Parenting Blog

Taylor Swift, Random Acts of Kindness and the Cynical Side of The Coin

Someone I know on Facebook recently posted the Taylor Swift Gift Giving 2014 video, the one where she’s excitedly wrapping surprise gifts for soon-to-be surprised fans. This random act of kindness was unmercifully shot down by a Facebook friend as a publicity stunt, with a comment akin to “if she was really doing this for altruistic reasons, she wouldn’t have filmed it.”

As if.

I mean, what year is it again?

We as a people — celeb, pop star, waiter, unemployed drifter, whoever — record and publicize every f-ing thing we do, see, eat, say, think, & dream. Why shouldn’t Swift have recorded her joy for doing something sweet? She’s simply being alive and well in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. This isn’t a crime and it doesn’t make her any more an attention starved human than you or I or the guy who takes pictures of his lunchtime burger and posts it to Instagram with 20 different hashtags. I won’t go near the comments on YouTube, but of the 14 million+ views, I’m sure many left nasty comments with similar tones as that Facebook friend of a friend.

I’m no fan of Swift’s music nor am I a fan of sharing publicly every generous or kind thing I do in life (although I sometimes do). Shit I don’t usually even like talking about the charitable stuff I do over dinner with real-life friends, but I’ll staunchly defend the pop star here because it was pretty freaking adorable to watch her beam with joy over the act of giving. We need more of that in the world, whether eventually broadcast or not, not less of it and certainly not more unmerited cynicism of it.

That kind of cynicism sucks and makes the world a grosser place to live.

I am a cynical guy. Always have been. And I outwardly promote instilling a certain level of cynicism in our children as a healthy, all-natural way to help them spot and carve out the harmful bullshit in the world. But what Swift was doing for her fans was simply a kind act that, if you choose to look at the non-cynical side of the coin, may positively influence others, celebs and regular folk, to do the same, to pay it forward, to give back randomly. And if they decide to film it too, like Taylor Swift did, well the net positive of those actions is all I’ll give two-shits about. A side order of ‘look at me’ doesn’t do enough harm to warrant pissing on the kind actions or the kind person who decided to take a kind action. Especially not when most of the world is sitting lazily on their asses, making snarky internet comments, and not giving back to anyone at all.

Shake it off, people. And go do something good, kind and sweet.

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