Oh for the days when music was about music. Perhaps that hasn’t truly existed since the pioneers strummed banjos on their front porches, but hey we can dream. Anything is better than the farce dished out at this year’s Grammy Awards by the likes of sinner-turned-saints Katy Perry and Queen Bey and the Grand Poobah of Liars Barack Obama. Kanye was still Kanye, terrorizing the stage with his unwanted opinions, but at least he’s being true to his Messiah complex. The rest of them cracked open the Eau de Hypocrisie in their SWAG bags way too early.
On the Sunday night preceding the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in movie theaters nation-wide, the music industry famous for turning women into greased-up, slimmed-down sex objects suddenly decided it gave a damn about sexual assault. Not because they really do, but because sexual assault sells. Just ask Lena Dunham and that chick who lugs a mattress around Columbia U. Autism replaced AIDS and now that we’ve decided vaccines aren’t an assault on our children we’ve turned our collective head and trumped up statistics towards sexual assault.
Big Brother Barry broke into the awards show to lacquer us with the false 1 in 5 narrative before commanding us to hashtag our support for the White House’s campaign against sexual assault on campus. Cue “domestic violence activist” testimony neatly leading into a performance of “By the Grace of God” by Katy Perry sans beach-ball bikini and shark dancers. Beyonce, far from the wet, lap-dancing prostitute of last year, appeared in angelic white garb to sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” for the show’s holiest of finales. Pop-meets-penance, it was a spectacle worthy of a holy institution. The only thing missing was Steve Martin in his sparkling jacket promising to heal us all, at least the straight men, of their demon sexuality.
Prior to this tent revival escapade, Madonna touched on the music industry’s pagan affair with lusty sexuality in her trademark style. Clad as a matador, men dressed as faceless bulls with Satanic horns danced around her while she declared her ability to rise up (via harness, apparently) and “live for love” despite being “knocked down” by previous lovers. Lyrically she hasn’t generated anything unique since the ’80s and the techno-pop beat was more worthy of Cher or Kylie Minogue than Madonna at her most innovative. But her visual style paid homage to the reality of a Hollywood soaked in bizarre, painful sex and enjoying it thoroughly.
Were honest statistics and less theatrics used in addressing the real issue of sexual violence, the Grammys would have seemed more authentic and less like damage control following Rolling Stone‘s massive faux pas when it came to reporting on the campus rape epidemic that isn’t. When Perry and Bey quit getting naked on their knees, call me. Until then, regardless of how many layers of white they wear they’re just dancing in the shadow of Madonna, the music industry’s reigning pagan priestess.