On Monday morning, Taylor Swift messaged me on Instagram. At least … that’s what the person pretending to be Taylor wanted me to believe. It all started with the dubiously named “@taylor_ swif.t1” account requesting to follow me. The imposter claimed to be Taylor Swift and labeled the account as the “Official Taylor Swift page.” This kind of thing happens to me all the time. It’s annoying. Unwilling to grant them access to my private account, I simply messaged them and asked why they were impersonating Taylor. Surprisingly, the person actually replied … in a polite way. They stood their ground, defending the position that they were indeed the genuine article. “Taylor” thanked me for my support and assured me that this was her backup account used to easily chat with her fans, and she even sent a kiss emoticon my way. Obstinately suspicious, I facetiously assured her that the only way she could prove that she was the real Taylor Swift was by going to dinner with me. Ever the cordial conversationalist, “Taylor” responded by saying that she was just using her leisure time to reach out to fans and even asked me if she was bothering me. Normally, by this point in my interactions with online imposters, things have already gone south. They usually get angry or ghost me, but “Taylor” was just so darn nice. It was in this moment, and because I am living in the Year 2020 where anything seems possible, that I wondered if I had entered into a “Twilight Zone” scenario where the real Taylor Swift was actually pretending to be an imposter account … just for kicks. The moment quickly passed, and I returned to my interrogation. I jokingly quizzed “Taylor” on what her favorite kind of food was and asked if the Illuminati was real. I’m still waiting for “Taylor” to reply.
2020 has been a bizarre year. It has me questioning everything and everyone. Nothing seems real. I keep hoping to wake up or suddenly discover that I’m actually living in “The Matrix.” We’re inundated with fake news. Yet, when something so noteworthy and hauntingly real as the Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking case arrises, the facts get conveniently obscured. Sometimes, I fantasize about hunting down the perverted and powerful degenerates that seem to run the world. Cathartic as that might be, I imagine any victories won in that domain would be met with swift counterpunches that would once again pull the wool over the collective eyes of our sheeple masses. And it’s that kind of prevailing fear of futility and the triumph of politically-motivated phonies that prevents most of us from even trying to make any kind of difference at all.
Part of me wishes I could talk to the real Taylor Swift … about the songs on her new album … and the Illuminati. Maybe one day, I will. Until then, maybe the best any of us can do in such a counterfeit age is spend real time with our true friends.
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.