Who Do You Follow? – Mimetic Theory, Politics, and Taylor Swift

Suzanne Ross and Adam Ericksen talk about the latest Taylor Swift controversy, politics, and mimetic theory. 

Taylor Swift encouraged her fans to vote. On Instagram she gave her recommendations about who Tenesseans should vote for.

This is a new move because Swift has been apolitical through her career. Interestingly, this has allowed different groups to project their own views onto Swift. One was a white supremacist group, who saw her as the ideal woman who secretly supported their cause through her music.

Swift says she discussed her political views because she no longer cares what people think about her politics and wants the freedom to speak up.

She encouraged her fans to get informed about the issues and vote. She also stated that she was against Republican candidates and for the Democratic candidates.

Conservative commentators have criticized her decision. Some have said they would rather she stick to singing than be involved in politics. This is similar to when Laura Ingram said Lebron James should just stick to dribbling a basketball. But liberals often want conservative musicians and stars to stop talking about politics. What liberal doesn’t want Kanye West or Ted Nugent to just stop already? So, this isn’t a conservative or liberal thing. It’s a human thing, where each side mimics the other in a move to control what the other can or can’t say.

… we are imitating one another’s desire to be the one who is being imitated.

Who Do You Follow

After Taylor Swift encouraged her fans to register to vote, 102,000 people under age 30 registered with vot.com. She holds incredible influence over her fans. This influence can be conscious, but it is often unconscious.

Social media has made us very open to being “followers.” Who do you follow is an important question. As a parent, we don’t typically tell our children to be followers. We want them to be leaders. We want our boys for being alpha-males, but that is a tough life to live because you will always have other alpha-males trying to take the title from you.

We all want to be the model of desire. We don’t want to admit that our desires are learned or borrowed from others. We might go out to vote because someone we admire told us to. But this following can also happen with people we are against. This often looks like the opposite of imitation, like I’m rejecting your perspective. But we are imitating one another’s desire to be the one who is being imitated. We can look completely different, but at the level of desire to dominate or to be right and to be the one that the other submits to and follows, you are the same.

The Olive

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How To Be Informed

Being informed means getting other opinions and being influenced by experts whom we follow. Then we can decide which decision we are aligned with. We will never be completely free from influence. We depend on one another to feel connected to a sense of community. So we are always under influence. The question is, “Whose influence?”

Swift encouraged her fans to get informed and vote. But the problem is that all the issues are infected with mimetic rivalry. There is so much conflicting information because we’re wanting to win, that the truth often gets lost.

The best strategy is to be aware. One strategy is to scan headlines from articles from mainstream issues and see what the hot topic is. Be aware that what we are reading is coming from a rivalrous situation. The system is infected with rivalry. But the truth is out there. Don’t lose hope. Keep up the search!