It stuck in my craw, though, so I gave it some thought. If she was having vocal problems or scheduling issues in the days before the event, she could have cancelled her performance, or rescheduled whatever conflicted with it.
The article suggests that the decision was last-minute, making cancellation more difficult: “the decision was made by Beyoncé herself, and might have been informed by her late arrival on Sunday, which didn’t allot her enough time to rehearse with the U.S. Marine Band.”
So, okay. Too late to cancel. Then what made her late? Getting delayed by the TSA?
If Beyoncé didn’t feel confident enough to perform live without rehearsing, then couldn’t she have made it a priority to arrive in time to, you know, rehearse?
I have a theory. I love theories. Beyoncé chose to lip-sync instead of spending extra time practicing because she felt entitled to that particular moment in the spotlight. Moreover, she felt entitled for that moment to be flawless, without actually putting in the work needed to deliver flawlessness.
Ah, entitlement. The idea that one has a right to be given something which should be obtained through effort. It comes up a lot these days, doesn’t it? It came up recently in my older son’s curriculum, in the book Little Britches. This book is a memoir of Ralph Moody’s childhood, beginning in 1906.
In Chapter 21, a visiting girl explains to Ralph how “smart men like her father never did have to work hard, because they knew the world owed them a living and there were easier ways to get it than doing hard work.”
That evening, Ralph asks his Father why he didn’t try to do the same thing.
“He just stood there for a minute, as if he didn’t know what he was going to say, then he put the stool right down in front of me and sat on it . . . ‘Son,’ he said, ‘I had hoped you wouldn’t run into anything like this till you were older, but maybe it’s just as well. There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. . . .
Some men work entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes–honest and dishonest.
Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.”
There you go. At the root of the entitlement mentality is dishonesty. It might be silly to theorize about whether this dishonesty drove the talented Beyoncé to pretend to sing live–such a small, inconsequential thing really.
Perhaps, though, this small and inconsequential thing demonstrates how much trouble we are in, as a culture, for the very reason that it is so inconsequential. Beyoncé would still be sleeping on bags of money tonight, even if she had cancelled. Her career would survive, even if her performance had been flawed. Yet she chose to compromise her integrity for the sake of, what? Appearance? The spotlight? And is it just me, or do we even notice anymore how easily people sell out their principles for very little pay off?
Oh well. Maybe I should just adopt Hillary’s attitude: “At this point, what difference does it make?”
Have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for coming around.