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The new popular opiate is Taylor Swift


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    Karl Marx, 19th-century German philosopher and patron saint of freeloaders everywhere, once wrote something roughly translated into English that stated "religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

    Marx asserted that people would flock to progressive politics if they didn't waste their time going to church and, you know, focusing on all that "God" stuff. 

    Sure, sure, I can pick up what Karl was putting down: Human beings caught up in the throes of religious fervor pin their hopes on a promised, unseen eternal reward in the next life instead of demanding more in this life from the wealthy fat cats lighting cigars with $100 bills while paying them paltry wages for working their fingers to the bone.

    Well, here in the 21st century, we have laws governing wages, workplace safety, health insurance coverage and child labor, so if Karl were alive today, maybe he could give the whole "socialism is awesome" spiel a rest.

    He might also have the last laugh, though. Church membership is dwindling to the point that the number of people regularly attending religious services will soon equal the number of people who use AOL to access the internet. And it only gets worse.

    Crime, inflation, war, social and political strife — you name it, we've got it. Of course, like the God-fearing, patriotic Americans that came before us, we'll put our faith in our chosen leaders to steer us back onto the path of peace, prosperity and domestic harmony, right? 

    Of course, we won't. 

    The burning clown car that is Washington, D.C., only serves as a source of frustration and entertainment. Whether pulling fire alarms in the Capitol or engaging in heavy-petting sessions at an off-Broadway musical, our elected officials are finding new and exciting ways to humiliate themselves and their constituents.

    Since more than 154 million Americans voted in the last presidential election, you'd think politicians would be concerned about getting re-elected after taking part in their loathsome antics. That's where Taylor Swift comes in.

    T-Swizzle — who according to Google, has won 11 Grammy awards, broken 58 Guinness World Records and is "besties" with the singing troll doll known as Ed Sheeran — has captured the hearts and short attention spans of countless Americans in a way few popular entertainers have.

    Swifties, as her fans call themselves, will be lining up at theaters next week to watch her eagerly anticipated concert film. Her current tour has earned, like, a bazillion dollars and inspired overindulgent parents to take out second mortgages to pay for tickets. You can even take a Taylor Swift course at a New York City college. Ever wonder what a pro football team owned by T-Swizzle would look like? Artificial intelligence has your answer.  

    If all that wasn't enough, the "fearless" journalists at Rolling Stone magazine are reporting that "Dancing with the Stars" is planning a Taylor Swift Week. Try not to trip and hurt yourself as you're running to set your DVR. (Between you and me, I think those Rolling Stone reporters should be writing about more important subjects like UFOs.)

    If you took a walk down Main Street, stopped someone at random and asked them to give you the name of the man who was recently booted from his job as Speaker of the House of Representatives — a first in American history — do you think they could tell you? What if you asked them to name the football player Taylor Swift is dating?

    Yeah, I know. The thought makes you want to stock up on canned ravioli and those radios powered by a hand crank. Oh well. America was fun while it lasted. We had a good run. Maybe K-Mizzle was right all along about capitalism. I wonder what Taylor Swift would think.

    Mark Birdsall is a huge Kanye West fan as well as the assistant editor of the Huron Daily Tribune. Email him at  [email protected].

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