Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why I Hate the Grammys

I love music as much as everyone else, and I have a rather ecumenical view of those who are partial to a particular genre -- classical, jazz, rock, rap, hip-hop, country, R&B. But the Grammys, which are technically given for artistic achievement in the world of recorded music (and supposedly not beholden to chart position or sales), signify our overabundance of awards and award ceremonies.

It's just gotten way out of hand. In 2010, there were 109 different Grammys handed out to those achievers in the music community. I'm certain everyone who received one of those little statutes felt terrific, and their fans felt almost as good. But 109? Come on. Do we really need number 93, "Best Remixed Classical Recording?" Or "Best Album Notes?" Or "Best Boxed Set or Limited Edition?" Is anyone connected with any recording
not nominated at some time in their career?

This propensity to make everyone feel good has cheapened artistic achievement, and if anything, it shows that those who work hard to create and choose not to really "compete" are the classy ones who are worth remembering. Jean Paul Sartre declined the Nobel Prize for Literature; Le Duc Tho also turned down the Peace Prize, claiming there wasn't anything that resembled peace in Vietnam in 1973. Brando turned down the Oscar for Best Actor in The Godfather, less because he didn't believe in awards than he thought the American Indians were still getting a bad shake in America. I do recall Dustin Hoffman graciously making reference to all those actors out their who were struggling just to get a job when he took home his statue. Those who persisted every day, forging ahead despite the rejection, were the true achievers and deserve some recognition.

I guess this is why I still like baseball so much, despite all its foibles. There are only a half dozen or so awards given out in each league every year, and I can still name them -- Cy Young, MVP, Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year. There are no awards for best bullpen catcher or third-base coach. Those guys know who they are anyway.

Every few quadrennials, there is some threat or other of one of the major nations to boycott the Olympics. I remember during one an elite marathon runner was asked how he felt if his country withdrew and he missed his chance at a gold medal. His reply was sort of ho hum, and what I remembered was that he said something like the marathoners didn't care. They could all run without numbers or uniforms and it would be just be fine by them. What class. All about the journey. And knowing within their little community who was best on a given day.

Otherwise, we're simply Bestowal Bloated and should think about toning it down some. Best efforts often go unrewarded. So why are we making a pathetic effort to keep adding to this pile? Maybe mankind is suffering from a collective lack of self-esteem?

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