I guess this year they needed some help. And to appeal most to the bleeding heart liberals they’re courting, the NFL, of course, chose to fix things in favor of one of the few remaining professional sports teams with a racist name. You know, just ‘cuz. And at the end of the game, Super Bowl winner Travis Kelce will kneel down before all the cameras and propose to Taylor Swift, who will gleefully accept before removing her coat to reveal that she’s wearing a sparkly leotard printed with Joe Biden’s face. She will announce “Vote for Joe Biden,” and then peel off the leotard to reveal that she is actually a lizard person just like Alex Jones and David Icke always said. Then Travis Kelce will die of vaccine-induced cardiomyopathy and Taylor will plunge her claw into his chest cavity, removing his still-beating heart and taking a giant bite out of it like it’s an apple.

I’m only exaggerating a little bit. “I wonder who’s going to win the Super Bowl next month,” Xitted Vivek Ramaswamy. “And I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. Just some wild speculation over here, let’s see how it ages over the next 8 months.”

I thought it was particularly funny of Ramaswamy to claim that the NFL is part of this vast conspiracy, considering that he is the second most popular political candidate for NFL team owners to donate to according to Okay, that’s not a lot of money but it is interesting to note that NFL team owners give overwhelmingly to Republican candidates. In 2020, NFL team owners and their spouses “donated $4.2 million to politicians and PACs (as of a month before the election), with 85 percent ($3.6 million) going to Republicans.” From 2016 to 2020, just one NFL team owner donated nearly $54,000 to Republicans. That owner? Clark Hunt, of the Kansas City Chiefs.

He didn’t stop there, either. In September of 2021 it appears he gave $5,000 to Ron DeSantis, in November $5,000 to Greg Abbott, in March of 2022 he gave about $6,000 to Ron Johnson, then in April about $3,000 to Josh Hawley, and in October of 2022 he donated to Lindsey Graham, Lisa Scheller, Eric Schmitt, Brandon Williams, Jen Kiggans, Ted Budd, Tom Kean, and Adam Laxalt. Weird, they all have little “R”s next to their names, and all of them seem to really love Trump, even to the point of trying to overthrow democracy itself to reinstate him as our fascist dictator. Cool political contributions, Clark Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs!

It’s weird, then, that he would willingly go along with this obvious conspiracy to convince millions of Taylor Swift fans to vote for Joe Biden! It’s like he’s just throwing money away!

And now that I think of it, one could express the same shock at Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL who must have been the one to rubber stamp this deal with the Pentagon. I mean, I know at first it might make perfect sense because Roger Goodell is so obviously a progressive liberal: just a normal 64-year old guy who makes $64 million a year, which is how much you would make if your 40-hour-a-week job paid you $31,000 an hour. But some rich people are Democrats, so that doesn’t mean much. He’s still just a normal guy, who happened to marry a Fox News host, whose dad was the White House Chief of Staff for George H.W. Bush. But his own dad was a famous Republican politician who got pushed out of office for not being conservative enough, so that’s something that may have rubbed off on him, right? He’s just a normal guy who set up a lobbying group that spends millions of dollars each year for access to Congress, and yes they are biased towards Republicans but not by much and usually only during presidential election years, like this year is. But otherwise they buy both our Republican AND Democrat representatives in order to push their agenda, and that’s fair, isn’t it?

But when you look deeper, you see that there’s a slim chance Goodell isn’t as unbiased as you first thought! For instance, there was that time that despite all the money they were given by the NFL, Congress still wrote a report that found a “long-standing pattern of attempts” on the part of Goodell’s organization to interfere with research on concussions.

Also there was that time in 2015 that Republican congress critters invited Goodell to a week of meetings in which he would advise them on their strategy for the upcoming election, a move mocked by this reporter for the Guardian who emphasized that Hilary Clinton’s win was a rumored inevitability.

But hey, none of these data points can fully debunk this otherwise bulletproof conspiracy theory being spread by actual elected politicians and media personnel with audiences in the millions. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens at the Super Bowl. As a resident of the Bay Area, it’s my duty to cheer for the 49ers, but I have to say, I wouldn’t be mad if things take a turn for the reptilian heart-eating conspiracy. I mean…American democracy could depend on it.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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