So some people freaked out about Beyoncé’s Super Bowl appearance. Not people who matter, or people whose opinions you’d ever want to hear, but people like Rudy Giuliani and the Fox News morning show hosts. People who have no problem playing to the more racist elements of society. The kind of people who think anything that’s pro-black is inherently anti-cop, anti-white and anti-American. People whose words give solace and inspiration to racists. People whose words could very easily make other people view them as racists. There’s even a group of them who planned some kind of rally or protest in front of the NFL headquarters. It’s just another ridiculous incident in these increasingly ridiculous times.
Last night Saturday Night Live aired “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black,” a short film that parodied that overreaction by imagining what America would be like if every white person was just like the race-baiting phonies who ginned up this insincere controversy. (You can watch it above.) SNL tries to make something that is legitimately politically and culturally relevant at least once an episode, and this fit that bill in last night’s episode. It’s a little hard to actually find it funny if, like us, you’re so sick of everything about this completely fraudulent controversy. The video’s built on a fine comedic premise, and executes it well, and everything, but the kind of bullshit, politically-motivated overreaction that prompted it is so exhausting, so calculated and so ever-present now that it’s become really hard to find anything to laugh at about it.
If you claim that Beyoncé’s halftime show was racist or encouraged anti-police violence you’re either a shameless manipulator, a legitimate racist or an absolute idiot, and probably all three. It’s such a crass and foolish argument that it feels like a complete waste of time to make any response, even one as funny and well-crafted as this video. People like Giuliani say this stuff to distract and divide, and responding to an argument as baseless and insincere as his simply plays into those plans. Engaging in any way lets them claim a kind of victory. But then not engaging enough to point out how full of bullshit this disingenuous tripe is lets the claim hang out there in the air and possibly influence some people who aren’t already inclined to agree with it, so it’s also bad to not engage with it. It’s a tactic that leaves no clear path to victory for your enemy. So maybe the best way to respond really is with a video like “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black,” then, even if its background is so fully steeped in bullshit that you just can’t find a way to laugh at it.