A strangely discordant evening all around
Smack in the middle of the Grammy Awards Sunday night, viewers were treated to a public service announcement from the President of the United States. The topic — violence against women, rape and domestic abuse — is serious and important, but the setting was rich with irony. Here’s an excerpt from the President’s message:
For Grammy Award nominees Chris Brown and R. Kelly, the message was not likely to have made them squirm in their seats. Jessica Goldstein had this to say about the Grammys’ going easy on Brown:
And R. Kelly? If you don’t know his history, Ms. Goldstein sums it up nicely:
So much for treating unrepentant serial abusers and rapists as pariahs.
But that’s not the end of the irony. The President also noted that “Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters. And all of us, in our own lives, have the power to set an example.”
If AC/DC and Madonna wanted to get us thinking and talking about anything that matters, they failed utterly.
One can only hope that the aging AC/DC was powerless to “change minds and attitudes” in the TV-viewing audience with their rendition of “Highway to Hell.” The live Grammy audience, including Katy Perry, went along with AC/DC’s silly gimmick like so many sheep — wearing light-up devil horns during the performance.
Perhaps they needed audience participation (and teleprompters) to do their best without drummer Phil Rudd. He was indisposed (meaning not allowed to leave New Zealand pending his upcoming trial on charges of threatening to kill a man and his daughter and possession of methamphetamines). He’d also been charged with an attempt to hire a hitman, but prosecutors felt the evidence was not strong enough to proceed on that count.
For all that, Madonna, 56, gets the prize for the most tasteless performances of the night on the red carpet and on stage. She arrived at the Grammy’s in a black leather get-up on a “matador” theme. The bodice was designed to act like a pushup-bra, exposing more 56-year-old flesh than anyone would care to see. Leather boots ended above her knees, exposing fishnet stockings and her entire butt when she flipped up the back of her “dress” in a saucy gesture. What a class act.