Grammys Ceremony Like a Terrible Curse That Ruins Even Good Ideas

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There’s been a lot of post-Grammys snark around the interblogs, and of course there were a million things to hate about last night’s broadcast. So here I am, trying to think of a “Top 5 Good Things About the Grammys” post; you know, “accentuate the positive” and all that. But I can’t do it. Every time I think of something halfway decent that happened on the seemingly endless broadcast last night, I remember something that disqualifies it. Take, for instance, Kanye and Daft Punk. A funky, jazzed-up combo performance by the eccentric rapper and the French techno duo, followed by a heartfelt ode to Kanye’s mom: what could go wrong? But the imitation Daft Punk pyramid looked like it was made out of cardboard, and its goofy game-show-reminiscent opening-up to reveal the duo in their light-trimmed suits just looked cheap. Right afterwards, Kanye sang his heart out, but they had to accompany his performance with a laughably cheesy projection of a slo-mo angel; did they think the “MAMA” shaved into the back of Kanye’s head wasn’t going to be a big enough clue?

The best part of the Grammys, Amy Winehouse, wasn’t even there: her winking, energetic performance of “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” took place at an intimate London club, done up with little lamps like a cabaret. While the reason for the “remote” was lack of a travel visa, it seemed like a tacit acknowledgement by the producers that everything done inside the arena was going to suck.

Can I at least talk about one of the things I completely hated? Please? Okay: NARAS president Neil Portnow, seemingly trying to soften up his image after last year’s stern “don’t download, kids!” speech, gave this year’s still-pretty-ornery (and self-serving) soliloquy accompanied by the lilting sounds of Eldar on the piano. Like, maybe I won’t be offended by your attempt to tie your cause to the writers’ strike if there’s soothing new age tinkling in the background? Arrrgh! And I’m going to shut up now before I start talking about “Professor” will.i.am’s Grammys-history “rap.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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