Monday, February 11, 2008

Whining About Winehouse, the Grammys

In my honest opinion, celebrating Amy Winehouse is akin to democratic politicians celebrating dictators, or U.S. soldiers celebrating terrorists. Regardless of talent, when you reward a human for her self-destructive tendencies - call me cynical, but I seriously doubt Winehouse won those Grammys despite her erratic habits - the message being sent is that it's okay to be a druggie who skips shows, so long as you can write songs and sing 'em.

Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter, in the end. Except for all the musically-talented kids who'll OD because the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave 'em a pass to do so. We so frequently publicly reward that which we inwardly deplore, and still people wonder how it is that terrorists can scare us as they do. Gawrsh, it's a mystery!

And let me tell you something else: The years Norah Jones and John Legend won their Grammys, the hype surrounding them made those awards quite predictable. The same went for this year: I knew beforehand that the Recording Academy was going to set on a pedestal a singualr personality, and anyone who knew that could also read the tea leaves and would've been able to tell that someone was likely going to be Amy Winehouse. Remember, we're not talking about the people celebrating the music; we're talking about insiders celebrating insiders, just like at the Oscars.

They'll pick who they want, not who we want (even if, sometimes, those preferences do coincide).

You wanna know the great thing about the Recording Academy? They think we were born yesterday. Of course, we're too busy prostrating ourselves before them to take the time and use the energy to disabuse them of that notion. If you ask me, given what we know about her and the way she acts, Amy Winehouse was just as shocked as Captain Renault in this classic scene (one of my favorites in any movie) from Casablanca:

Obviously, I'm not all that impressed. I'm not saying those who win Grammys shouldn't revel in having won the acceptance of their peers on such a wide scale, an acceptance they feel they so desperately need even if they pretend to not care one way or the other. I am saying, however, that we shouldn't be celebrating them as much as we do, because we haven't any say. We change our schedules - organize our lives - around watching the Oscars or the Grammys or the Emmys...but does watching those events change our lives?

Do these awards shows celebrate our professed democratic ideals, or mock them?

In a Republic, we're all supposed to be in the same boat. But all the lights, all the smoke, all the mirrors of major awards shows such as the Grammys demonstrate not only that there is an elite, but how much they see themselves as being above ordinary citizens. Keep in mind, there's nothing inherently wrong about these shows, and I'm not advocating that we should do away with them. For all my cynicism on the matter, I'm still taken in by the spectacle on occasion. To a point.

I do think, though, that the time spent watching the Oscars or Grammys might often be better spent watching however many movies or listening to however many albums can be fit into the same amount of time those broadcasts take up. Or heck, read a book. Remember what books are? Go out for dinner. Something. You can always see the parts of the Oscars or Grammys you wish to see online anyway, or at least will be able to one day. Why let those "stars" who care little for you determine your schedule?

I guess, in the end, what I'm trying to say is think for yourself. Don't choose the music you listen to based on whether an album won a Grammy, or on how many Grammys an artist earned. Listen to what you like, and if it happens to have the elites' stamp of approval, so be it. The same goes for movies - just because a film hasn't won an Oscar doesn't mean you don't have a right to see it, or shouldn't see it. No matter how talented an artist, or innovative or pleasing an album, or entertaining and mind-blowing a movie, the only recognition that really matters is the one you award.

For all their faults, our politicians recognize this.

Why do you think John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama want your vote so much? Their legitimacy is judged by how much proof of our approval they can garner and show off. An endorsement from a prominent or respected political figure may be the equivalent of a Grammy or Oscar in the Industry of Politics (a.k.a. Government), but in a country of one man, one vote, getting the Kennedy clan to back you doesn't really matter unless Massachusetts likes you too.

Same goes for Arizona: Just 'cause the Governor says she likes you doesn't mean Arizonans will actually choose you.

Ain't that right, Barack?

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Hey Jeremy,

I agree with you 100 percent on the whole award show thing, I cant even remember the last time I watched an award show. The grammys are a joke, so are the oscars, the emys and heck even the Peoples choice, its all one big popularity contest. Thats kinda the way this election is going, I'm not very political and I dont like talking politics, but I went to my democratic caucus, last week and when asked why they were voting for Barack, the only answer anyone could come up with was hes got a good personality, or hes funny, its time for change. No one had any real reasons, its all one big popularity contest, Barack is the Quarterback, and Hillary is the school president. The country has gone back to a retarted highschool mentality! Well anyhow, I dont know how I got from the Grammies to Politics, maby now a days its all the same, Hollywood owns the world.