Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart—actors who have taken, with glee, to the Internet and the culture that thrives on it—recently covered two tracks from Taylor Swift’s 1989. McKellen spoke the lyrics to “Bad Blood”; Stewart, during a radio show, did a similar take on “Blank Space.” Soon after, Stewart took to Twitter to let Swift know about the recordings. He concluded the announcement with a question: “May we join the squad?”
Welcome to the summer of the #squad. The one that finds Cosmopolitan declaring that “North West and Penelope Disick are giving us #Squad Goals again,” and The Huffington Post touting Sasha Obama and two of her pals as “the new standard for squad goals,” and BuzzFeed listing not just the “16 Ultimate Squad Goals Through History” (these include Mt. Rushmore, the Rat Pack, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and “Jesus and his disciples”) but also the “34 Times the Game of Thrones Stars Made You Want to Be in Their Squad.” The one that finds a marketing blog wondering, “Should brands join Snapchat’s squad?” The one that finds Instagram users across the country tagging their friends, all arm-bent and hip-thrust and attractively filtered, as #squads, and Tumblr users, announcing their own #squadgoals, digging up pastelled pictures of the Golden Girls. The one that finds Taylor Swift touring the country, in a series of shows that are equal parts pop performance and religious revival, with her squad—or rather her #squad—in tow.