In Bolton, we have an example of someone whose image -- that of an offensively inoffensive pop rock crooner beloved by moms who dance with elbows akimbo -- had taken a beating in pop culture. Yet, he had enough confidence and belief in his work that he was able to not only take the teasing in stride, but embrace it. While all popular artists hire teams of professionals to expertly manufacture an image they'd like to portray, the strings are much, much too apparent in Swift's attempts. Bolton's handling of his public image feels more organic, less forced. He seems like someone who is simply having a great time -- regardless of whether or not people have always wanted to join in.
Swift is obviously a savvy businesswoman, but she would do well to distance herself from her product -- her image -- to gain perspective. Have fun. Do good work. Relax. Embrace good criticism, discard the bad. Do more, better work. And have more fun. And maybe just, like. Climb on a boat and croon about pirates.