Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Taylor Swift, Friedrich Nietzsche, and aphorisms

Taylor Swift's "Cruel Summer" (from "Lover", 2019), includes a variation on an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche: ""What doesn't kill me makes me want you more." In the "Lover" session of our Taylor Swift seminar today, I asked the students how they use (and have heard others use) the Nietzsche aphorism from "Twilight of the Idols" (1888): "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." While some of their responses make the aphorism a principle of resilience, one student referred to how it can also have an effect of "toxic positivity". The students also pointed out that many Swift lines have also come to be used as aphorisms, and not only by Swifties. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 17 April 2024)

1 comment:

leoplusx said...

Lots of Nietzsche in her lyrics.

TS: "Can't stop, won't stop movin' // It's like I got this music in my mind"
FN: "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"

TS: "Just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world, You could've been getting down to this sick beat."
FN: "When stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you"

There's more, I think. Just can't recall at the moment. I'd be surprised if she hadn't read Nietzsche and that was all just subconscious. It almost seems as if, sometimes, she picked one of FN's aphorisms and used that as the seed for a new song.