Everybody loves Taylor Swift. Nobody likes Matt Gaetz. One of the nice things about indefinite pronouns (i.e., everybody and nobody) is that they don’t express a definite truth, or maybe any truth at all. In fact, one poll reports that while 97% of us know who Taylor Swift is, only 55% of us actually like her music. And while nobody likes Matt Gaetz, 67% of the voters in his district liked him well enough to vote for him a year ago.
Still, we American media consumers know most definitely that everybody loves Taylor Swift and that nobody likes Matt Gaetz. And in case you don’t know, and want to care, Taylor Swift is a popular songwriter-singer who is in some sort of relationship with an NFL player. If nothing else, the relationship seems to be of the sort that generates lots of publicity, which can be a good thing for popular singers and NFL players. Matt Gaetz is a member of congress of the sort who seems to like lots of publicity, too.
American media consumers are expected to know and even care about people like Taylor Swift and Matt Gaetz – and to have opinions about them. We have social media influencers to help us decide what our opinions about personalities and issues should be. It is not clear why we should allow influencers to influence us, but apparently we do, and they make significant amounts of money doing so.
I know next to nothing about Taylor Swift (and most popular singers) and a little more than nothing about Matt Gaetz, none of it flattering. More than that, I don’t care about Taylor Swift and Matt Gaetz. I hear her concert tickets are expensive and hard to get and that his personal life is as messy as his public life. I don’t care, however, and I don’t care to be influenced to care.
Perhaps I don’t care about Taylor Swift and Matt Gaetz because my care quotient is low. Not enough care to be influenced to care about the life of a pop singer and her NFL boyfriend or a member of congress whose life both personal and public is a mess.
Or it may be that I have an average care quotient but have used my care for things that matter more to me. Becky and our family. The church member whose recovery from surgery is not progressing as expected. Our refugee friends who are hoping to start a new business. Two young pastors who are facing difficult issues in new calls. Good friends who have enriched our lives for such a long time.
Sorry, but Taylor Swift and Matt Gaetz just don’t make the cut on my care list. Even if everyone likes her and nobody likes him.