Beyoncé, upon marrying rap mogul Jay-Z, stylized herself for her subsequent album entitled “Mrs. Carter” as a pop version of Queen Elizabeth I

Beyoncé, upon marrying rap mogul Jay-Z, stylized herself for her subsequent album entitled “Mrs. Carter” as a pop version of Queen Elizabeth I

Recently, I came upon a piece about Annie Lennox taking a stance against twerking being an expression of feminism – and causing an uproar in Twitterland and gossip magazines as a result.

What did the pop/rock legend do wrong? The interviewer asked about her thoughts on Beyoncé and feminism. Annie’s replies upset so many people that she felt the need to explain herself later.

(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!

Some people get upset when another person shows a disinterest in The Beatles: “You cannot be disinterested in the Beatles! You must be an ignorant, then.” Why the anger?

Some people get upset when another person shows a lack of interest in or appreciation of The Beatles: “How can you not care about The Beatles? You must be an ignorant, then.” Why the anger?

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).

King Elvis, Internet art by a fan

King Elvis Presley, Internet art by a fan

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.

Michael Jackson, Album art for "Michael", Posthumously released in 2010

Michael Jackson, Album art for “Michael”, Posthumously released in 2010

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?

Kate Kretz: Blessed Art Thou, 2006, oil & acrylic. Kretz’ depiction of Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary received much attention.

Kate Kretz: Blessed Art Thou, 2006, oil & acrylic. Kretz’ depiction of Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary received much attention.