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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

Did Taylor Swift Deserve to be Person of the Year?

Did+Taylor+Swift+Deserve+to+be+Person+of+the+Year%3F
Jasmine Ostroff

Yes!

By Nora Kane, Contributor

Since 1927, Time magazine has named one person, group, or idea the “Person of the Year” – the “person” who has most shaped world news that year. This tradition hails from the belief that individuals have the power to transform society, also known as the Great Man Theory of history. Among the recipients of this title are Peter Ueberroth (1984), chairman of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee; Dr. David Ho (1996), a revolutionary AIDS researcher; and Jeff Bezos (1999), the founder of Amazon. This year, Taylor Swift, an international pop star who returned to the limelight with her Eras Tour, was named Time’s Person of the Year. From ticket sales for The Eras Tour influencing U.S. Congressional hearings to cities Swift toured in experiencing significant economic boosts, Swift has most certainly earned and deserves this title.

When tickets were first sold for Swift’s Eras Tour, fans rushed to Ticketmaster’s website for a chance at purchasing them before they sold out. Many were unsuccessful; fans waited hours in virtual queues only to find there were no more available seats. The outrage of these fans eventually resulted in a congressional hearing regarding Ticketmaster’s alleged monopoly. During the Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, hearing, Senator Amy Klobuchar commented, “Taylor Swift is just one example; whether it’s Bruce Springsteen or BTS or Bad Bunny, or in the past Pearl Jam or the Pixies, fans, artists, and venues are facing real issues with [Ticketmaster].” This hearing was the first of many headlines regarding Swift in 2023.

When Swift kicked off her tour in Glendale, Arizona, she shocked fans with a performance lasting more than three hours, featuring 50 of her most popular songs. Throughout Swift’s U.S. tour, she released two new re-recorded albums: Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version). These albums, which both debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top-200 chart, brought even more praise Swift’s way. Freshman Amanda Ambery remarked, “I love her re-recordings and feel like they help her grow as an artist.” Whether it be “Enchanted (Taylor’s Version)” trending on TikTok or the excitement over the never-before-heard “Vault” tracks of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), Swift’s re-recordings have yet again brought her global recognition. 

Not only did The Eras Tour reignite a love for Swift’s older music, it also brought noteworthy economic benefits to each city Swift performed in. In the article “The Staggering Economic Impact of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour” on Time’s website (time.com), it was reported that Swift’s tour generated $5 billion in consumer spending in the United States alone. To put this astronomical amount in perspective, if Swift represented her own economy, she would be larger than 50 countries. Between travel, dining, hotels, and outfits, attendees of the Eras Tour spent, on average, $1,400 each, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to their local economies. Naturally, this accomplishment has led to city officials celebrating the increasingly popular artist. In Las Vegas, Sin City lit up their Gateway Arch each night ahead of Swift’s shows on March 24 and 25, representing all of the singer’s albums; in Arlington, Texas, Swift was given a key to the city, along with the introduction of a new street, “Taylor Swift Way,” being named after her. Junior Valerie Tuosto summed up Swift’s influence perfectly: “You may like her, you may hate her, but she’s a talented musician, a savvy businesswoman, and an undeniable force in her industry.”

Swift’s influence this year is further demonstrated by the emergence of prestigious universities offering courses with Swift as the main topic of discussion. Beginning this spring, Harvard University will offer a course titled, “Taylor Swift and Her World.” The course, taught by Dr. Stephanie Burt, will discuss songwriting as an art, celebrity culture, adolescence, adulthood, and fan culture. Additionally, the course will cover female artists who came before Swift and the literary works that have influenced Swift’s own art. Furthermore, Harvard is not the only university to recognize Swift’s significant impact on society; Stanford University, Rice University, and The University of California, Berkeley will all offer Swift-themed classes in the upcoming semesters. 

Swift ended her monumental year with a bang; she released a movie version of her Eras Tour, which became one of the highest-grossing movies of 2023. The movie, a recording of one of Swift’s performances in Los Angeles, had the highest first-day ticket sales in 2023, allowing those who were unable to purchase tickets to The Eras Tour (and those who wanted to relive the memories) a chance to see the show. Regarding the movie, freshman Iman Aboud shared, “It was so much fun to watch with other fans, and I loved singing along.” 

In the chaos of 2023, there was one constant in our headlines: Swift. Despite any controversies, cynicism, or challenges that arose, her influence and presence continued to shape the narrative of the year, leaving an indelible mark on both the music industry and popular culture. Swift’s re-recorded music and showstopping Eras Tour has appropriately secured her the title of Time’s Person of the Year.

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No!

By Stacey Krivitsky, Editor

 Only a week after Spotify announced her as the most-played artist on the streaming platform, Taylor Swift was crowned Time magazine’s Person of the Year, making her the first woman to appear twice on a Person of the Year cover since the franchise began in 1927. Swift’s extraordinary year included the wildly popular Eras Tour and concert movie, the release of her reimagined 1989 album, and her carefully monitored relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Despite her strides as an influential woman in the media and her impact on the music industry, Swift did not deserve to win Time’s Person of the Year. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the 2022 Person of the Year. Somehow, this honor was transferred from a courageous resilient politician to an overrated popstar. The nine other candidates for 2023 included Hollywood screenwriters and actors on strike, Chinese President Xi Jinping, CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman, Donald Trump prosecutors, Barbie, Russian President Vladimir Putin, King Charles III, and chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell. When questioned about who most deserves the honor, junior Simon Yu argued, “[CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman] should [have] been named Person of the Year. His innovations to the world are unprecedented and have significantly more practical implications than Taylor Swift and her music.”

The selection of Person of the Year typically follows certain patterns; the person chosen has tended to be a ruler, often a politician or a titan of industry. Fourteen U.S. Presidents, five leaders of Russia, and three Popes have all been recognized. Hence, it is nice to see a person of a different field being honored, especially a woman.

Even so, Swift did not deserve to win. Understandably, she should be acknowledged for having an incredible impact on masses of people; however, that does not mean she deserves such a prestigious title. According to the article “Why Taylor Swift Is Person of the Year” on the Time website (time.com), Swift was selected as 2023 Person of the Year because “she found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light [and] no one else on the planet today can move so many people so well.”

 While Swift is undeniably a prominent figure, there are individuals among Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023 who, through their impactful actions, demonstrate a commitment to pressing global issues and are far more deserving than Swift for Person of the Year if this is truly Time’s reasoning. To name a few, Shannon Watts led gun-safety advocacy with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Peng Lifa challenged the Chinese government’s restrictive policies, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema contributed to global environmental conservation and restoration agreements, Evan Gershkovich reported on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the risk of imprisonment, Johan Rockstrom pioneered environmental limits needed to keep humanity safe, Ozlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin researched ways to fight cancer by harnessing mRNA, Deborah Lipstadt worked to protect Jewish communities, and Andrea Kritcher studied nuclear fusion to provide clean, limitless energy.

Have these countless individuals not profoundly influenced and benefited numerous lives? Instead of recognizing those who have genuinely improved the world, like these often overlooked and undervalued individuals, the nation is honoring someone who has amassed so much influence, attention, and power, yet does very little to actually benefit the well-being of the world other than giving society feel-good entertainment, not to mention the appalling environmental damages she causes. Swift has once again topped the list of the biggest celebrity carbon dioxide polluters in 2023. As posted on The Economic Times website (economictimes.com) on Dec. 20, 2023, Swift’s frequent travels “have resulted in an astonishing 138 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the past three months alone,” which is equivalent to the energy consumption used by 17 houses in an entire year. This mind-boggling 138 tons of carbon dioxide emissions would require the planting of  2,282 trees and letting them grow for over a decade to offset the environmental damage caused by her flights. Unfortunately, instead of championing regular people rising to do extraordinary things at a time when it matters most, society repeatedly rewards people like Swift. 

Yu explained, “I believe Taylor Swift is overrated because of how the ‘Swifties’ perceive her music. Even though her music is objectively vague and bland from a musician standpoint, her audience over-hypes her music despite whether it is good or not.” Junior Abigail Piazza said, “[Swift is] overrated because there are so many smaller artists making amazing music. What makes her better than others?”

Unfortunately, the remarkable contributions of politicians, activists, scientists, and engineers, who have significantly enhanced the well-being of the world, have been overshadowed by Swift’s billion-dollar economy. Time appears more interested in a piece of Swift’s economic influence than the substantial efforts of those dedicated to global betterment.

 

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About the Contributor
Hi! My name is Stacey Krivitsky. I am a member of the Class of 2025 and an A&E Editor. Aside from Horizon, I am in Science Bowl Club, Women in STEM Club, and the science research program.