So I was standing in front of my kitchen sink, washing dishes like the horrible, woman-hating misanthrope that I am, when, on NPR, of all places, my ears were raped by the gyrating beats of Beyoncé Knowles that brought upon me an uncontrollable urge to start shaking my hips this way and that. The same artist who declared that “[girls] run the world” and opined that if you liked it, you “shoulda put a ring on it” is now eloquently contending that men “can’t keep [their] eyes off my fatty.” Well, I must say, Mrs. Knowles, I’ve never even glanced at your, er, “fatty,” so I can’t say one way or the other.
That choice quote is taken from Knowles’ new self-titled album: BEYONCÉ. Why is it all-caps? Who knows.
What is known is that Knowles has broken boundaries with her listeners. She has stripped them of cognitive autonomy and force-fed them feminism – whether they know it or not.
The sultry, exotic lyrics deeply rooted in sexual promiscuity disguised as “freedom” or “girl power” are prevalent throughout the album. Commentators are calling this “Beyoncé’s Feminist Manifesto.” First Lady Michelle Obama is lauding Beyoncé as a “role model who kids everywhere can look up to.” Others have suggested that Knowles is as important to feminism as Oprah.
Essentially, people like Beyoncé. And that’s cool. You have the right to listen to whatever type of music that makes your proverbial rump shake.
But it is the opinion of many that she is not making art – she is making noise.
Oh, 21st century, how you never cease to amaze and bore simultaneously with your shoddy definition of “art.”
During my time at Harvard, I had the opportunity to take a European Romanticism survey course. One of the assigned texts was The Sorrows of Young Werther, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Throughout the text, Werther writes to his friend Wilhelm about his stay in fictional Wahlheim and his experiences there. Among these were his meeting of Lotte, a beautiful peasant girl who was engaged to be married to a man named Albert.
The love triangle becomes juicier and progressively scandalous as you turn the pages. Werther ultimately becomes consumed by his attachment to Lotte, resulting in his suicide.
That’s what worship of women gets you.
And so it is with Beyoncé. All men, everywhere, at all times, should live in awe of the opposite sex. Look upon its glory and power. Genuflect. A bit further. Bow your head, now. There you go.
The adoration of the “fatty” must be constant and ceaseless, Beyoncé suggests. The worship of drugs and alcohol, which is further detailed in her lyrics, is to be vaunted. We’re royalty. Hurrah.
But among those lyrics – if one can call these sordid rhymes that a five-year-old could fashion “lyrics” – one cannot find the true reverence for art, beauty, love, life, and death. They cannot find true reverence for the complexity of the human plight, the deciphering of the existential dilemma, an explanation for loss or a pathway to grieve. It’s just not there.
And what is true reverence?
Understanding the human condition and expressing your interpretation with various methods and techniques.
Art introduces the “new.” It introduces something different. The artist (which includes the terms “poet” and “songwriter”), therefore, is a legislator. Transcendence takes place logically, not temporally. Knowles and people like her are temporal hacks – not artistic performers. The logic, the journey for knowledge, the yearning for a deeper, fuller understanding of the human soul – has been lost.
The universal and eternal truths of equality and justice are the pillars of art.
Those who have the millions of dollars to create and express themselves have a responsibility to make a statement for the culture that they live in. These celebrities can often be used as a gauge with which a society can be measured for its cultural appreciation. And Knowles, as one of the most “successful” (by society’s standards) artists of this day and age, has left cultural dynamism in the mud in favor of grotesque feminist garbage.
Life, death, sadness, joy, sorrow, and pity are all important, timeless issues that deserve artistic attention. But Beyoncé’s “fatty” is more important, isn’t it?
Humanity looks to its artists and leaders of thought for answers surrounding the human condition. But Beyoncé’s “fatty” needs to be scrutinized because it is important.
Wrong. We can’t have a dialogue about life in a dubstep song. We can’t wax poetic as the “fatty” is shoved in our ears, deafening them with its cushioning, muffling prowess. The fatty makes us want to eat at McDonald’s. The fatty culture wants us to adhere to the phony theory of patriarchy. The fatty has mended my mind and soul so that it is numb – without artistic expression and without an understanding of the human condition.
The word of the year, as decided by the folks over at the Oxford English Dictionary, is “selfie.”
Earlier this year, Miley Cyrus got partially naked and “twerked” on national television.
Only a few more nails need to be thrashed into the coffin of high culture to ensure a steady death. I think we can count on Ke$ha, Britney Spears, and Zooey Deschanel to take care of that for us.
Hastening the death of high culture is the fact that the airwaves are dominated by Beyoncé’s egocentric, worldly, feminist audio bible; lauding sexually “free” matriarchy and woman empowerment (read: supremacy) line after line. Her album is accompanied by a pornographic and stomach-churning slew of music videos, which I admittedly have not watched. And quite honestly, I have not listened to the album, either. But I read the lyrics.
And I wept.
Editor’s note: Feature image of Beyonce by Asterio Tecson
Nicholas Alahverdian is an author, lobbyist, and scholar of comparative literature based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Dayton, Ohio. He is the Chief of Staff for the Judicial Accountability Committee and Legal Analyst at A Voice for Men and acts as a liaison between the Committee and the public. Educated at Harvard University, his research focuses on Sylvia Plath, James Joyce, psychological transference, and literature and the law. His legal specialties are false accuser analysis, prosecutorial misconduct, family law, personal injury, and general criminal law. Previously, he was a lobbyist that spearheaded prevention of child abuse and negligence in the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families through legislation and activism. Alahverdian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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