By Jonathon Van Maren
In keeping with my lifelong tradition of not watching the Grammys, I once again did not watch them this year. I dislike the habit some media conservatives have of watching the Super Bowl halftime show or the MTV Awards or the VMA Awards, and then gasping in shock and horror at the inevitable smut that has been a prime feature of these events since I was a child. We all know what these events are about. Watching them in order to feign anger about their decadence is just cultural voyeurism.
But these events are a good reminder that we should be discerning about which industries we patronize, and parents should think hard about which artists they allow to pipe their tunes for hours each day into the ears of their children. Who are the singers awarded by their peers in glitzy, pornified ceremonies for the latest Top 40 anthems they’ve inflicted on their willing audience? And should we allow them to spend so much time with our kids — or, for that matter, with us? Many find these sorts of questions irritating, and that is telling.
For this year’s Grammys, our cultural elites outdid themselves. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, who didn’t have much of a chance with names like that, staged what closely resembled a live sex performance replete with stripper poles, backup dancers wearing only thongs and lingerie, and much flailing about with very little clothing. At one point, they twerked in bed together.
This was aired on CBS, and these singers are popular among young women. Young men, unsurprisingly, greatly appreciate this in a chauvinist, ungentlemanly sort of way.
Back in the good old days, feminist heads would be exploding and the right sort of cancel culture would be kicking into gear. But we’re more enlightened now. (It bears mentioning that our superiors waltzed the red carpet maskless — those sorts of rules are for the little people.)
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) released a statement condemning the performance.
“In a performance that could have been cut from a hardcore pornography film, CBS allowed a glamorization of stripping and prostitution to be broadcast in front of a national audience — a portion of which were children — for no other reason than for TV ratings,” stated senior vice president and executive director Dawn Hawkins. “Despite the ‘popularity’ of the song performed by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, CBS should have never allowed this kind of explicit performance to happen at the Grammys.”
Further, Hawkins stated: “Prostitution and stripping are never empowering for women, as they set up systems that exploit and oppress women. CBS has contributed to furthering the sexual exploitation of women and contributed to the ‘normalization’ of porn culture.”
It goes without saying that most strippers and hookers aren’t making untold millions and performing for a TV audience with a squadron of makeup artists and servants ensuring they look their skanky best. Most of those selling their bodies to men are desperately sad and close to broke, spending the money they’ve received for a pound of flesh for the drugs they need to survive the life they’re trapped in.
It is almost cliché to point out that many of the elites of our culture’s entertainment industry are artists in the same way pornographers are, and their work achieves a similar effect: the degradation of the consumer. Parents would do well to monitor what their children are listening to. The music we listen to often becomes the soundtrack to our soul and reflects the stories of our lives. If any of you had the misfortune of watching the Grammys or catching snippets online later, I’m sure you’ll agree that this would be a terrifying prospect.