Feb 13Liked by Meghan Daum

Why is any pop star popular/famous? It's weird to me that people are flummoxed by her fame.

She makes pop music, it's fairly bland, but enjoyable.

Unfortunately for Meghan a lot of people (the majority?) like simple catchy pop music. Most aren't trained musicians with music-snob taste. (Not a dig on Meghan I think she says that about herself.)

She's conventionally attractive, but also kind of forgettable. Which probably enhances her appeal with girls because she's doesn't have unattainable beauty. Girls like her when they are young and their families (especially moms) support this because she is not hyper-sexual which is honestly rare. She plays guitar and apparently writes her songs. She started in country (a huge market) and moved to pop so she has appeal of two huge music markets when everything else is splintered. She's a literal role model, and the girl next store but also a pop star.

The girls grow up and then the songs have a nostalgia. And she keeps pumping it out.

I am not actually a fan and neither is my 19 year old daughter - so I don't really know any of her songs outside of the huge hits. So, this isn't coming from a fan - just an observer, but it doesn't seem that complicated.

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Feb 16Liked by Meghan Daum

I'm also a fan of United's Channel 9 ATC. I'm not aware of any other airline that provided it. I recall one time on approach to landing in Chicago, it was clear that ATC was concerned about an aircraft taking their own sweet time exiting the runway we were to land on; pretty soon I heard "United 123 go around" and a couple seconds later we did indeed.

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Happy to be a spud.

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One reason that Taylor Swift rubs some people the wrong way is that they are subconsciously repulsed by her toxic femininity.

For starters, she is as privileged as a human can get, and yet she and her advocates peddle female victimhood narratives that are eagerly consumed by impressionable young girls. For example, in her song "The Man", she complains that if she were male, people would admire her more. She is literally the most admired human being on the planet, but according to this song, she's still not getting the admiration she deserves, and is a victim of the patriarchy. I've seen multiple social media posts in which moms brag about how their daughters passionately love that song. It seems that for many moms, the indoctrination of their daughters is a great relief.

Swift also put out a Netflix documentary complaining about the pressure and challenges she faces as a woman in the entertainment industry. It is toxic in multiple ways. First, it is a "glass half empty" portrayal of the female experience (which is typical) that leaves out the advantages that come with being a woman in the entertainment industry. For example, no male entertainer could ever achieve the power enjoyed by Taylor Swift, Beyonce, or even Oprah. Second, it preys on people's "damsel in distress" impulse to lavish women with sympathy. If a rich, powerful male entertainer put out a documentary complaining about the pressures and challenges faced by men like him, the world would be grossed out and turn it off. Third, Swift acts as if we don't already know all about the pressures women face. In reality, it's talked about constantly. How long will we be gaslit about the supposed absence of these messages? What gets left relatively unexplored is the pressures and challenges men face.

Finally, there's Swift's habit of using her music to crap on past boyfriends. This is a toxic behavior that appeals to young women and makes men uncomfortable, rightfully so. I think most men know that this behavior would be labelled misogyny if done in reverse.

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When people talk about Taylor Swift and mention how they don’t get her appeal or popularity, and also mention how she’s not even that attractive, it’s so cringe.

I understand if people want to comment on her music and how it’s lacking or isn’t their thing, but why are grown adults in these sorts of spaces commenting on how physically attractive she is or is not? I don’t get it.

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I'm here only to correct movie trivia.

Meghan. Something's Gotta Give is a Nancy Myers movie starring Jack Nicholson and Diana Keaton. The air traffic control movie with Billy Bob Thornton is called Pushing Tin. Also starring John Cusack and Care Blanchett. I didn't work in 2 different movie rental stores in TWO different cities in the early 2000s to let that slip!!!

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My take on Taylor Swift-- she provides teenage girls catchy tunes and puts out a record every year. This demographic is primed for "obsessive consumerism" so she becomes a famous idol. The lyrical content about the difficulties of love (seeking, falling, leaving, etc) is not unique, but this speaks to a lot of people and will continue as long as humans survive. "Female victim-hood narrative" has been in vogue for years, so she is not "unacceptable." She gives a lot of people what they want, which means that her fans can project whatever they want unto her-- she "understands" them. I am not sure if her strong detractors are also projecting something on to her as well, something that is not really there. Personally, she doesn't speak to me, a 51 y/o man, but I can see how teenage girls would dig her, but hey what do I know !?

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Feb 14·edited Feb 14

Loved hearing that Meghan is an airplane enjoyer. It's always refreshing when a non-culture war related personal enthusiasm like this comes up. And a male nerd interest like aviation, too! It's Sarah who's supposed to be the autistic man in a woman's body, though she doesn't seem like the sort who is into planes, trains and other objects.

ATC chatter is indeed competence porn. It's fun to listen to the feeds on LiveATC.net and watch the planes move around on a plane tracking site (I use Flightradar24).

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The Taylor swift phenomenon is wild to me. My wife and I are both nonplussed when we hear/see rabid swift fans. My brother and his wife went to see her in concert and my first question was why? She has some decent songs but most of her music feels like it could be written by AI. On top of this, I am convinced that almost all of her devoted fans are either teenage girls, or women who wish they were still in their teens or early 20s. Exactly as the hosts(I can’t remember who) said, it’s a demographic that is heavily influenced by social contagion.

I guess I’m happy for Travis kelce but in all my time growing up I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard a man or teenage boy say out loud that they think she’s attractive. To my memory, nearly all the conversations end with her being thin to the point of off-putting. There’s even a clip of a game on I think Jimmy Fallon’s show where the two men on one team

Describe her as having a “long back”. This circles back to my thoughts about her fan base.

All this said, either she or the people making decisions for her brand are obviously very smart, and I don’t have any reason to hold anything against them personally so I guess good for her??

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I haven't finished the episode yet, but if they didn't mention it, the Benjamin who made the Taylor comment was not Carl, aka Sargon of Akkad, but Owen Benjamin, the former actor and comedian who has been associated with the alt-right.

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The FAA story you mentioned, as well reported by Trace Woodgrains, is just shocking on many levels. His Substack and the related podcast on Blocked & Reported, are highly recommended. These DEI policies by the FAA are not going to turn out well. I can't believe they ever thought that was a good idea.

As an older person (70+), I love how safe commercial aviation is today, even compared with 30-40 years ago, let alone older than that. CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) almost never happens, nor do mid-air collisions thanks to TCAS, or weather (icing, thunderstorms), or runway collisions (though the recent close calls make you wonder about the FAA policies mentioned above).

Commercial aircraft are amazingly complicated and I think most people don't appreciate this -- so many ways for things to go wrong, so many backup systems to catch these things, and yet sometimes, things slip through. Those big engines on the wings -- so much raw power, so many ways for them to mess up, but almost all the time those things are caught ahead of time. Under appreciated.

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In terms of a name for Special Place fans, what about "inhells"?

(pronounced like "incels")

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It is incumbent upon me to let you all know that “goon cave” refers to a special room/computer set up in which a man (the gooner) watches copious amounts of porn.

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Happy to hear that Meghan shares my bluegrass / “Americana” music interests.

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sorry I missed the livestream. did you remind us it was happening the day-of? or day before? (I can't remember last week)

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