Let love be the winner

Less hate, more human kindness would be music to our Super Bowl ears

Those of us who have been around long enough vaguely recall the uproar over Elvis Presley’s hip shaking back at the end of the 1950s. And of course, some radio stations banned Beatles records after John Lennon a decade later compared the band’s popularity to that of Jesus Christ.

While generational chauvinism no doubt played a role in dismissing youth’s embrace of Elvis and the Beatles, the more expansive uproars the two music icons provoked had a basis that at least could be understood. Presley threatened the puritanical standards of his era and Lennon offended the religious sensibilities of his. You did not have to agree with the outrage to comprehend the rationale for it.

But Lord help us, we don’t understand the uproar over Taylor Swift. Seems like there’s a whole lotta hatin‘ going on.

Today is not a holiday, but if it was one, it would be one of the year’s most celebrated.

Last year, almost 114 million people watched Super Bowl LVII, according to Neilsen’s audience measurement, and this year’s viewership should be similar for Super Bowl LVIII, a rematch of the Kansas City Chiefs-San Francisco 49ers tilt four years ago.

The sports bars will be crowded. Fans and nonfans will jam Super Bowl parties. reports that an estimated 150,000 visitors have flocked to Las Vegas, site of the game. The event will generate about $1.1 billion for the city’s economy. (No wonder Chicago or Arlington Heights would love to use a new Bears stadium to attract a Super Bowl.)

With all of that excitement, you would think the mood would be boisterous, anticipatory and happy. Yet, what are some people talking about? Taylor Swift, music phenomenon and widely publicized girlfriend of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

OK, so it is normal to grow a bit weary of the attention she receives when she shows up at the games. That said, we do not remember similar complaints about Bill Murray showing up a Cubs games, Jack Nicholson attending Lakers games or Spike Lee’s presence at Knicks games. Not interested in the breathless media question of whether Swift can make it back from a concert in Japan in time for tonight’s game? There’s a solution. Ignore it.

But some of the reaction to Swift is nasty, downright ugly and in some cases bizarrely conspiratorial.

Why? Granted, she’s occasionally expressed a political view that is somewhat left of center. But she does not wear politics on her sleeve. For the most part, her music is uplifting. While so many entertainers seem to live sordid lives, she is a positive role model for youngsters. Perhaps the assault on her is born out of fear of her influence. She has 280 million Instagram followers, and MarketWatch reports that the Apex Marketing Group says her interest in Kelce, the Chiefs and the NFL has been worth a stunning $331 million to the league. With that kind of power, could Swift be falling victim to political elements trying to undermine her credibility in case she does decide to offer recommendations in the fall’s elections?

We worry even more that uncalled-for demonization of Swift may simply be the sound of the unhappy age we live in, that it has become so tempting to hate rather than to love or even just to simply tolerate. Tell us that such a tendency is not human nature. Tell us that we all are better than that.

This Super Bowl, our biggest rooting interest is for love to win out.

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