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Taylor Swift Is Just the Latest Subject in a Long History of Pop Conspiracy Theories

By Jesse Walker (The Atlantic)February 9, 2024,

As weird as the conspiracy theory may sound, it’s just a few short hops away from a rather popular way of thinking about culture

You’d have to go back to the peak years of Bob Dylan’s cultural relevance, when one critic cum stalker started searching the songwriter’s garbage for clues about his lyrics, to find a musician who attracts as many amateur code breakers as Taylor Swift does. Swift has fed the frenzy by declaring that her songs, her liner notes, her social-media posts—basically everything around her—might have hidden meanings embedded in them. As she told The Washington Post in 2022, she and her fans have “descended into color coding, numerology, word searches, elaborate hints, and Easter eggs.”

That scavenger-hunt mentality can lead would-be decoders in directions the singer might not prefer, as with the “Gaylors” who search for signals that Swift is secretly queer. Now a different subculture is getting in on the act: A chunk of the GOP has been conjuring alleged evidence that Swift is a deep-state psy-op, and that maybe—we’re just asking questions here—the NFL is in on it. [...]

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