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Taylor Swift: why so much cruelty to such a successful young star?

She's 23 and one of the bestselling female artists in music history - yet she gets a bad press for her love life

When you are 23 years old and have already become one of the bestselling female artists in music history (she made $57m last year alone), you have to accept that there will be people out there who will want to take you down a peg or two.

What you might not expect is that your local paper will see fit to run a headline proclaiming "Taylor Swift: Laughingstock". That fellow celebrities will be lining up to joke about your love life (as Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did in January). Or that the world's press would collectively whoop when a pile of unopened fan letters are found in a recycling bin in Nashville.

But this isn't one of those poor-little-rich-girl pleas. Neither is it an argument for the credibility of Swift's music, which, like a dog whistle, tends to be pitched at a frequency only pre- and early teen girls can hear.

This is about a spurious story concocted entirely to further slur a harmless teen icon, who might, just might, one day turn into something more.

"She always projects an image of caring deeply for her fans," opined the Daily Mail with glee, when the fanmail story broke. And your point is? Did Swift throw the letters away herself? No. They were sent to a post office from where her people were meant to collect them.

Further to that, do young people who write such letters really expect a response (that Santa Claus, he never writes …) or is the purpose in the penning.

So, Taylor Swift, here's an open fan letter your people can feel free to discard. There is nothing wrong with being young and attractive or wanting to go out on dates with suitable men. There is something old-fashioned, noble even, about writing songs that have a vague correlation to your personal life. And there is something lovely about the way you describe yourself as "Happy. Free. Confused. Lonely. At the same time" on your Twitter account.

My advice? Don't tinker, Taylor.