Cynically timed to minimise news coverage, Katy Perry’s decision to bury the hatchet with Taylor Swift just as things are kicking off big style in the Middle East is nevertheless huge news.
The parallels between the Swift/Perry crisis and the historic tensions in the Middle East have long been impossible to ignore. Both have come to define a generation, and both have at times seemed utterly unresolvable.
Perry’s sudden climb-down after years of relentless incursion and provocation – on her part and on Swift’s – shows in a very real sense the abiding power of President Obama’s famous maxim (aimed, as chance would have it, at the Muslim world) about being prepared to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”.
Sensing the hour, Perry this week sent Swift an actual olive branch accompanied by a heartfelt note of apology (it begins “Hey Old Friend – I’ve been doing some reflecting on past miscommunications and hurt feelings between us”). Swift, according to Instagram, has accepted this gesture graciously.
Peace seems imminent, but analysts are not counting chickens. A feeling lingers that no one who lived through it will easily forget just how things escalated so quickly and so dangerously between the two – once the closest of friends – after Swift accused Perry of poaching dancers from her RED world tour back in those innocent days of 2013.
Chaos ensued. The vicious interviews, the nasty tweets, the multi-platinum selling diss songs about bad blood and lopping off heads into caskets…all this appeared destined only for the territory of white hot mutually assured destruction. As horrible as it was to watch, no power on Earth seemed potent enough to stop it.
Of course, the psychodrama was made worse by its sectarian element. Perry made no bones of her valley girl liberal sensibilities, campaigning vociferously in support of Hillary, whereas Swift, the scion of several generations of WASPY bankers, has long been suspected of being a Trump supporter (she famously once wrote “Republicans do it better”).
Now, mercifully, it’s nearly over — the feud, that is, not this article. As we bask in a new dawn of possibility, can world leaders learn from the example these two women have set? After all, if two publicly warring high-profile women can settle their differences, then surely so too can Iran, America, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Peace in our time does not have to be a teenage dream.