Last week, we were graced with the latest in a seemingly endless succession of reminders that Katy Perry and Taylor Swift aren’t friends anymore. If you’ve forgotten already, I can’t blame you, but it happened when Katy told a fan that she’d happily collaborate with her nemesis — provided Swift apologize to her first. Ooh, burn!
Or rather: Uh ... burn? I’m not even sure anymore what this hypothetical (but totally important) apology would even be for. In the last two years, Taylor has released “Bad Blood,” told a journalist a weird story about running into Katy at awards shows and feeling like she was possibly being dissed, and accused her frenemy of trying to sabotage an entire tour (by allegedly stealing some of Taylor’s dancers). In response, Katy got to subtweeting, eventually more or less openly accusing Taylor of being a hypocrite in regard to girl power, squads, etc.
Which, like: Hey, nobody cares.
Not since high school have I been forced to swallow such basic levels of “here’s why I’m mad at her.” And even then, all parties would somehow manage to solve whatever was up within the span of a party, a few vodka coolers, or an AIM discussion that would inevitably be saved, shared, and shown to everyone, sparking an even bigger debacle (that, for the record, would still be far more interesting than anything Katy or Taylor has given us in the course of their tiff).
Let’s accept that Katy maybe “stole” Taylor’s dancers. But those dancers were also adults who willingly left an existing job to move on to something they presumably thought was better. So, in retrospect, Taylor being bothered about her former employees moving on up to a higher-paying or whatever-the-hell gig makes as much sense as any of our retail managers having a cry because we found a job in our chosen field. (Like, I’m sorry it’s the holiday rush and you needed me to greet customers on Black Friday, but I have a job that will pay my rent now.) It was an inconvenience for Taylor, I’m sure, but Katy didn’t abduct those dancers in the night in an attempt to ruin her life.
So there’s that.
On top of this nonstory, we have Katy Perry subtweeting to high heavens as if we pop-culture nerds (hello!) aren’t mapping out her rhetoric in the spirit of:
Thanks to her timing, we know exactly who she’s talking about. And she knows we know. Because we’re not dealing with child stars navigating the ins and outs of fame for the first time, casually dropping hints to journalists and accidentally (whoops!) tapping out shady statements on Twitter. Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are both seasoned vets — they’re grown-ass women. And yet here we are, clinging to the idea that this supposed “feud,” and the ever-present specter of its resolution via “apology,” isn't benefiting both of them.
Because while there’s a chance that they may really, actually hate each other, both Katy and Taylor have flawlessly played into the narrative (that I’m sure they’d have both preferred to have been excluded from since 2014 #LOL) in a way that’s managed to keep them both on our radar when they’re not actually, you know, doing anything. Currently Taylor is off tour, “maybe” recording, barely even tweeting anymore. Meanwhile, Katy Perry just used a Twitter troll to announce her 2017 comeback, which doesn’t exactly scream “I’ve got a lot going on right now!” So remind me why we’re still talking about an imaginary collaboration between the two as if it would be some kind of pop miracle?
It wouldn’t. It’d be great business. And that’s what this “feud” has become.
Musical feuds can be interesting! Some are vicious (Mariah versus J.Lo), others are legendary (Oasis versus Oasis), and there are a handful that are so sensational that they become kind of concerning the longer they progress (Drake versus Meek Mill). But this one is none of that. First, because it’s ultimately a fight about nothing, and second, because the ember of this supposedly deep and passionate rivalry only gets stoked when either artist needs something to do.
Look, all of us have people in our industries whom we don’t like all that much. But most of us don’t build entire promo cycles and personas around why we can’t believe these cruel, stubborn people didn’t give us back our staplers. Most of us just carry on with our lives, keep our heads down, and do the work. Maybe if Katy and Taylor did the same, we could stop talking about them together.