The Grammys Don’t Matter

February 13, 2011

Back when “Do the Right Thing” was snubbed by the Oscars, one of the contrarian, ironically pro-establishment opinions was that Spike Lee shouldn’t even care that he didn’t get nominated.  That he was making movies that were hip and youthful, and that it didn’t matter that the old, white people in the Academy did “get” them.  Nevermind that Spike Lee had loftier, more socially-minded goals than winning Hollywood awards, the point was rather logical:  why would an edgy, independent-minded artist, who took pride in being outside of the mainstream, care what the Establishment thought about his art?

In our Gaga and Bieber world of today, the same could be said about the Grammys.  Should we really be surprised if Florence and the Machine don’t win any awards on Grammy night?  Should we be running campaigns to encourage voters to give Album of the Year to the Black Keys?

To what end?

What is gained when an independent-minded, outside-of-the-mainstream artist wins an award from an organization hellbent on rewarding boring, unimaginative unit-movers?

Will it expose viewers to new music that they would not otherwise have heard?  Probably.  Would that exposure lead to significant increases in record sales?  Mass conversions to independent music.  Probably not?  How many Steely Dan and Bob Dylan CD’s did you go out and buy after watching the Grammys during the past 10 years?

Would the acknowledgment of an independent, subversive artist by the dominant, mainstream Establishment bring about a seismic change in our culture?  Only in your wildest, Egyptian dreams.

So why bother acknowledging that the Grammys exist?  Why not spend your evening at a local club instead?

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