This isn't the first time there's been a bit of a scandal over lip-syncing or the performance of the National Anthem. Personally, I didn't bother to watch the inauguration, since I had to work, but before the end of the day I caught on to the buzz that Beyonce Knowles possibly lip-synced her performance of the Star Spangled Banner. Can't say I was terribly alarmed or concerned, until I heard a report that the Marine Corps Band had play-synced (or pre-recorded) their performance and possibly, Beyonce was singing along to that.
From the Huffington Post: Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf said that because there was no opportunity for Beyonce to rehearse with the Marine Band, it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill advised. Instead they used a pre-recorded track for the band's portion of the song.
That's what put another ding in my faith in humanity. Perfection is now required. Our society has no tolerance for mistakes. Is it because we have instant and immediate access to YouTube, and can replay and replay any error AND mock it in the comments section?
If Beyonce's voice cracked in the cold weather - a crush of reporters would rush to criticize her - never mind that they can't sing a note half as well themselves. It would become the top story for full week and millions of hits on YouTube, compounded questioning and quite frankly wasted hours of speculation on something that wouldn't matter much if our society would just allow for mistakes.
When will we learn that humans aren't perfect? Can't be perfect? Why does our society want to make gods of men and women? We have no room for error for someone who sings well - to deal with variables like 19-degree temperatures or even the common cold.
Granted, Mid-January weather in Washington DC is not ideal for vocal or instrumental performances. Not good for the instruments, not good for the pipes. So why even bother with the illusion? If what we want, or demand, are flawless performances - why not just play the recording without the pomp and circumstance? Would the spectacle of an inauguration be less impressive without a band in place? Because why coordinate to bring the Marine Corps Band in at all? And all those instruments? Hotel rooms? Shuttle buses? What matters more, the performance or the illusion of the performance?
Oh, but the whole thing is a show anyway. Mr. Obama was sworn into office on January 20th - as specified in the 20th amendment of the constitution.
I certainly don't blame a renowned singer for wanting to protect her instrument in cold weather - but if that was so important, why couldn't she wear a coat?
But I'm a bit suspicious that there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles and the Marine Corps Band to practice... in a month and half, that couldn't happen? I think that says more about our priorities than anything else. We demand perfection, but don't expect to work for it.