Ryan Alexander-Tanner

I DIDN'T SEE Napoleon Dynamite when it was in theaters, but I was in high school when it came out, so I didn't need to see it in theaters—or at all. The mania came slowly at first: funny kids quoting it and getting laughs, and then less-funny kids quoting it and getting laughs, and then the funny kids stopped quoting it, and then the less-funny kids started wearing "Vote for Pablo" T-shirts, and then everyone was quoting it, and then people were talking about tots more than they used to, and then people were cracking up about Uncle Rico and llamas and all that shit.

I hadn't seen Napoleon Dynamite and I was already tired of it. But when I did see it, it was pretty good! It wasn't good enough, though, to escape my unfortunate preconception. And so "Napoleon Dynamite Syndrome"—in which fans of something good ruin it—was born, and it's been ruining good things ever since. The list is long: Donnie Darko, sports teams from Boston, LCD Soundsystem, Borat, Bernie Sanders, bacon, the Portland Timbers, IPAs, Girls, Vine. But the latest victim of Napoleon Dynamite Syndrome is Beyoncé.

Okay, I shouldn't say Beyoncé is the victim of anything, here. Beyoncé will never know I exist, and couldn't care less if I enjoy her music or not—which I do, I fucking love some of her music. She hits dizzying highs when she's at her best, and her bad stuff is usually just mediocre. She's like an Easter basket—pull away some of that weird fake green grass and there's a bunch of super tight candy in there. Also, Lemonade is a fantastic album, and the video/movie or whatever we're calling the accompanying visual piece that came with it, is beautiful and intriguing.

No shade on Beyoncé here, and no shade on her fans really, but... it's just kind of... annoying, I guess? It's weird when pop culture becomes messianic. It's an odd fit, especially, for the declarative and hyperbolic nature of social media. My experience with Lemonade has been time spent with a very enjoyable album, and scrolling through people writing "YAS KWEEN" and "THIS" and posting gifs of Beyoncé smashing car windows like "ATTENTION ALL STRAIGHT WHITE MEN." It's kind of jarring seeing some women who I KNOW cheated on their partners beating the Becky-with-the-good-hair bible like they know hell is real.

The sword should be harder to pull out of the stone. It seems inauthentic, maybe. Or maybe it's just annoying because it's prevalent, and it certainly deserves to be prevalent. Maybe I should just shut up and enjoy the album. That's what I'll do. Now how much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?  @IanKarmel