Why are Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston pretending to date each other?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

I admit, I am utterly intrigued with this story, since this is apparently how young people, and their celebrities, are adapting to the Internet. In an era where celebrities can’t have real privacy, the only way for them to control the narrative is to go to war with it.

Most telling, though, is Swift’s own demonstrated self-awareness about her image. Swift — not to mention her team of publicists and agents — is savvy about the realities of media attention, which could mean anything from inviting a grab bag of musicians onstage for her worldwide tour to that annual July Fourth photo shoot with a grab bag of recognizable friends, or just waltzing out of the gym in perfect makeup and high heels.

Most notably, there’s the video for 2014’s “Blank Space,” in which she plays an unhinged woman who has a taste for fairy-tale courtship with chiseled men before getting paranoid and throwing them into the metaphorical woodchipper — a twisted version of Swift’s own reputation.

“Love’s a game,” Swift sings into the camera, red lips curling. “Wanna play?”

Lucky for her, Hiddleston is ready and willing.

…So whether this whole thing is for publicity or not, there’s just no way this guy didn’t do a spit take when he saw a similarly shameless and self-deprecating Swift face-plant on a treadmill in the name of corporate synergy.

For however much Tumblr notoriety Hiddleston has built up in recent years as part of his “internet boyfriend” status, Taylor Swift is one of the most successful pop stars on the planet. Media and fans alike have tracked every visible move of hers for almost a decade. Despite encouraging a spirited, if unofficial, campaign to become the next James Bond, Hiddleston doesn’t have anywhere near the level of recognition that Swift does, nor does he face the same pressure to cater to people’s expectations as she does.

So let’s be real: If “Hiddleswift” is, in fact, an elaborate prank, Swift is the one with the wherewithal and motivation to make it happen.

“How would she have done such a thing?” you ask?