Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Author Jules Older on Taylor Swift

Last August, I asked you for your heroes. Then I named mine:

Some years ago I discovered that nearly all my heroes were American and Black. All were involved, as was I, in the Civil Rights struggle. From memory, they were Louis Lomax, John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Gloria Richardson, maybe Fannie Lou Hamer.
Today, I discover, with one exception, they're white folks and either on radio or TV — not, as I'd expect, in print like me. They are, in reverse order …

Keith Olbermann    He fights with one more employer, he’ll be broadcasting from a phone booth, but Keith is the man who took on the right-wing media bullies, including Limbaugh and O’Reilly.
Rachel Maddow     Find her in the dictionary under Elegance, Humor, Steadfastness, Communication, Smartness and Decency.
Jon Stewart      There's a reason America’s most trusted news commentator is a comedian. He embodies raucous wit and righteous outrage, two of my favorite character traits.
Barack Obama     Every time I say “He's way too cautious” or “He’s being crushed by the opposition,” things magically turn around at the last minute, and he wins the case, the bill, the fight, the election. Barack Obama will, I believe, be remembered as one of our finest presidents.
Garrison Keillor      Understated humor. Love of poetry. Quiet, Midwestern decency. Unparalleled staying power. The ability to write something funny, moving, touching and original, then produce it, then host it, then sing and act it, week in, week out, since 1974.And all while writing books and articles, doing voiceovers, starting and running a bookstore, and traveling far and wide. He is the Mark Twain of our time, and I feel privileged to breathe the same air as he does.

Looking over both my lists, they remain the same. And today I'm adding a new hero. Welcome to the pantheon, Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift: singer, songwriter, actress, performer … and the Joan of Arc of writers. She stood strong against mighty Spotify. She stood strong against even mightier Apple. And, pen in one hand, mic in the other, she won.

But not just for herself. She won for all artists. And she won it with a single letter in a single day. Saint Taylor, I worship at your temple.

Here's how the New York Times described the victory:

On Sunday morning, Ms. Swift wrote a diplomatic but stern Tumblr post taking Apple to task for not paying royalties on test drives of its new streaming music service … “We don’t ask you for free iPhones,” she wrote. “Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
By midnight Sunday, Apple — one of the most powerful companies in the world — had capitulated to the 25-year-old pop star, saying it would pay royalties on all music for the three-month trials.

Please, please note her words: “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

That's what we all must do. To the billionaires at, Hearst Corp, Huffington Post, and all the other corporations and conglomerates, we have to say, “No mo.” We must Swiftify them.

If you're thinking, Oh, fine for her; she's an international star with 60-million Twitter followers, and I'm just a lowly … cut it out. Writer up. Become your own Taylor Swift. Be a hero.

— jules

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