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Tuesday
Mar192013

Beyonce's "Bow Down" Is What Happens When You Read Internet Comments

No. Stop. Don't.

Beyonce just released an elbow-throwing, grimy ode to all her haters. Did it also confuse you? Here. Let me explain, but first listen to this.

Now read ...

A long time ago on a blog far away, I was an entertainment reporter writing about the local scene in Bakersfield. My page was typically frequented by good-natured fun lovers just wanting to know what the hottest beer hole was and theater geeks furiously looking for their own name in my play reviews. It also had trolls. So. Many. Trolls. But my trolls weren't just my trolls. In fact, it was all the work of one troll who was actually a fan of mine (BRAAAAM, YOU'VE BEEN INCEPTION'ED.)

This love/hate troll, who openly hated on my musical tastes, called me a "slut" for sharing the world's most innocent kiss with an actor at wrap party, and seemed really obsessed with calling me stupid was very busy, as he trolled pretty much every blog at The Bakersfield Californian. He was pretty awful and in his love note/hate email to me he apologized for being a douche, admitted to loving my writing, but hating the writing of another writer he'd harassed so badly her police officer husband would have given anything to know who he was. 

Unfortunately, shortly after he revealed himself to me (rookie move, troll) our servers crashed and I lost all my old emails. Lena's* husband was never going to get that sweet Kern County justice on that weirdo. 

I say all this because even then, in my 20s, I knew not to feed the trolls. I'd been bullied for most of my youth and knew that the minute you showed any cracks in your facade the bullying got worse. By the time I was working at The Californian I was either openly mocking the trolls in my comments, baiting them or ignoring them altogether. I mean, I got a troll to reveal himself to me as a fan. As a proud narcissist, this didn't make me stop blogging/baiting at all.

I've since stopped baiting and now I'm on full-time ignore with no time for the dramz. Troll away. I'll just go back to pre-approving comments and continue sleeping peacefully at night. 

Still, if anyone tells you words don't hurt they are lying. Words often hurt much deeper and for much longer than a fist to the face. After all, your face will eventually heal. You'll be thinking forever about that time in the 8th grade when Vickie Barretti* tried to say you had chapped lips and they were "nasty" looking and how at least her friend who-the-hell-remembers-her-name had lipstick and how when you gave her the gas face she shouted "Oh my God! Are you crying!" Even though you weren't crying.

You don't do that anymore. Dumb broad.

She still told everyone I cried anyway. Haters. I swear. But yeah. Forever. Words.

But what does this have to do with Beyonce?

In her documentary she admitted that she is often tempted to look at what kind of response she is getting on the Internet. This makes sense as Beyonce is an approval-seeking, Try-Hard. (It takes one to know one as I am also the same.) Approval-seeking, try-hards are usually really talented but had at least one parent who seemed or in her case, was on purpose, emotionally withholding. This creates a void and if you're talented and competitive you become obsessed with winning Daddy's love or the world's love or someone's love. Like me! Really like me!

By design, even if they are "cool" in their career approval-seeking, try-hards are not "cool" in the hip, popular, socks never slid, traditional sense. Beyonce, when not rocking a onesie and dropping it like it's hot, is a massive goof nugget and possible musical kid dork.

NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

But it means you can probably make her feel bad. Hence Beyonce's "Eff u" stance on "Bow Down" is like that Valerie anecdote. In how I knew this chick was full of crap and likely her friend or someone else put her up. I'd cried before the week prior when another kid much more vicious than Valerie had gone in on me. But strangely, I don't remember what happened that made me spend lunch crying underneath the bleachers, but I remember Valerie because she was "trolling." She wanted to get that reaction out of me in the laziest way possible. My lips weren't even chapped.

Classic ... classic trollin'. 

Yet, it stuck with me to this day. 

Beyonce is dealing with an Internet-full of Valeries and as a try hard she's tried hard to get her "haters" to shut up. But just like my gas face, it does little. You don't feel any better afterwards. So you posture and you fake it and you go hard, go H.A.M., go Houston, but it just looks strange. Mostly because you're rich and talented and beautiful and already extremely popular with large segments of the population. Everyone loving you is simply not possible.

But you don't need to respond like you're some third-rate, status-humping singles jockey. You don't need to answer your haters. YOU KNOW THE OBAMAS. All messages to haters should come through the form of record sales and sold out tours. Stunts like this make you look shook and I know you can't be shook. That's not possible. Even if you are, you have to fake it. TRUST ME. I KNOW THESE THINGS.

And this can't be about Keri Hilson. It just can't. That's old business. This song makes it look like it took you three years to think up a comeback to a diss that doesn't even matter anymore because the only people who remember it are your stans who harassed Keri so much she took to Twitter and went all Michael Jackson, "Leave Me Alone."

Also, Gaga already did this and she did it better

But I understand. I truly understand. One Daddy's girl/Try-Hard to another. Next time you get this overwhelming urge to shut up your haters, just go work on your new album or play with your kid or have Jay teach you how to rap or something. Don't write a diss track and actually produce it and release it with a pageant girl photo of you in front of all your awards. Like, I'm ten-thousand celebrity rungs lower than you and the equivalent would be me responding to a troll with a lengthy post that's just my biography with links to TV appearances and an hour-long video of me flicking my hair back and forth rapping Nas' "Hate Me Now."

So Beyonce, girl. Ya crazy is showing (unless you want to finally let that out, but I don't think you do. You're kind of image conscious). Cram it back in. CRAM IT BACK IN.

That said. Hot track. Garbage lyrics, but great vocals and hot track.

Same goes for you, Gags.

* Not their names

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Reader Comments (8)

Damn. And there you have it. I too am a 'try hard'. I too have a growing fanbase, and with it has come the trolls. From Amazon stalking and harassment to outright vicious emails of the distasteful nature. I have stopped reading comments, reviews of bloggers and I now open emails with one eye shut. And my work has improved for it. I woke this morning curious about your spin on Bey's song. You rocked me to my core with this assessment. As a daddy's-girl who had to learn to love herself because he never could, I tip my hat to you. I don't like the term 'haters' and don't think myself any more special than the next author. But for ever slanderous arrow aimed at my art there is a golden rose tossed to my feet by a fan. So yes, Bey, pay attention. Bow down to your calling, your purpose, your beautiful family and soaring talent. Those that dig it will follow. In other words get some tough skin sister and make sure your music matures with you!

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSienna Mynx

@ Sienna Mynx:

At "Don't Sleep" one of the first things I told T. J. was to not re-watch video of himself if he could avoid it and let his friends and wife screen internet mentions and mail for him. Some stuff you just don't need to know as it will completely throw you off your game. I've had friends go read negative posts or comments about me and write me summaries. I don't need to see the actual words. Especially when most responses I get are overwhelmingly positive.

Good thing you've learned to avoid and ignore too.

March 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this post, it is over thought and dare I say projection heavy. Bow Down/I Been On is not in fact a single, simply a blend of two individual samples. It is marketing, pure and simple designed to do precisely what it has done, provoke CRAZY chatter (positive and negative) in advance of her tour. BRAVA BEY...

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

This song confuses me on so many levels. It doesn't fit her image at all, and is an odd move after the carefully controlled and executed response of her documentary. I am not a Beyoncé stan, but I felt bad for her during the whole "she's not really pregnant" controversy. This makes me feel like I did when Dawnn Lewis turned devilish in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka: extremely amused, a little "you go girl" and slightly scared that people can actually lose it like that. Or that time Ashley wanted Will to teach her how to confront a bully on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when she tried to act crazy to scare the girl off.

As you pointed out in your post, we sometimes respond to and remember more those people who try to capitalize on a pre-existing hurt. We resent that all the more because they aren't even trying. I'm sure if I had hot tracks at my disposal, I might have a collection of diss albums and responses that would rival rappers like LL Cool J, but I don't. I'm sure this isn't the first time that Beyoncé has put her hurt feelings on wax, but it usually ends up a well polished anthem that goes platinum, not...whatever this was. It's out of her public image spectrum. This is why stars need to bring back the active role of the PR consultant. Someone should have talked her off the ledge.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica

I think you make a great point as far as the troll aspect goes. I believe the past two years may have been the most intense and dramatic Beyoncé has seen when it comes to rumors and critiques. I can understand this song being a response to the trolls. And honestly, I don't see that as a problem. We are humans and it's only for so long you can tell someone "take the higher road," "ignore them, let it go." Sometimes you react. Beyoncé reacted. That isn't crazy. That's human. It is a natural response to push back on forces constantly pushing on you. So natural, that Beyoncé has done songs like this several times. I'm guessing the usage of more explicit language and the term "bow down" are what have people slightly thrown, but one would only need to be privy of a few singles to know this isn't new. 'Survivor' is a greatly censored version of 'Bow Down'/'I Been On' mash up, but it's still a huge resume brag to her "haters" and former groupmates. In the 'Why Don't You Love Me' video, Beyoncé has a scene where she's dusting off all of her grammy awards. Then, there's my personal favorite, 'Diva' which is pretty much the prelude to 'Bow Down' AND 'I Been On,' the starting verse giving 'been the number one diva in this game for a minute' X10. So again, I don't really see how this is "her crazy showing" or her doing anything out of her usual. This isn't the first time she's addressed her trolls. She quite frequently incorporates it into her music and/or performances, then keeps it moving. I see nothing wrong with that.
I'm actually looking forward to the full versions of these songs.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicci J.

lol i can't even be mad tho.... she just goin hard stylin on cats.. people thought she was some beauty queen wifey and she showing that she loves this music shit and she can capture a grimey street sound. Yea she's flossin a little extra but that's the point.. she's played the innocent role for a while now, and it's time to grab some attention back. it's all strategic marketing. yea she know's the obamas but she saying still don't get it twisted. Her husbands a x drug dealer lol I'm not shocked... Now as far as Lady GAGA, she needs to fall back... who says "strapped with my AK" lol

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKid Equinox

I think Beyonce may aim to seek approval, and it may very well come from a place of hurt and confusion dating back to her childhood but we don't know that; and I don't think you can come to such a conclusion based on a single. Its not exactly art-- one that requires an emotional attachment-- this is a single. A thrown together, pop song that a lot of people, not just Beyonce, had a hand in.

I don't believe there would be this much "tsk, tsk," behind this single if it was Jay-Z's! Jay would've been able to take the same pic and replace a young Bey with him as a kid and nobody would bat an eye. Woman can't be cocky? This is pop music not a Christian song. Let Bey be great, damn it. And this is NOT coming from a stan. Not even a fan! Just someone who recognizes the gender disparity.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUrbanWhim

I like most of Beyonce's music and I do believe that she has some haters. However she should take the advice of some people who are giving her constructive criticism Her Superbowl performance was over the top and little children were at the event and should not have been exposed to that. Withering on the ground in front of kids in lingerie is unseemly. Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keyes gave tasteful, classy performances, while Bey came off as trashy and out of place. Bey's performance would be fine in the red light district or Vegas performance, but it was definitively not for a G rated audience. She needs to learn from others mistakes. Janet was so traumatized by the backlash from the American public for her wardrobe malfunction that now she is wearing a burka LOL. Now I would not go that far, but she really needs to think about her audience when she performs in the future, or she will continue to suffer from the backlash of the American moral majority and sensors, that will negatively impact her career. I doubt she will ever be invited back to perform for the Superbowl. If Bey wants to perform at wholesome events she needs to tone it down for those events, to respect her audience, and she she will gain their respect also. Right now she is not very respected by most and they think of here as "Queen" of the strippers. But she can turn her image around perhaps she should hire an image consultant or PR person as an earlier comment-er suggested.

March 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

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