Swift’s legs beat arctic melt


The arctic ice is melting and this is going to have major, lasting implications for sea levels and weather around the world.

A few people care a lot but, strangely and shamefully, Taylor Swift’s legs are far more captivating. They are lovely in ways that seem to defy description: somehow they look ordinary, yet perfect. They are long, yet not freakish. They seem unbowed by their implausible length; both utterly firm and yet yielding and soft.

People who take global warming seriously tend to get apoplectic at this point. They’re not wrong. While delightful, Taylor Swift’s legs are of little significance in comparison with the fate of the planet. But getting angry at our fascination with the thighs of a singer is counter-productive in a democracy. We cannot be collectively dragged into being more responsible through guilt. And for a very simple reason. We don’t have to pay attention. If those who care about arctic melt are going to get angry, bitter and stern, they’ll just be ignored.


The problem is, we really do need to do something about that ice. But the starting point has to be indulgence towards the way our minds work. We are interested in Taylor Swift’s legs not because we are evil – but because we are wired in unhelpful ways. If we are going to be interested en masse in the defrosting poles, we need to take our fragilities on board and therefore get serious, very serious, about trying to make important news not just ‘important’, but also beguiling – almost as tempting to hear about as Taylor’s legs. Then things stand a chance of changing.

Not appealing – just important

Not important – just appealing.