James Madison defeated DeWitt Clinton in 1812 to secure a second term in the White House. To commemorate his inauguration, a craftsman from Paris made him a crystal flute. The flute eventually made its way into the possession of the Library of Congress and sat unplayed until this week, when Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden invited Lizzo, a classically trained flautist, to blow a few notes and even take the piece of history onstage during her concert in Washington, D.C.
Conservatives are none too pleased!
“Simply desecrating American history just for the sake of it,” wrote right-wing pundit Matt Walsh, adding that letting Lizzo play the flute sends a “message that our heritage and history are meaningless and that nothing we love or care about has any value.”
“This Lizzo-flute controversy is a perfect example of what I have termed Face Tattoo Phenomenon™,” tweeted Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire, where Walsh hosts a podcast, “the phenomenon whereby someone does something deliberately controversial in an attempt to draw attention, and then acts offended when you notice.”
The conservative Columbia Bugle called it a “humiliation ritual.” Right-wing commentator Greg Price wrote that “they” want to “degrade our history and then call you a racist if you actually value it.” Trump appointee Darren Beattie described Lizzo as the “perfect representative of the American Globalist Empire.” Trump superfan Nick Adams tweeted that the “Biden Administration is making a mockery of the country.” Former GOP congressional candidate Andrew McCarthy said everyone involved “should be deported.”
Jenna Ellis, a former member of Trump’s crack team of election fraud lawyers, even felt compelled to address the issue on her online show. “It’s hideous,” she said. “Lizzo is famous for being one of the most morbidly obese people in the world who claims that she’s oppressed.”
“This is desecration, purposefully, of America’s history,” Ellis added before bringing on right-wing commentator Ryan Fournier to talk about how “disgusting” Lizzo looked.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that the MAGA crowd is upset that a Black, body-positive pop star was given exclusive access to a piece of American history, and though the cruelty of their comments is yet another distressing sign of a right-wing that is increasingly animated by hatred, it’s also pretty damn hilarious that they’re writing about a novelty wind instrument like it’s the Declaration of Independence.
The tweets from triggered conservatives about Lizzo playing a 200-year-old flute they almost certainly weren’t even aware of before this week have indeed been entertaining, but the best comment about the incident came from Lizzo herself. “I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s,” she proclaimed on Tuesday. “We just made history tonight.”