Taylor Swift Gives Her Fans Another Puzzle to Crack
The pop star’s relationship with an NFL player gives fans a peculiar form of gratification.
This Thanksgiving, America is divided: One half knows why the word squirle is funny, and one half does not. Are you in the latter group? Then you should know that earlier this month, a series of tweets surfaced by Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend, the Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce. In one of them, from 2011, he offered this observation: “I just gave a squirle a peice of bread and it straight smashed all of it!!!! I had no idea they ate bread like that!! Haha #crazy.”
Many more Kelce tweets like this soon emerged, rife with spelling near misses, extravagant punctuation, and a charmingly retro belief in the power of hashtags. They were indeed #crazy, but also sweet, funny, and sincere. This might be the first recorded instance of “offense archeology”—the writer Freddie deBoer’s term for digging through someone’s old posts—that enhanced the subject’s reputation. Yes, Kelce had written tweets about “fat people falling over”—the kind of thing that any 20-something dude might have said online in the early 2010s, unaware that he would one day be the subject of presidential-level vetting—but the majority of Kelce’s posts were adorable in their straightforward joie de vivre. In my own personal favorite, now deleted, he celebrated Easter by giving a “shoutout” to Jesus for “takin one for the team…. haha” (not just the son of God, but the tight end of the apostles). Kelce’s tweets were so wholesome that even the inevitable “brandter” from companies he mentioned, including Olive Garden, Chipotle, and Taco Bell—“karma is a crunchwrap coming straight home to me,” shoot me now—could not ruin my enjoyment of Kelce’s existence. “i understand taylor swift now,” one X user wrote in a viral post. “it’s every girl’s biggest dream to be able to text their dog. and that’s sort of the vibe travis kelce is bringing to the table.”