But there's more than just her politics to get angry about...
The decision to come after an upstart independent publication like PopFront -- their Twitter account still only has 242 followers a day after this story broke -- fits with the ongoing narrative of Swift perhaps overplaying her hand in battles with the press. It's unlikely that many people are legitimately convinced she's a white supremacist, but the attempt to shut down criticism through legal means doesn't exactly help her case. Approaching the issue through these back channels will likely only provide more fodder for conspiracy theorists online.
Her awkward handling of the situation is similar to her misguided response to the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West conflict that ensnared her in a tabloid story last year. The reaction to that incident, which involved a Swift-referencing line off West's Life of Pablo record, will likely be a lens through which many listeners view Reputation. One "Look What You Made Me Do" line -- "I don't like your little games/Don't like your tilted stage" -- was widely interpreted as a not-so-thinly veiled shot at West, who made a tilted stage the centerpiece of his most recent tour. Even the announcement of her new mobile app called "The Swift Life," which was unveiled in October, was seen as an attempt to steal a page from the Kardashian playbook. It's likely Reputation will only power further speculation about the perceived animosity between the two stars.
That's the tricky thing about this record: It's shaping up to be more than just a political football in our ongoing culture wars. It's also a generator of celebrity gossip, an example of increasingly bizarre corporate tie-in's in pop music, a study in how to irritate your fans through Ticketmaster, and a source for potential copyright lawsuits. Whether you're into politics, tabloids, business, or the American legal system, Reputation offers something for you to get angry -- or, to put it in social media terms, engaged -- about. If outrage is the currency of the moment, Swift could open her own bank and Reputation, a record seemingly designed to spur meta-conversations about her public persona, looks like a savvy investment.
Even if the record ends up being a dud with many pop critics, who appear to have soured on Swift's brand of self-aware memoir, it's commercial success is pretty much guaranteed. It's an event album that can't be contained by a release date, a tracklist, or a streaming service. It's airborne.