• The Griffin

Why the world is mad at Jake Gyllenhaal

By Ava Green, Features Contributor


I am fully aware that there is an almost nonexistent subset of readers of The Griffin that pick up a copy in hopes that they will be updated on current pop culture. But this week, I watched something very interesting happen: I watched the entire internet join forces with Taylor Swift to take down her ex-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. Maybe I have just been extremely bored lately, but I think this is pretty newsworthy and I’ll bet that you are just so excited to know why.

On Friday, Nov. 12, Taylor Swift released a 10-minute version of her 2012 song “All Too Well.” Taylor Swift does not legally own any of her songs or albums that she has made before her 2019 album, “Lover.” Because of this, she has been rerecording her music to claim ownership of her work. In her rerecording of “All Too Well,” there are new groups of lyrics that delve deeper into the story that the song refers to, which were apparently written on the spot at rehearsals for her “Speak Now” tour. As well as the song being extended, Taylor Swift also wrote and directed a short film of the same name, starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink to accompany the song. The actors play Gyllenhaal and Swift, respectively.

Now that you have some context, let’s get into what this song is about. It is an extremely specific and descriptive story of a relationship between a younger woman and older man: and, in true Taylor Swift fashion, it is about a break up. Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal dated for a few months back in 2010 while Jake was 29 and Taylor was 20. It was highly debated whether or not their age gap was appropriate. She has not necessarily confirmed who the song is about, but fans have speculated that the entire “Red” album is about Jake Gyllenhaal.

In the song Swift sings, "You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine, / and that made me want to die," adding salt to the wound with the line: “And I was never good at telling jokes / but the punch line goes ‘I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.’” I first heard the song and saw the short film she made for it while watching Swift’s performance on “Saturday Night Live.” Hearing this line sung with no music and a deadpan expression on her face ensured it stuck with me for days. I am sure that this line resonated with a lot of people who have been in negative situations due to inappropriate age gaps. It also stresses the difference in age between Swift and Gyllenhaal. Yes, this is an amazingly juicy piece of celebrity gossip, but it can also help a lot of people who have been in a similar situation where they have felt uncomfortable sexually or romantically because of their age: this song probably made so many people feel seen.

Now, the scarf. Anyone who has looked into this song even in the slightest knows about the scarf. It is brought up twice in the song that Gyllenhaal held onto one of Swift's scarves, even post-breakup. "All Too Well" opens with the line, "I walked through the door with you / the air was cold / but something about it felt like home somehow / And I left my scarf there at your sister's house / and you've still got it in your drawer even now."

She brings the scarf up again towards the end, singing, "But you keep my old scarf from that very first week, / ‘cause it reminds you of innocence / and it smells like me." This scarf quickly became a huge part of her fandom. Maggie Gyllenhaal even said she gets asked about it constantly. No one really knows what the whole scarf drama is, but what we do know is that everyone is freaking out about it.

Taylor Swift was originally a country singer. Country music is all about telling a story and is a pretty casual, down-to-earth style of music. Swift’s music is notoriously relatable. She is also known for her songwriting. Her relatability and her writing ability pair perfectly with each other to create music that the listener feels was handcrafted just for them. Her pointed lyrics make the song stand out from the rest of her fairly mellow catalogue. Swift is also known for leaving hints and easter eggs all throughout her discography — it’s like a game to try to keep up with it all, trying to figure out what she will do next or which ex her newest song is about. So it is really no surprise that this song really took off. It is everything that the Taylor Swift lovers love about Taylor Swift. It's for the fans, and you can tell. In an interview with Extra TV, Swift said, “These songs were mine years ago when they were written, now, they’re ours.”

It is with great hesitancy that I must announce that I am not a Swiftie. Before you send me an angry email, just hear me out. I have never been a huge fan of Taylor Swift’s music. I have always felt pretty indifferent about her, actually. However, this past week, I have found myself playing her music on repeat and keeping myself in touch with all of the developing drama. Regardless of if you are a fan of Taylor Swift or not, she has made people root for her when many of them have been doing the opposite for a long time. While doing so, she also made most of the world pick on her ex-boyfriend… which is basically the best breakup revenge of all time.


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