Rodlyn-mae Banting is a Filipina American cultural critic, journalist, and poet writing at the intersections of race, gender, and popular culture. She holds a masters in gender and women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
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Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Don’t Offer the ‘Love Story’ We Need
In July of last year, an estimated 50,000 fans flooded Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to see Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert. Among those in the crowd was football tight end Travis Kelce, eager to woo Swift. Arrowhead has been central to Swift and Kelce’s romance ever since: After making their romance official last September, Swift has routinely joined the 76,000 Chiefs fans to cheer for Kelce and his teammates. From concertgoers to sports spectators, the thought of that many people in the same space is difficult to imagine. Equally hard to imagine, and significantly more heartbreaking, Israel Defense Forces have killed 25,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7, 2023; that number of people would fill about a third of Arrowhead Stadium.
This is a jarring image, but such is the reality of our present moment: While the state of Israel carries out a genocide against Palestinians, we are easily distracted by our adoration for Swift and Kelce, along with spectator sports.