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Senators Invoked Taylor Swift Lyrics During Ticketmaster Hearing

After Ticketmaster’s presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour buckled under intense demand in November, many fans were left ticketless and heartbroken that they might not be able to hear Ms. Swift’s lyrics sung in stadiums across the United States.

On Tuesday, many of those lyrics could be heard in a slightly quieter arena: Room 216, Hart Senate Office Building.

Snippets of both Ms. Swift’s recent chart-toppers and her deeper cuts sprang drolly from the mouths of senators during a hearing in which members of the Judiciary Committee from both parties cast Live Nation Entertainment, the concert giant that owns Ticketmaster, as a monopoly.

“Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say: ‘I’m the problem. It’s me,’” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, quoting Ms. Swift’s “Anti-Hero.” Another Democrat, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, referred to the 2012 album “Red” to explain that consolidation within an industry was a problem the United States knew “all too well.”

It was a bipartisan effort. Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, credited his daughter as his inspiration for invoking Ms. Swift’s lyrics on at least three occasions. Mr. Lee leveraged Ms. Swift’s 2014 hit “Blank Space” to characterize restrictions on reselling tickets as “a nightmare dressed like a daydream” and concluded one set of remarks with a question Ms. Swift posed on her most recent album, “Midnights”: “Karma’s a relaxing thought; aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”

The lyrics were a clever play on virality by politicians who are becoming increasingly aware of the power memes have to help get their message across. Eye-catching displays like these can make otherwise boring congressional hearings more interesting. Representative Katie Porter’s whiteboardYou can be distinctive. Another way to grab attention, is to include a surprising pop culture reference. As Senator Ted Cruz demonstrated, was mocked, but discussed, for reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor in 2013.

“More and more, they’re leaning into these moments of viral potential,” said Ioana Literat, an associate professor of communications at Teachers College, Columbia University.

John Fetterman’s successful Senate campaign in Pennsylvania signaled to many politicians that embracing humor onlineDr. Literat stated that voting can be won. She added that the strategy doesn’t always work.

“It can also be perceived as a kind of desperate, inauthentic attempt to create these kind of connections and to connect to youth culture,” Ms. Literat said. She saw the senators’ use of Taylor Swift lyrics as a play for young voters that landed awkwardly, pointing to commenters on TikTok who remarked that aides must have written the senators’ statements for them.

“As the kids say: cringe,” the CNN anchor Don Lemon said, reacting to a compilation of the senators’ remarks.

But some of Ms. Swift’s most ardent fans were on board. Alison Rose Greenberg, 39, an author and screenwriter in Atlanta, said she was “flabbergasted” when she heard Mr. Lee recite the line “she’s cheer captain, and I’m on the bleachers,” a twangy slice from the 2008 song “You Belong With Me.”

Ms. Greenberg, who was among the fans unable to purchase tickets for Ms. Swift’s tour in November, said she did not really care if the senators were true Swifties — she was just happy to see the issue reaching a broader audience.

“If they were pandering toward me,” she said, “it completely worked.”

Below, a selection of the hearing’s greatest hits.

Name: Senator Amy Klobuchar

Affiliation:Democrat of Minnesota

Song quote: “All Too Well” (2012)

I believe in capitalism. To have a strong capitalist system you must have competition. You can’t have too much consolidation. Something that, unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, we know “all too well.”

Name:Senator Richard Blumenthal

Affiliation:Democrat of Connecticut

Song quote: “Anti-Hero” (2022)

Ticketmaster had the temerity to imply that the debacle involved in pre-ticket sales was Taylor Swift’s fault because she was failing to do too many concerts. May I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, “I’m the problem, it’s me.”

Name: Sal Nuzzo

Affiliation:James Madison Institute, Senior Vice President

Song quote: “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” (2017)

The dominant market player would argue that their growth has allowed for innovation and benefits to consumers. A few million Taylor Swift fans would respond, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Name: Senator Mike Lee

Affiliation:Republican of Utah

Song quote: “Karma” (2022)

I have to give Eliza, my daughter, another Taylor Swift quote. “Karma’s a relaxing thought; aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”

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