Having narrowly escaped prosecution for her treasonous acts against America’s pride and pastries, poorly trained kitten Ariana Grande still faces the court of public opinion for her recent donut-licking rampage—a court where the promise of spittle-free donuts is the only reason jurors even show up in the morning. Grande has since apologized for allowing her tongue to trample all over America’s rights and baked goods, explaining her actions and comments—“I hate America. I hate Americans”—as an abridged version of a much longer, far more shaming speech on obesity. But as few seemed to appreciate Grande’s patriotic mission to lick all the donuts first so fat people wouldn’t eat them, she was then forced to issue an apology for that apology, as well as everything else about this story.

“I was so disgusted with myself,” Grande said in a video posted to her YouTube account. “I, like, wanted to shove my face in a pillow and disappear.” And if only someone had left a tray of pillows unattended, she might have done just that.

Still, self-flagellation and suffocation can only go so far to redeem you in the public eye. Our authorities and bakeries may have declined to press charges, but Joe and Jane America are not so quick to forgive, and Grande recognizes there’s little to stop them from expelling her from U.S. borders and setting her adrift on the sea. Yes, much like the protagonist of Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man Without A Country,” Grande could soon find herself condemned to spend the rest of her days warbling her shrill pop songs into the roiling waves, in the hopes of attracting dolphins whose blowholes she might lick. So she’s making every effort to declare her patriotism loudly and publicly in our town squares, before the people, logy with donuts, slowly rise up against her.

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“I’m so grateful to be here in Tampa,” Grande shrieked to her fans at a recent concert, a sentiment that performers only express when they really, really mean it. Her next statement was equally sincere: “And I’m so, so grateful to be here performing in the U.S.A.—the greatest country in the world! I love you guys so much.”

Ariana Grande loves America, Ariana Grande desperately proclaimed, even the part that has Tampa in it. And Ariana Grande is thankful she’s allowed to perform in America, instead of in the brig of a decommissioned aircraft carrier. If America were a donut, Ariana Grande would lick it—but only after paying for it first. Clearly convinced, the Tampa audience, at least, responded by cheering and not consigning her to a watery prison.

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