Ever since she took a stand against a Republican senate candidate, prompting midterm voting numbers to skyrocket in her home state of Tennessee, Taylor Swift has been on a mission of sorts to make up for the infamous silence she’s long maintained when it comes to politics. And while she’s continued to do so in recent months—from writing an open letter to a sentor about LGBTQ rights to simply painting her toenails red, white, and blue—she’s also taken up a new cause: the importance of correct spelling.
That began with the release of her new song and music video “Me!” in April. But of course, as she’s wont to do, Swift began dropping mysterious breadcrumbs about it weeks and weeks in advance. Conspiracy theories about what was to come grew increasingly ludicrous, and even the widespread speculation that Swift might use the song to address her sexuality turned out to be false. Instead, “Me!” ended up being a vehicle for Swift to send a more general message of self-acceptance—one that comes to a head in the song’s bridge, which begins with her and Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie enthusiastically declaring, “Hey, kids! Spelling is fun!” (From there come verses such as “Girl, there ain’t no I in ‘team’ / But you know there is a ‘me'” / And you can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’ / I promise that you’ll never find another like me.”)
This week, however, several intrepid fans discovered a flaw in that message—one that had been hiding in plain sight, on their “Me!” merch, for a full month. At first glance, the shirts in question simply feature an all-caps lyric from the song: “YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE OF YOU.” But a closer look reveals that they also feature an all-caps typo; the word “YOU’RE” is instead spelled “YOUR’E.”
Naturally, this sent a flurry of Swifties on a fact-checking mission to their closets. “Oh, the irony,” one of the many who tweeted her findings said in a video of her wearing the erroneous merch. Some were sympathetic in their replies, both to Swift herself—”I bet Tay doesn’t know about this because if she did she would be so upset”—and to the intrepid fan who made the initial discovery: “I guess they didn’t listen when Taylor said that spelling is fun. I hope you can get it sorted.” But others could barely contain their outrage, as in this reply to the latter tweet: “They get to keep their job. And those consumers get to keep their defective merchandise. Embarrassing all round but then that’s the state of things to come…”
Amidst all that digging, some began to realize that they were making an error, too; technically, it’s punctuation, not spelling, that’s the issue at hand. And yet, knowing Swift, who’s nothing if not meticulous, there exists another possibility:
And yet, unlike many of the ludicrous conspiracy theories that the buildup to “Me!” spawned, few are willing to get on board with that. As one Swiftie put it, “a typo isn’t a cute Easter egg.”