Stop Making Me Defend The Grammys! (And It Would Be Refreshing If Republicans Stopped Embarrassing Themselves, Too)

You know, if Republicans don’t want to end up with a party base with an average age beyond even that of the Supreme Court, they have to stop channeling the ludicrous ministers of the 1950’s who declared rock and roll the Devil’s music and held bonfires of Elvis Presley records. To be blunt, it’s hysterical and stupid, and the young tend to have contempt for old fogeys who call their entertainment satanic….as well they should.

But the Right just can’t help itself. Even after the Elvis freak-out guaranteed that successive generation of teenagers would still be laughing at old black-and-white films of nerdy, balding, middle-aged white guys in horn-rims pronouncing  The King’s hips a danger to America’s soul, its learning curve is flatter than flat. For there was Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and other conservatives today making asses of themselves and anyone who occasionally takes their party seriously by expressing horror at last night’s Grammys whacked-out highlightSam Smith and Kim Petras‘ performance of “Unholy” featuring fire, demon-imitating dangers, blood-red lighting, and Smith in a set of  horns just like Mr. Scratch.

“Don’t fight the culture wars, they say,” wailed right-wing commentator Liz Wheeler. “Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.” Don’t throw-up, Liz. Just grow-up. Or better yet shut-up.  “This…is…evil,” tweeted Sen.Cruz. No, Ted, it’s called “entertainment” that you don’t get, which is fine, just don’t broadcast your narrow-mindedness. “The Grammy’s featured Sam Smith’s demonic performance and was sponsored by Pfizer,” wrote Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Bellevue.). “And the Satanic Church now has an abortion clinic in NM that requires its patients to perform a satanic ritual before services. American Christians need to get to work.” She might as well have added, “And Ben Affleck played Daredevil.” Or maybe, “I like ice cream; can you swim?” These would be no more rationally connected to what she risibly calls her “train of thought” than connecting abortion with a Grammys production number.

“The Devil. Brought to you by Pfizer…,” wrote Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. “That entire demonic presentation at the Grammy’s? Brought to you by Pfizer,” tweeted Ian Miles Cheong, another notable right-wing commentator. Ugh. You know why the news media is so successful at dismissing genuine Democratic scams, ploys and scandals as conspiracy theories? Because the Right wrecks its credibility with hysterical fantasies like that one, described accurately enough by Rolling Stone as “the ostensible idea being that the Covid-19 vaccine and the Grammys are part of a larger confluence of evil forces working together to brainwash your children and destroy America…part of a vast, governmental conspiracy to turn the United States into a wasteland of fire, brimstone, and drag queens.”

Oh-oh…I feel Sidney Wang coming on…

The Grammys have no more aspirations of Satanism than I did when I (to some controversy, admittedly) opened Washington D.C.’s venerable annual political satire production for charity, the Hexagon Show, with a full cast production number set in Hell complete with singing demons and the Damned roasting (Get it?) members of Congress on a turning spit. That year’s extravaganza was called “Roast of the Town.”

The Right  seeing Satanism behind every door is just as offensive and absurd as the Left finding white supremacy under every rug.

52 thoughts on “Stop Making Me Defend The Grammys! (And It Would Be Refreshing If Republicans Stopped Embarrassing Themselves, Too)

  1. So we can dismiss things like this as overblown and always to be dismissed, tearing down all our defences against normalising such things because each single step is just a little thing – until, one day, the Devil turns on you (apologies to A Man For All Seasons).

      • Bleep. Distraction, deviation, etc., etc.

        You know perfectly well that this is not a description of what may or may not motivate the doers of evil, it is about what may or may not give them an opening. Think of it as a sanitary measure, and it may make more sense to you.

  2. I dunno about evil, I’ve seen plenty of evil and this ain’t it. That said, those who do call it evil fell right into the producers’ trap. It’s yet another attempt by the music industry to attract attention by being deliberately outrageous. I thought this kind of cheap attention grabbing ended with Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest. Guess not.

    Some of the conservative commentators do have a valid point about the left being all about the worship of self, to the exclusion of all else, and the deliberate normalization of bizarre behavior. However, making that point by pearl clutching at this ridiculous display takes away from the point.

  3. Hell, I thought it was a reprise of Biden’s earlier speech, so I turned it off.

    In all seriousness, how does one push back against the worship of self to the exclusion of all else as Steve puts it or allowing it to be normalized as put by PM so eloquently? I recognize that this was done for the shock value for the purpose of generating buzz to sell more stuff. Where, however, can the line be drawn for saying enough is enough? Had the artist instead used oversexualized and provocatively dressed nine-year-olds as what appeared to be the devil’s nymphs be acceptable as well? All of this is pure provocation designed to push the boundaries of acceptable social behavior and is no different than unwed motherhood or drug usage. We know how both of those turned out so why should we worry about this?

    • One doesn’t, because, as I began by hinting, if it’s rock and roll or its relatives, the whole point is to alienate people like Ted Cruz. Has everyone forgotten that the Rolling Stones played the Satanic game with finesse, and the oldsters fell right into that trap, making their songs even more popular?

      • I really don’t know why it is wrong for some to push back on what they consider an attack. I personally could not care less about an awards show for the narcissists or the displays of what many consider vulgar. I simply don’t watch. But if micro aggressions can force someone into a reeducation program it cannot be considered objectionable for another to bitch when they feel their ox was gored.

        Right now pedophelia is being normalized by educators calling such persons “ minor attracted persons”. Should we do nothing?

        Every generation pushes the bounds of what is acceptable behavior. That does not mean we must accommodate or celebrate or never criticize the behavior.

        The current trans/ non-binary sexuality craze is designed to push people’s buttons just as much as the girl next door wanting to date the James Dean type from the wrong side of the tracks in the 50’s. Some of this will go by the wayside as most generational fads go but some will continue to erode the civility of society. Doing nothing will allow the march to hedonism and incivility go unabated as each new outrageous act has to outdo the previous act to get an equivalent or bigger reaction. When the Stones did Sympathy for the Devil it rose in popularity because it was a good song. Attributing it’s rise due to some who became outraged because they only looked at the title and not the words is unsupported. My interpretation was that it was a warning that evil is always here and we are all capable of evil if we allow it.

        • I am with you Chris.

          I characterize the republican commentary not as an overreaction but instead a poorly articulated one and another missed opportunity to educate the public.

        • I agree, Chris. “Sympathy for the Devil” was a warning AGAINST evil – the lyrics talk about pretty dark times in human history.

          As for this performance, the entire skit was announced in advance to attract as much attention as possible” “Tune in to watch Sam Smith do something outrageous!” From what I saw, it was simply another jerk sticking it in the eyes of Christians. My response was, “ho hum – how creative” and moved on to wondering about where my wife hid the Chips Ahoy. She won’t tell me and she is a master at hiding treats from me. Sheesh. By the way, who is Sam Smith and why am I required to care about him?

          I, too, get annoyed that conservatives fall into the culture trap set by the enlightened Left like this, but why is it somehow unethical for conservatives to complain about an orgy on an awards show – directed at impressionable young people? What are conservatives supposed to do? Sit back and take it? What about that ethical duty to confront and the “Bite Me” award program? Yeah, I get that artists push envelopes and all that, but really, for this kind of pedestrian, simplistic and infantile display of hedonism? Neil Peart wrote that the slings and arrows a child is heir are enough to leave a thousand cuts. How long will society have to tolerate this kind of direct (though stupid) attack before pushing back against it? If culture is the curse of the thinking class, then maybe the thinking class isn’t so thoughtful.


  4. These kind of musical arts performances seem to be trolling for negative attention from easily offendable conservative snowflakes so they can validate their hate for conservatives. Well the artsy trolls cast out the line and they got exactly what they were trolling for and they will use the reactions to paint all conservatives as ignorant, socially out-of-touch, Bible thumping, snowflakes, etc.

    No one says you have to like these kind of performances but when are people going to learn not to overreact to these kinds of things?

      • Ms Reid opined that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, after watching the Grammys, was vigorously pacing in the Governor’s mansion contemplating the revocation of CBS’s non-profit status.
        I’ve never looked into it, but I assume that CBS was not a non-profit before the allegedly offending performance was aired. I’m 100% certain that Ms Reid’s statement was intended to baselessly attack Governor DeSantis.

  5. So when someone comes along and pokes a stick in your eye, logic dictates that if you say nothing, you’ll get more of it. Staying silent is not a good option, then. Overreaction makes people roll their eyes and dismiss your concerns, clearly. A mild response makes sense in the face of mild provocation, but severe provocation…?

    The church of Satan exists. They don’t have a lot of power, but they’re popular, and several court cases have backed them lately. Their major tenets feature a combination of “it’s good to be a narcissist” and “fuck christians.” Sure, these reactions have a nasty taste of ginning up the base. But it’s not hard to imagine being prickly when there’s a club that everyone wants to join that’s literally designed around hating you.

    That being said, the performance was revolting, and I hope my kids don’t see it.

    • If you don’t like the Grammys, don’t watch the Grammys. Rock et al has always been about “sticking a finger in the eye” of the establishment, the suits, traditionalists. People said Frank Sinatra was corrupting our youth! I remember Jess Cain, Boston’s top drive-time disc jockey, going on a rant about “A Little Help From My Friends” because it mentioned getting “high.” The Fantasticks has a song sung by the two fathers about how kids will always do what you tell them not to because you told them not to. Stuff like that Satan number are just sophomoric; “The Fantastiks” was written almost 70 years ago. This shouldn’t be so hard a lesson to learn.

    • I concur Aaron.

      Prominent republicans are way too easily duped, even the seasoned smart ones.
      They continually make losing political chess moves in response to obvious political (chess) traps.
      These people play the game like they have a chess rating of around 800-1000.
      Another missed opportunity to be articulate and impressive.
      No wonder conservatives struggle with their messaging. Frustrating and discouraging.

      “If you don’t like the Grammys, don’t watch the Grammys.”

      You brought it up, hence the commentary.

  6. When the first music video was produced I cringed. Even passing episodes of the present video music production bring up vomitus. I long for the day when singers stood or sat in front of the microphone simply crooning.

  7. You couldn’t pay me enough to watch the Grammys. I did read that Bonnie Raitt won best song for … what else … another Bonnie Raitt song, at which she is very good at writing and singing. Shouldn’t she have been given some sort of Life Achievement award or something along those lines? She should have been there as some contestant’s grandmother. Just weird. And I’m a Bonnie Raitt fan. Have been for over fifty years. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is a great song she nailed in one immortal take. Perhaps the best unrequited love song ever.

    • I am in the middle of a long term all out comprehensive boycott of Satan and therefore do not watch the Grammys.

      Actually, was unaware. Perhaps a manifestation of my boycott.

      • Just listened to it for the first time, Paulie. Beautiful singing and nice harmony. Good Bonnie Raitt song. A little too much poetry. Not the punch of “I Can’t.” It’s the absolute finality of “I Can’t” that carries its kick. There’s hope at the end of “Dimming.” None anywhere in “I Can’t.” Man, it’s just OVER. Darkness. “And I will give up this fight.” And the rhythm and meter of “I Can’t” is absolutely Shakespearean, almost iambic.

        I can’t make you love me if you don’t.
        You can’t make your heart feel somethin’ it won’t.

        Brilliant. Two opposing forces.

        I’ll feel the power, but you won’t, no, you won’t.

        Unbeatable. And the descending melody is perfect as well. And hey, “I Can’t” is written and composed by a former NFL lineman. So it’s got that goin’ for it. Plus, for me, it’s uncannily autobiographical. And I’ve never even met Mike Reid. When I first heard it, it just about killed me. Heard it on my car radio coming home from work and I had to pull over and stop.

          • Reid wrote it with another song writer. Not biographical at all. They read a newspaper article about a guy down on his luck, homeless who was quoted as saying “You can’t make a woman love you if she don’t.” Hah!

            Our piano tuner tunes Linda’s piano at her house in Tucson. Old Tucson family. She’s stopped singing because of some muscle/nerve problem with her vocal cords. Ugh.

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