Why We’re Angry That Beyoncé Lip-Synced the National Anthem

We were duped.

Before the world discovered that Beyoncé Knowles lip-synced the national anthem at the second inaugural of Barack Hussein Obama, she briefly brought America together. Republican or Democrat, gay or straight, one thing we all agreed on was this: The lady nailed it. In the swoops and dives, o’er the mountains of melody, with her eyebrows bouncing merrily along, her voice forged an inspirational pathway toward that iconic American crescendo that gets even the crankiest among us misty-eyed at the ballpark. At one point, she even pulled out her earpiece—a moment that felt fantastically triumphant, though we had no idea what the triumph was all about.

This being the 21st century, she was still holding the last note when we all grabbed our phones to explode into textual, Twittified applause. (The Mayor of Newark tweeted while she was singing. He won’t be invited to play with the baby anytime soon.)

Now people feel betrayed by Beyoncé—not because her real rendition would have been terrible, but because we feel like dupes. We thought we’d all been sharing a national moment, as though we were huddled around a radio or gathered at the one house on the block that had a TV. We’d let our guard down—we couldn’t help it, really, with all that singing going on—and got filled up, like plastic beer steins, with pride and unity and love of country. We would have stood and sworn on something, anything—just hand me that copy of Entertainment Weekly, will you?—to pledge our allegiance forever and anon! It was Texas bluebonnets for everyone, everywhere!

Except for Beyoncé. She was not sharing the moment with us. She was faking it. Now we’re a little pissed off, frankly, that we were thinking all kinds of warm things about her and Jay-Z and Ivy and America, as though we’re all enfolded by the same America even though her family spends $400,000 per month for a summer rental in the Hamptons while we consider a two-for-one weekend special at the Borgata.

We knew it was wrong to feel so insanely patriotic! What the heck happened? This whole lip-syncing fiasco is proof positive of how completely bankrupt this country is (all together now). It’s all surface, all for show, all fakery and folderol. When Marilyn Monroe sang her weird “Happy Birthday” to JFK, was she lip-syncing? Don’t think so!

Now it’s back to the Commons to share the next national moment with our fellows.

United, once again!