Another year has passed. So has, thankfully, another Grammy Awards presentation. Similar to the Academy Awards, the Tony Awards and the Emmy Awards (these are the ‘Big’ 4), the morning after is when the armchair critics and public pundits have their say. Thanks to Social Media, the criticisms are now in real time, with flowing commentary from ‘Super Fans’ to Internet Trolls, on everything you could imagine happening at the Grammys. Of course, the evening’s festivities usually begin with the coveted red carpet walk-ins before media & fans, with just about every, known & unknown, Pop Music celebrity doing their best peacock impressions while clothed in borrowed high end fashion designs. Then come the pre-televised award celebrations. These usually consist of the awards going to acts that are considered unworthy of televised exposure or deemed uninteresting to the average viewer. Sadly, some of the more intellectual recordings and less visibly popular acts are represented in this portion of the ceremonies (we’re just not allowed to witness it). Now, comes the main event! Drum roll, please…
Here it is. The big moment(s). The Grammys, like every other award show fills the airwaves of TV for almost 3 hours. For what can seem like an endless epoch passing irritatingly slow before our eyes, we are presented with what governing bodies somehow deem ‘The Best’ in music before our eyes. This is where I have a problem with the Grammys and any other awards show. Personally, the pre-show parade of ‘stars’ is beyond my comprehension of what constitutes as humbleness for an ‘artist’. For decades now, ‘celebrities’ who do make full use of the ‘red carpet’, so to speak, seem so dysfunctional in their ‘look’ and crafted smiles. Maybe I am digressing, so let’s look at the voting system in general. Simply, we know, all of the award ceremonies nominations are judged by a panel of ‘experts’ or board governors based on ‘quality'(?). Even when I was young and witnessing my first Grammy & Oscar awards, I couldn’t help wonder why viewers and listeners could not vote (after all we are the consumers of their goods)? If that blessing were to be granted, the Grammys and Oscars would be VERY different. Because this option & privilege has been never been bestowed upon us, the Grammys and Oscars seem so 20th Century. Well, indeed they are – keep in mind that ‘Award Shows’ are a 20th century concoction (Grammys started in ’58, Oscars in ’29, Tonys in ’47 & Emmys in ’49). They were (and still are) a natural & hubris expression of the (Western World) Entertainment Industry’s successes, popularity and relevance in Culture.
Now, they seem bloated, pompous, narcissistic and meaningless with relevance to the changes we see before us in the early 21st Century. Are we not, supposedly, in the ‘transparent’ age thanks to the immediacy of Social Media and the ‘Web? Is today’s generation, supposedly, able to see through superficiality and acting less so? Maybe I am somewhat delusional and, maybe, nor am I entirely sure what needs to change (Personally I would outlaw them in name of humility – a lesson mankind or, more specifically, the entertainment world sorely needs), but whatever changes do come I hope that the consuming public & real music fans have MORE influence than they currently do. They deserve it. We deserve it. After all, do we REALLY care about who is wearing the funkiest hat or who has the most exposed cleavage or who is most outlandishly dressed? Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to the Grammys et al, what immediately springs to mind is the scene from a couple of Simpsons episodes: ‘The Bee Sharps’, when Homer gives his Grammy to the hotel bellhop, who bemoans ‘Oh…It’s only a Grammy’ and tosses it over the hotel balcony only to be thrown back at hit Homer square on his head by the car park valet below. Then there is ‘I’m With Cupid’ when Elton John gives Homer one of his Grammys, only to have Homer throw it in a garbage can when Elton turns his back.
Maybe, that just says it all.