(Etta James, Chaka Khan, Roseanne Barr all preceded Annie in setting the wrong foot on the wrong terrain. Apologies needed to be released left and right.)
Know this, world: Beyoncé is infallible. Her work or persona is not to be criticized by anyone, in any context, and not in the slightest. Everyone criticizing her, I’ve noticed, ends up having to apologize, explain themselves, or is being portrayed by the media as crazy.
But fear not, dear fans of Beyoncé. Your most favorite person in the world merely serves as a hook for this post. Certainly, this is certainly not a new phenomenon. It’s always fun to refresh your memory!
Every generation has their Untouchables: People of any industry who managed to stylize themselves into some sort of authoritative presence. They frequently represent a contradictory mix of “I am just like you” (usually, in the beginnings of their career) and “You can never be like me” (usually, once their career is well-established).
In today’s generation, this mix becomes most apparent in the world of pop music and their glorification of money and jewelry, while the Western world is experiencing the toughest, longest recession since the Great Depression.
In some cases, celebrities stylize themselves as royalties – or sometimes this is being done by their fans instead. And a few seem to transcend even that realm – for example, if their image relies heavily on humanitarian work –, so that sanctification seems more apt.
What I find most puzzling is how crowds of people, in person and on the internet, flock to defend their heroes and heroines.
These Untouchables don’t even need to react to anything anymore: They have enough supporters who will get angry and aim to set things straight on their behalf.
Where is this harsh defense coming from? Why are so many people feeling offended and even feeling the need to step in and voice their concern? Why have other critical voices even received death threats in the past?
How did we, in fact, go from a once freedom- and independence-loving society to this noisy herd of sheep? Where did our tolerance for diverging opinions, or a healthy amount of conflict in general go?