Beyoncé’s Othello Moment: It Was Not That I Did Not Care, I Cared Too Much

220px-Beyonce_Knowles_with_necklacesI know that many people are not bothered by the lip-syncing of the national anthem at the Inauguration — or at least not as much as some of us. I must confess that I am still ticked about the deception at a ceremony with a great deal of symbolism for the country’s democratic traditions. For constitutionalists, the ceremony represents the fulfillment of our commitment to peaceful transfers of power. For that reason, I was less than thrilled with Beyoncé’s effort (after weeks of silence) to rehabilitate herself at a press conference yesterday. Her public relations people appear to have read Othello and adopted the defense that Beyonce is not lazy or spoiled but “one that lov’d not wisely but too well.”

Many fans (including myself) do not want to listen to her sing at the Superbowl which appears to be important enough to her to actually perform as opposed to the inauguration. The press conference was meant to show that it was not that she did not care about the Inauguration but cared too much. I was not convinced. Indeed, I felt she doubled down on the lie.

Beyoncé began by singing the National Anthem at the press conference. This thrilled the largely enraptured reporters with the celebrity. No one asked why she could do that at a press conference but not the Inauguration. She however offered a spin that seemed well-constructed by her press people. First, she insisted that “Well, I am a perfectionist. I practice until my feet bleed, and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra.” Well, if you are such a perfectionist, how about showing up for rehearsal or taking the time to prepare. You clearly had the time for a press conference before a football game.

Then she added: “It was a live television show, and a very, very important, emotional show for me, one of my proudest moments. And due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk.” Really? Clarkson, Taylor and others are huge performers and yet made it to rehearsal and sang in the elements. They also viewed this as an important day. Indeed, the importance of the day is to have authentic performances — not pretend singing for a pretend event. She was not asked to lip-sync. She was given his honor to sing. That is particularly the case when it is our national anthem.

She then added “It was about the president and the inauguration and I wanted to make him and my country proud. So I decided to sing along with my prerecorded track, which is very common in the music industry. I am very proud of my performance.” Well, it was about the President until you lip-synced the anthem. It is common in the music industry until it is discovered on shows like Saturday Night Live –and then the performers are ridiculed like Ashlee Simpson. If she is proud of her performance (or non-performance), she appears alone. What she gave Americans is the thrill of watching her pretend to sing.

Once again, I know many people do not care. I do. I think her decision (and the Marine band’s decision to go along with her) is an utter disgrace. Her press conference (which seemed to lack any serious questions from reporters) sounded like the confession of a diva: you got to see me and no one promised you a real live performance. Like many, I will be grinding my teeth as Beyoncé sings live at the Superbowl because a “perfectionist” takes the time to rehearse for a football game.

Source: CBS

48 thoughts on “Beyoncé’s Othello Moment: It Was Not That I Did Not Care, I Cared Too Much

  1. Well,….. Newt cheated on his 2nd wife because he was filled with “Patriotism”. I think Beyonce and Newt are both filled with something.
    Patriotism is not my first guess.

    …… maybe Newt meant Priapism. :)

  2. I am concerned about putting up a front too, because fronts are phony.

    However, there are major fronts and there are minor fronts.

    The greatest front our nation has put up has been going strong and growing, and it is a gross violation of the Establishment Clause.

    It is The Spiritual-Industrial Complex, the military religion that promotes major league holy wars.

    The song that is lip-synced by military “holy warriors” is “With God on Our Side”.

    The implication is that the military does not need the people because it has a much higher calling … exorcism of evil.

    It is the most dangerous madness on the planet at this time in history.

  3. “She did a beautiful job with the pre-record. . . Next time I’ll probably do the same.” -Aretha Franklin

    Quoted: Aretha Franklin defends Beyonce lip-sync

    By The Reliable Source


    — Aretha Franklin weighing in on the Beyonce lip-sync controversy, in an interview with ABC. The Queen of Soul made it clear that her performance of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at the 2009 inauguration was live, not Memorex — but says the cold weather was rough on her voice that day and that the younger diva made an arguably shrewd choice. (Assuming Bey did actually lip-sync. Still searching for answers.) “The weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather,” Franklin added. (UPDATE 1/24, read more: Other stars defend Beyonce; questions remain)


    “Everyone weighs in on Beyonce lip-sync controversy — except for Beyonce”–except-for-beyonce/2013/01/23/003e89e6-65b7-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_blog.html

  4. Huh, I don’t watch your TV, but I always assumed that all singing artists lip-synced at any major event. So in keeping with the American way of life.:-)

    In all fairness to her and artists in general, nobody does a live audition to get a contract. Is is always, demos and promos.

    If I was P.O.’d, then it was at the cost of it all, and the 1776 clad puppet soldiers. If it is to be soldiers, the how about some in wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs riding down the avenue.

    Or even better, a whole honor guard armed with M16’s, loaded.

  5. AP,

    “anonymously posted1, February 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

    If the foundation is crumbling, why fret about the facade?

    So appropriate.

    But it is his blog, but getting hung up on the small stuff is a bit demeaning.
    Even to us also. But WTF, nobody’s perfect. Professor Turley takes his sports and ceremonies seriously, which is his right, and all young men’s duty to protect. Only old farts like me may protest, quietly.

  6. This was a non-issue when it came out & even less of one now.

    There are a lot of excuses she could give. Maybe she was scared she would pull a John Roberts, maybe she was saving her voice for concerts. But really who cares? Absolutely nobody was there to see and hear her. On Sunday almost nobody will care about the pointless half-time show at a pointless football game. If she lip syncs there it will not matter a bit.

    People that showed up for the inauguration and those that will be glued to the TV SUnday are not drawn to those events to hear her live or memorex

  7. There is nothing unusual about January having a 45 deg. day, so if what’s-her-name thought that the weather might be bad for her voice she should have declined the honor.

    The point is that the weather was not her problem, her unwillingness to show up at the agreed-upon hour to rehearse was her problem. I guess it was important enough to her ego to be asked to sing and then to agree to sing — outdoors in January — but not important enough to her to arrange her schedule so she could rehearse.

    There is no shortage of singers — as good as Beyonce – who could and would have sung the Star Spangled banner as well as and even better than she did.

    Her excuse is just baloney.

    Ceremonies are either important or they are just so much advertising for the performers

  8. As a musician this does bother me. Why? Because there are countless, trained and practiced vocalists who prepare for live performances like the professionals they are, and then there are pop idols like Beyoncé that we treat as if they are real musicians. If we wanted a real musician to performs at this event, Obama would have gotten a real one. But we wanted a pop idol, a symbol of mass consumption and not actual music culture, and so that’s what Obama got–which says so much about our national politics, by the way–and so, of course, we shouldn’t expect her to be able to perform like an actual, trained and practiced musician. You can buy a tin can and tell yourself it’s made of gold, but it doesn’t make it gold.

    This is the nature of our consumerist culture. It’s the bed we’ve made for ourselves.

  9. “Ceremonies are either important or they are just so much advertising for the performers”


    In the (m)ad, (m)ad, (m)ad world of American commercialism much of what we’ve seen creeping into our our ceremonies and entertainment is the cross pollination between self promotion and ritual. While given an honor at a National ritual no doubt had some meaning to Beyonce, she had a brand to protect. A poor performance could have led to loss of fame status and actual income. Far better from her perspective to not gamble. “Lip synching” has become a norm for many in the music industry and the idea of seeing a “live” performance has become a hit or miss proposition. I agree that ceremonies have just become advertising for performers.

    I agree with JT and I find “lip synching” disturbing, whether at an inauguration, at a super bowl, or even a TV awards show. Part of enjoying listening to a musical performance that gives it excitement, is that it is “live” and not pre-recorded. The National Anthem is a difficult song to sing and so our judgment of a particular performance has to be based on its quality. With taped performances one can jigger them around to assure perfection, but that perfection is phony and thus disturbing.

  10. Time to get over it. The inauguration was Sunday. Monday was a show. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with things like drone strikes, rendition, over zealous prosecutors and poorly written laws? After all, she DID sing the recording that was played.

    Much ado about nothing…


  11. T. Hunt,

    Hear, hear.

    “Shouldn’t we be more concerned with things like drone strikes, rendition, over zealous prosecutors and poorly written laws?”

    Hell, yes… as well as what’s going on domestically. Most Americans have no idea…

    Hints that are ignored… (“‘US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture’ – CIA veteran John Kiriakou”) (“Iceland Kicked Out FBI Agents Who Flew in Unannounced to Investigate WikiLeaks Operations in the Country”)

    Sadly, in spite of all the warnings, we’ll keep marching towards the abyss.

  12. Marian Anderson — one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century — wore a fur coat when she sang her 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial, so I guess it was a pretty cold day there.

    Yet, she managed to sing many songs — live — that cold, late afternoon.

    Her voice was broadcast to millions across the nation, so I guess she had as much at risk to her reputation (and economic well-being) as Beyonce would have had if she had sung live.

    Marian Anderson’s live outdoor concert was a sensation and has lived in memory as a great moment in time. There was nothing phony about it.

  13. Jim – Our country’s democratic traditions are a joke — they are no longer true in any sense. It is all smoke and mirrors for the masses. I baffles me why this bothers you so much given the entire system has been sold to Mammon and ego.

  14. Nal said:

    Beyoncé’s lip-syncing is appropriate for an administration that pays only lip service to civil liberties.

    Truth and nothing but the truth…

  15. January 20, 1961, the day of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, was a bitterly cold day in Washington; yet, Marian Anderson sang TWO verses of the Star Spangled Banner LIVE at the inauguration.

    Now THAT was a singer.

  16. … and, if one reads the remarks here and on other threads … Beyoncé left her host, the guy who asked her to perform, in a position of ridicule. Not exactly the manner in which one should repay the honor of the request.

  17. I have to also agree beyonce’s act was dishonourable. She should have came forward later and apologized, or at least explained why she did it and without the corporate PR double-speak.

    Yet, the crass person in me sees so much of a co-relation between the singing and what many of the pols on the hill hiss over their forked tongues the symbolism was a form of art in itself.

  18. Come on, it’s show biz. Anyone who thinks any of it — from the talent to the agents to the production — is real or anything approaching real has to get their eyes opened. It’s just supposed to entertain and amuse And you must never, ever pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

  19. I think that they ought to get a new citizen, someone who has just been given citizenship, to sing. Not some Hollywood titty with no first name, last name.

  20. Hey, hey. That is what I call civil discussion.

    From calling it frivolous, SOP, a dishonor to the ceremony, to the President. to proof of our being sold out, to do you expect anything real today—you are naive. etc etc..

    The best one? Ie the one that resonated most with me?
    One phony performance in a phony ceremony for a phony President.

    I would have preferred to hear Tom Waits.lipsyncing “Hold On”, or a capella with only his guitar. We have dishonored our flag as a nation so many times, so singing its honor seems truly phony.

    To all believers in our former greatness, there is a book called “You can’t go home again”, by the original Thomas Wolfe. And the title applies to all of the past. We have only the present to deal with. Whose Koolaid are you drinking now? Mythology was a recent blog here. And propaganda a series. Are we learning anything.

    Sceptic? You bet your sweet that I am.

  21. mespo,

    Well … guess I just wasted all those years in the Conservatory and all those hours and hours of practice … could have just payed the man behind the curtain to do it all.

  22. Show up on time, rehearse and sing. If you cannot do that stay home.. I really don’t care about Beyonce but the lying and the sanctimonious excuses really get under my skin. By the way Ms. B. the recording wasn’t that great so…….

  23. Who’s Beyonce and should I care?

    The “President” is just lip synching for the military industrial intelligence complex. It’s true for Obama (first job after college was CIA front “Business International”), it was true for Bush the Lesser, it was true for Bill “Mena, Arkansas” Clinton. It probably wasn’t true for “Poppy” Bush, since Bush 41 understood the deep politics of how the three letter agencies worked, having been Director of Central Intelligence.

    The inauguration is just theater, a spectacle. The illusion of democracy is a powerful means of control. Brave New World. The generals and spies are not voted in or out of office.

    I think a hike is a better idea for this Sunday than watching the televised gladiator contest.

  24. Mark,

    Poppy was working for the company before he got out of Yale. Intensive, but well-shielded career before his military time. Used his contacts there many times. Suggest Russ Baker’s book for a fascinating and horrifying tale.

    He used CIA to arrange Watergate. The billionaire oil magnates and the boys of NYC finance did not trust Nixon. Fascinating man. Terrible nation.

  25. There is a goat in the field nearby here named Bey Once. I never put two and two together. So, I looked it up on Google. This name comes from a singer (none dare call her a crooner) who worked in a cathouse in Vegas who was nicked named Bey Once by her co-wokers. They knew she was done when they heard her through the walls. The goat here is sort of famous but for a different reason. Lots of goats are now named Bey Once. This singer just codified the name. I thought that you all would want to know, being that you are all of inquiring mnd. Now, there is irony in the story. She had her chance to sing at the Inaugeration. Bey Once and forever hold your piece. Or his piece. Or peace on earth. And, get a new hairdo. “Baaaaa”, this goat says. And then she holds her peace.

  26. ……..and then there is Tom Waits. Jersey Girl. Bruce covered it.

    nr 41 out of 100 in list. Top Tracks for Tom Waits.

    My version:
    “idealist707 1 second ago
    Me and a Jersey girl, jewish princess, starlet quality. Met on Cape Cod, instant infatuation on my part. Consumated after 45 minutes. She wasn’t the girl of my dreams, because I had no dreams. just a goy on the NASA run, who got it lucky.
    We met again at my place on Long Island, almost proposed to her in parting,
    She went back the diplomat fiancé who had ditched her. I got drunk at the news. got split lip when showing ID to cops, and out on bail. Never forgot her, never will.

  27. Much better sources than Russ Baker:

    Colodny, Len and Gettlin, Robert. Silent Coup: The Removal of a President

    Hougan, Jim. Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA

    Davis, Deborah: Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post.

    and a review of Baker from Jim DiEugenio, author of Destiny Betrayed (one of the more careful, and accurate, books on the coup against JFK)

    I certainly would not want to exxon-erate Poppy Bush of any claim, but it’s also important to strive for accuracy among the errors and disinformation infesting these topics.

    fun fact: Obama is a distant cousin of Bush, Cheney, Kerry and ex-Senator Brown (R-Mass.), on Obama’s mom’s side (obviously). Obama’s first job after Columbia was Business International, a company that had been used as a CIA front.

    Whether or not some pop star lip synched or sang live could not be of less importance.

  28. Mark,

    I haven’t finished reading DiEugenio’s review yet, but it does indeed provide another view of the Baker book, than the impression that I have of it.

    To put it mildly, I am a novice in all this and will remain so, due to time, health, age and intelligence considerations. For me to criticize the DiEugenio review would be foolish. But will do so, in that its tone is one of sour grapes. Or perhaps instead he wanted to blast it, but held back. Something smells there. But haven’t finished it yet.

    I won’t waste your or my time on the merits/demerits of Baker’s book.
    Curious if you have read it.

    To me, the main theme of the book is to reveal, as well as he could document it, the interworkings of power. particularly as exercised by the Bushs, HW and W.
    I haven’t even read the Baker book fully, but keep using it as a way to arouse interest here for the deeper machinations of our society (whatever we call this thing). So far with little results. But that is anecdotal and can’t be given any significance as to the interest here.
    That this is a blawg, might also have some effect on the interest or lack thereof. Besides, who wants a nice lawyer career spoiled by unguarded suspicions uttered publicly.

    I would in itself be interested in a good JFK assassination book, and you recommend one. Similarly, the Bushes for the effect of what has happened since JFK and even today, a book on them, or the CIA or ???? as you would care to recommend would be appreciated.

    Special thanks for the link to the JFK site.

    We “conspiracy theorists” have to stick together, until we are all eliminated in the police state that is being created as we write. Not sure if you accept that soubriquet.

    Being a simple person, I look for a nexus which would explain our foreign policies, our world domination strategy, and the domestic scene. Surely the evil minds of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dubja, et al must have replacements at the central levers which steer the world’s course. And the fumbling process, where lobbyists, money, etc steer seems so inadequate an explanation.

    Do you know of a book which meets this need on my part?

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