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Taylor Swift’s Legs — Worth More Than Her Voice?

OK, gather round. I was speaking with an intern last week whose friend works in specialty insurance. Being the curious type, I asked for more information. Here’s how that went: “What is specialty insurance?”

“Oh, it’s when you insure something that makes you a celebrity … like Taylor Swift’s legs.”

“Taylor Swift’s legs?! Surely, you jest. Taylor Swift’s brain for writing songs, and her voice, I get — but her legs? You can’t be serious.”

I couldn’t help but think of that great scene in “Something’s Gotta Give,” in which Jack Nicholson’s character remarks on the attractiveness of Diane Sawyer’s legs, and says he can’t understand why she’s always hiding them under the desk in her job as a newscaster. Diane Keaton’s character replies, “I mean, she’s Diane Sawyer. She goes into caves in Afghanistan with a shmatte on her head. Who cares about her legs?”

The intern was serious: Her friend, who does insurance underwriting for these types of clients, defends the notion that Taylor Swift should insure her legs. Something about her concert performances …

“She can sit on a fucking stool and play the guitar; her legs have nothing to do with it!” I said, growing angrier by the second. “Call your friend, and ask him what things male celebrities insure. Ask him how much Brad Pitt’s biceps are worth!”

“You are overreacting,” the intern told me. “I’m sure Taylor’s voice is insured too.” (Anyone remember the eighties when interns were afraid of company leaders?)

A day later, as we were walking together, she remarked, “I thought I should let you know that her voice is not insured.”

I just looked at her. But deep inside my soul, I recognized the awareness that there is something so very wrong with so much of what we hold valuable in this country.

Photo by the photographer, Peter Lindbergh, who recently passed away.


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