Now that the 103854th Grammy Awards are over, I’m loving all the annual outrage that shows up on my social media feed.
It’s the same tune every year: “My favorite artist was robbed of his or her long overdue recognition by olds, racists, or misogynists (the Grammy voters), so RAGE.” And if you’re Latino, there’s the extra I-can’t-believe-these-people-don’t-get-my-culture rant.
But why would they? Especially if the people who supposedly get Latino culture are just as clueless and embarrassing.
Yesterday I saw a column or two lamenting the tragic losses of “Despacito,” a song that was stupidly popular during 2017, but is also watered down, expertly sanitized reggaeton meant for mass consumption.
The fact that some journalists still believe the Grammys are a true barometer of creativity is so laughable that it’s almost endearing.
To remind everyone that the show exists for entertainment purposes only — and not to recognize true talent — Rob Sheffield wrote a great piece about how the Recording Academy historically gets everything wrong:
“Grammy voters are old. There’s no possible way this couldn’t be the case, since Academy Members are people with long careers in the music biz. Lifers. Fans who cherish their memories of Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, but can’t recall their Netflix password. If you want the Grammys to reflect a younger demo, it’d be easier to start a whole new award than to magically change all the Academy members’ birth certificates.
The Grammys have never not been this way. The biggest-selling album of 1968 was Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced. Jimi not only failed to win Album of the Year (it went to Glen Campbell), he didn’t get Best New Artist, which that year went to José Feliciano. Jimi didn’t get a single Grammy nomination in his lifetime. He had more commercial success than Glen or José.”
You good and sober now? Because there’s plenty of examples of how the Grammys have always been out of touch, in case your “Despacito” beef stew is still simmering:
“Flash back even earlier to 1966, the year rock albums exploded as an art form, with classics like Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Otis Redding’s Dictionary of Soul and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Beatles’ Revolver. So who won Album of the Year? Frank Sinatra, for A Man and His Music.”
So even if “Despacito” didn’t win shit — and, frankly, I’m alright with that, because it’s a song that veers into Latino coonery — others did.
There’s Calle 13’s René Pérez, for example, who won a Grammy for Residente, his solo debut. Mr. Sandwich de Salchicha told the audience the same thing he told Bad Bunny and other reggaetoneros: People’s obsession with views, plays, streams, etc, is making music worse.
I don’t always agree with René, but he’s absolutely right: Faced with the pressure to only write music that will produce billions of streams/views/likes, artists are confining their creativity within a very limited scope of sound.
Yes, Luis Fonsi’s megahit is a masterclass in catchiness, but any song off Residente is conceptually more challenging and inventive than “Despacito.”
Being pissed at a bunch of old, probably white and conservative people — the same ones who wouldn’t give Jimi Hendrix the time of the day — for not liking what you like is silly. It’s their damn show. But if you’re still mad about no-Grammy-cito, be happy that at least one genuinely creative Latino recording was recognized by these clueless people in 2018. (Shakira also won Grammy for El Dorado, but she’s another topic altogether.)
Also, stop seeking cultural validation through bullshit award ceremonies. If you need others to validate your opinion, then you’re the problem, not them.
Oh, right. Old-school Mexicans humiliate their children by pretending they don’t exist.
I’ve been visiting my mother, and all of our immediate family, for the last week. They’re old-school, rural Mexicans. The kind who always offer food, even if they hate you.
I’m in my mid 30s now, and have been living on my own since I was 18, so at our gatherings I get a proper adult seat at the table. They listen to what I have to say, but it wasn’t always like that.
It’s not like that for my younger relatives, either. At family reunions, I see them out of the periphery of my eye. They’re trying to get a word in, but those older Mexicans won’t allow it. Why would they? What have those mocosos (snot-nosed kids) done to deserve anybody’s respect? Did they pay for their food? For the roof over their head? For their car, gas, clothes? No? Then they don’t exist.
Yes, they’re physically there, but unless they can prove their worth through monetary independence, they’re no one. If they try to make their voices heard, they’ll be silenced by a death stare, or an abrupt change in conversation.
If they persist, other humiliations will be flung at them, such as being asked to do something entirely meaningless, just like their opinion. “Vete a ver si ya puso la marrana” (go see if one of the pigs laid an egg) is a classic. My grandma had one of the most bizarre just-get-the-fuck-out-of-here phrases, which I’ve never heard elsewhere: “Vete a descular hormigas” (go chop the asses off ants).
I know these Mexicans sound like assholes, but they’re like that because they believe in resilience, not fragility. Giving encouragement to a mentally and physically healthy person seems redundant to them. Those people already have all they need to succeed, they’ll think.
To gain their respect, at the very least a person will need to become self-sufficient. That’s how you earn the right to sit with them. Either you’re with that, or you’re not there at all.
“Trump Dating” site doesn’t want the gays, but allows the “happily married” to join
You can even be mad at Trump Dating, a new website for lonely — or not so lonely, but just promiscuous — maganogamous people. It’s a perfect representation of their cherished administration, since it’s also homophobic — it only allows “straight” women or men to sign up — and, just like Trump, it’s all about adulterous relationships:
“When you kick off the process of starting a profile, you get two options for labeling yourself — ‘straight man’ or ‘straight woman.’
Yet according to Trump Dating’s rather strange drop-down menus, married people are welcome. For a relationship status, the site offers options like ‘have a significant other,’ ‘happily married,’ and ‘unhappily married.'”
And since no self-respecting republican-specific dating site should exist unless it takes an issue with race, Trump Dating allows their users to be super specific about their genealogy:
“The ethnicity options also seemed oddly specific. In addition to the typical categories, the site includes choices like ‘Scandinavian,’ ‘Polynesian,’ ‘Eastern European,’ ‘Western European,’ ‘Mediterranean,’ and ‘Eskimo,’ a term used to label the indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that is considered offensive and inaccurate.”
OMG, you guys. There better be a second menu where users can identify which of the five Aryan subtype races — Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic — they belong to. Otherwise the server room of this Trump Dating is gonna get tiki torched.
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