Taylor Swift kicked off the reputation stadium tour last night in Glendale. There was a giant snake on stage at one point. Several giant snakes, actually: 

As we know, she embraced the snake after Kim Kardashian dropped the receipts on her a couple of years ago. But here’s how she explained that situation on stage, per E!:

"You might be wondering why there are so many snakes everywhere, huh?" Swift asked, referring to her stage décor. "A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on. Then a lot of people were calling me a lot of things on social media and I went through some really low times for a while because of it. I went through some times when I didn't know if I was going to get to do this anymore."

"I guess this means I wanted to send a message to you guys, that if someone uses name calling to bully you on social media, and even if a lot of people jump on board with it, that doesn't have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead," the pop star said as the audience cheered her on. "And I think something that came out of it that was good is that I learned a really important lesson that I've been telling you from the stage for about 10 years, but I never had to learn it so harshly myself, and that lesson has to do with how much you value your reputation. I think the lesson is that you shouldn't care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don't know you, as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you, the people who will show up for you, the people who see you as a human being. So thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to get to know me, for seeing me as a human being."

If anything she’s consistent. Taylor Swift consistently sees herself as the innocent and never the participant. And you know what? Most of the time, she gets her way. In the end, actually, she always gets her way. Which is the real irony here – that she sees herself as the underdog all the time when, really, when was the last time Taylor was actually an underdog?

And today, in particular, she’s definitely not an underdog. This is what she Instastoried yesterday before the show: 

That would be an olive branch, from Katy Perry. Sent to her dressing room, presumably wishing Taylor good luck. In the end then, after their years-long feud, Katy Perry blinked first. (Or Taylor wants us to think that Katy blinked first because you’ll note that we can’t read the entire card, only the part of the card where Katy acknowledges her part in their drama.) Because you know who never has to blink first? The one on the throne. 

When I am king you 
You will be first against the wall

People who have power will always flex their power. Posting that on IG was a flex. Taylor was flexing. This was a power flex disguised as gratitude. And you know what they say about the powerful? They also have all the sides. That’s the advantage of power. You can sell it any which way you want to. You can sell a power flex as gratitude by telling your fans that you’re setting an example for them, the example being that if you “believe in yourself” and “have the courage to follow your heart”, things will work out for you in the end. That’s the privileged genius of Taylor Swift – that she has been able to camouflage power as integrity when in fact it’s her power that reinforces her stubbornness. It’s easy to be resolute from behind a wall of power. That’s why they say courage is lonely. The courageous are often the ones standing outside of power, on their own. There’s a difference. And a better lesson here, especially in these times, would have been to show people that moving forward requires cooperation and concession from all sides, and not just capitulation from one. 

In other Taylor news, Joe Alwyn was there last night, in VIP, and she pointed him out about before dedicating Gorgeous to him. Feuds and fairytales, the life of Taylor Swift. If I were to write a book about her, that’s what I would call it.