by Rachel Long
assistant opinion editor
Taylor Swift shows a masterful understanding of satire in the recently released music video for her song Blank Space from her newest album 1989, in which she rocks the music world with the ’80s vibe of the song and the debutant-chic feel of the video. Declared a film directed by Joseph Kahn at the beginning, it combines whimsical and overly dramatized romantic images to create a picture of the freedom and childlike innocence of a socialite’s world. The video features a montage of Swift entertaining an impossibly good-looking man (the world’s top male model according to Models.com) in a palatial home.
The shots feature the couple having a carefree love affair: Swift is holding an innocent white kitten and lounging in bed surrounded by fluffy white sheets in a white marble room, flanked by two white horses and; descending a staircase gracefully to meet her guest; the two dining across from one another, elegantly dressed and separated by a long table. The setting and clothing drive home the “new money” image in the song Blank Space. Some of the more romantic images come when the two are dancing in a ballroom together, riding bikes through a living room, and in an image showing Swift painting a portrait of her lover while he poses.
Swift and her beau walk with their pack of Dobermans, ride horses together and carve their names in a tree with a heart around them. Swift punctuates her lyrics “we’re young and reckless” with an innocent shot of the couple running through a garden in slow motion, smiling as Swift is chased by her man. This image contrast sharply with the images used later to depict their “restlessness,” in which Swift tears down all of the images created in the beginning of the video, just as she tears down the image imposed on her as an innocent, thoughtless young blueblood.
The next time Swift says they’re “young and reckless,” we see why her “long list of ex-lovers” calls her insane: she has cut up all his clothes and dropped his cell phone in a fountain. She quickly switches gears from pure, almost childlike flirting, to the exaggerated “crazy ex-girlfriend” façade also imposed on her. Swift acts out in what I can only imagine is an extremely cathartic embracing of all the stereotypes that she has to deal with every day. She not only accepts her titles as both innocent and insane, she revels in the freedom of expressing the extremes that she has come to embody.
Swift does not stoop to correct the public’s distorted perceptions of herself. Instead, she turns to satire and mocks everything that she is presumed to be. She is telling us, yes, sometimes I go crazy, but don’t we all? She stands up for everyone who has been dubbed a “crazy ex” just because they are emotional over a break up. This video asks us to look at the titles we have given Swift—and every person who we deem insane because they openly express great emotion—and ask ourselves if it’s fair. She’s not as overdramatic as she has been labeled. She’s mature enough—and ballsy enough—to create this satirical work of modern art in which she not only entertains the viewer in a unique way, but uses this work as a way to express the invalidity of the stereotypes she breaks. This video is a milestone of Swift’s continued growth as a person and an artist.