The Swoki backlash: they don’t know Tom
Before we begin, let us give thanks to Swoki for the gossip they’ve delivered. Every summer, there’s a celebrity who comes through for us in gossip: Prince Harry in Vegas, Brange having babies, last year it was Ben Affleck being Ben Affleck, and in 2016, we have Swoki. Whether you are a believer or not, Swoki is the conversation. Taylor Swift loves being the conversation.
Which, of course, is why you may not be a believer. And maybe even a hater.
The image of Tom Hiddleston, to many of his fans, as the perfect Internet boyfriend, does not include Taylor Swift. It does not include paparazzi shots that look staged. It does not include an obvious thirst for this type of fame (even in pursuit of playing James Bond). It does not include 4th of July parties with supermodels.
What it does include is a kind of nerdiness, a passion for the creation of a certain kind of art and a weirdness that has punctuated his public persona so far, and that Hiddleston’s fans (known as Hiddlestoners) share.
The man who appears in character as Loki at Comic-Con, who dances with reckless abandon, and who breaks out into spontaneous Shakespearean monologues in TV interviews, that man does not date a woman as mainstream as Taylor Swift, who wins Grammys and feuds with Kanye West and and is so conventionally attractive and popular. That’s not the Tom Hiddleston the Internet knows.
Umm…since when? Because that’s exactly the Tom Hiddleston I know. His fans, however, decided to assign him a certain personality, warping his obvious attributes to meet their fantasy of who he should be. But those attributes are obvious because he wants them to be. Is he nerdy and earnest? Yes. Just like Taylor Swift professes to be. Remember, all of her early songs were about NOT being the cheerleader. About being the girl with the books and the guitar, in the corner, waiting to be seen. And that’s still the girl she claims to be (despite so much evidence otherwise), just like he claims to be that guy who imitates Robert De Niro on cue.
It’s a question, then, of authenticity, as it always is. Why is it that we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s legit when we’re not willing to extend it to her? It’s not like he’s never been that guy who’s wanted inside the party. He has always wanted inside the party! Why wouldn’t he date the girl throwing the party?!
What then of the authenticity of the two of them, together? Tom still hasn’t shown up on Taylor’s social media which some are taking to mean that that’s her way of coming back later, after their big ta-da reveal, and being like, see? I never legitimised him and this is how I draw the line.
I mean, sh-t. It’s possible, of course it’s possible that all of this is a fake-out for a new album or a new project, or whatever. (If I’m Ryan Reynolds and that’s what it ends up being, though, I’m f-cking pissed.) It’s also possible that she hasn’t Instagrammed him because she’s holding it. Taylor’s astute enough to know that all of her other pictures – and her friend’s pictures – and this picture…
And this picture…
Is enough… for now.
She’s astute enough to save some for later. She’s calculating enough to want that moment, their “social media debut” to not be diluted by so much else. To weigh and time it so that when it does drop, it stands alone as an Event. If, that is, she’s learned anything from Beyoncé, the supreme master of hoarding. Beyoncé has sh-t in her vaulted Beyoncé archive that she’s meticulously scheduled for the next decade. Taylor would not have been blind to that. You’ve already seen the quality of these photos that she and all her friends have been releasing. Most of them are pro-level. That could mean that she, like Beyoncé, now has an official photographer around her at all times, documenting every move. So if it’s that strategic, there’s already a plan in place for when Swoki Love will have its own premiere.