Being a pop culture writer— at its most basic description, a person who is paid to write about things and people large audiences care about— I think of myself as fairly to obnoxiously aware of all the various happenings in the world. I frequently have to check myself in conversations with non-internet/pop culture people, with caveats like “Before I start this story, do you know what or who Gamergate/Reddit/Tom Hiddleston is,” and you would be AMAZED at how often the answer is a flat-out no.
But Forbes released its list of the 100 highest paid celebrities this week, and even for me, for us, for people whose main interest in life is celebrities, celebrity culture, and, most importantly, the work they create— oh wow are we out of touch. Personally, I love pop music, I love books, and I LOVE television. Apparently, though, I love all of those things in very different ways than most humans do. Because to be on this list, you have to be loved by the masses. And I think we sometimes forget just how differently those masses think, and love. Because humans, in general, love other things, and they love them expensively.
#1 on this list: Taylor Swift, at $170 million.
Okay, I DO think it’s really cool that the world’s top earning celebrity is a woman, and one who identifies loudly and proudly as a feminist, to boot. However, Swift does not crack the top 100 (or any number at all, I would guess) that many, if not most of us here gave money to this year.
Following Swift, the list proceeds: One Direction (which I really don’t think should count, because that means the boys in that band have to split their amount between all however many there are of them), James Patterson (for people who love books, but only at airports), Dr. Phil (for people who love TV, but hate themselves), and Cristiano Ronaldo (…sports joke?).
Continuing feeling super out of touch with what people like and spend money on: Kevin Hart, Rush Limbaugh, and Garth Brooks all broke the top 20. So did AC/DC & Rolling Stones, but, I imagine, only because like 90% of the people in this world have never heard of literally anyone (except maybe Patterson!) on this list.
The Rock came in at #19 as the first person on the list to make me think “Hooray! I’m glad that person has stupid amounts of money lining their mattress!”
Also, if you’ve ever wondered why Calvin Harris is famous, I still don’t know, but he’s the 21st highest paid celebrity in the world. Last year, he made $63 million.