Taylor Swift as we knew her is dead — at least that’s the marketing message Swift has built her music and her videos around this past year.
Just in time for Halloween, Swift dropped her new music video, “…Ready for It” at the stroke of midnight this past Friday. Depending on one’s interpretation, the production is either a trick or a treat.
There’s an interesting compilation of various themes throughout the video. Swift struts through a line of masked guards in a dominatrix-like ensemble that is topped off with a hooded Jedi robe. She then meets her own nude image, which appears to be a cyborg or robot Taylor.
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There are illusions of the Swift machine transforming into an armored weapon, riding on a horse — and then finally the barrier between the Swifts is broken, one destroying the other, or maybe setting her free. Some reviews called the video sexy and praised Swift for her newfound creative freedom. But what exactly would Swift be freeing herself from? Success? The implied curse of being a role model for young women? It’s hard to tell.
What this writer found most interesting, aside from the desperate attempt at creativity, is that the video has a bit of a demonic edge to it.
Swift’s eyes flash to a Technicolor blue. A snake-like creature slithers under the skin of her face. At the climax of the song, she climbs to an elevated platform that has been graffitied with “they’re killing all the witches.” She lifts her arms in a cross-like position, a somewhat sacrilegious gesture, as lightning bolts flash out of her.
It seems an attempt at mimicking Christ’s crucifixion.
Is Swift’s video demonic? Certainly not to the extreme of other music videos of the 1980s and 1990s. But these touches of darkness are now so mainstream, and as one watches the video, it seems less and less shocking and more ho-hum. Our society has embraced what was once considered taboo. It is the normalization of evil.
We as a culture are accustomed to seeing satanic influences and accepting them as such. After all, there are now satanic after-school clubs and lawsuits to put Beelzebub statues next to the Ten Commandments on state property. Should we be surprised by the lack of surprise over what is now considered tame demonic symbology?
The Bible is clear that the devil exists. The devil makes every effort to thwart truth and deflect the light of God. Satan is not a joke or a myth. Therefore, we should be cautious about making light of his influence. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
He goes on to describe the necessity for Christians to put on the full armor of God. Christians need armor because there is literally a spiritual war around us at all times.
When we ignore the existence of God as Creator and Lord, the gateway to hell is left wide open. The difference between right and wrong is blurred — and the real consequences of sinfulness have an opportunity to take hold.
For whatever reason, Taylor Swift seems to be separating herself from her pop princess, all-American, girl-next-door reputation. But dabbling in anything that has demonic or blasphemous undertones seems a high price to pay.
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.