Stop Giving Credit to Taylor Swift for Something Britney Spears Did Sixteen Years Ago

Everyone is really amazed by Taylor Swift’s ability to guilefully wield a snake–and yes, it is a snake, despite much scientific debate. How clever, how witty that she would adopt the very reptile she’s been compared to in her “calculated” persona! How dual-pronged for her to use it on herself and in comparison to other people that have fucked her over in public tarrings (e.g. Kim Kardashian, Calvin Harris)! Yeah, yeah whatever. We all know the forever champion of snake wielding is Britney Spears, regardless of whether or not she used it an “artful” way.

Of course, what’s being referred to is the iconic 2001 MTV VMAs performance during which she strutted about with a vibrantly hued Burmese python while lip syncing “I’m A Slave 4 U.” Maybe, at the time, Brit Brit didn’t have beef with anybody–unless you count the fake one manufactured by the tabloid media between her and Christina Aguilera. So no, the snake wasn’t supposed to be “representative” of any particular person that might have done her wrong, though later, Sam Lufti, who served as her blatantly exploitive manager during what shall be referred to as “the meth years” circa the ’07 era, would have been the best person to use this imagery as an analogy for.

What it did overtly serve as symbolism for was, well, a penis. It might be difficult to remember now, during these sexless, screen-obsessed times in which the thought of fantasizing about banging the bejesus out of someone isn’t really foremost on anyone’s mind, but this was a period when “oozing sex” was still very profitable to one’s career. Now, of course, it’s all about “being zany” or “profound,” both of which Katy Perry has tried her best to embody with the videos for “Swish Swish” and “Chained to the Rhythm.” This is, in large part (in addition to age), why Spears has little place in the modern landscape of music. Straightforward sex simply isn’t chic anymore. There has to be intent, politicism behind it. But, oh, how glorious it was in the early 00s when everything could be freely vacuous, when a pop star could essentially repurpose the set of Legends of the Hidden Temple and careen about it with other “natives” and not cause offense so much as titillated delight.

Colored smoke machines (again, it wasn’t a crime to be cheesy) brought sensual fanfare to the atmosphere as Spears writhed and shook her hips in ecstasy with the snake draped around her shoulders–as though to say: finally, a real dick. When she hands the python back to one of her dancers, her choreography suddenly seems more energetic, invigorated. That’s what a tango with a “snake” can do to a girl. Now, unfortunately, Taylor Swift has taken all the sex out of the snake with her use of it as an association for someone conniving and/or as Christina would say, someone who’s a “fighter.” This, Swift reverers, is precisely why Britney will always own the pop culture monopoly on the reptile.