I write this editorial at great risk of sounding like that old man who sits on his porch and complains about things like the weather, the clothes that kids are wearing, dogs that aren't on leashes, and cars with hydraulics. I don't give a shit though, because when I witness events like the Super Bowl halftime show and the Grammy awards, I am reminded of pretty much everything that's fucked up about western civilization.
Is it any wonder that 90% of this planet has a simmering hatred of the United States of America, when you consider that the amount of money spent on the super bowl half-time show could probably pull any number of shit-hole countries out of their crippling national debt? It's all worth it though right, so the NFL could lure in a huge demographic of non-football lovers to witness 20 minutes of pomp and pageantry that included plush sharks and palm trees dancing with Katy Perry as she lip-synched a bunch of pre-packaged top-40 bullshit songs. This increased viewership makes it lucrative for Budweiser to run 1 minute advertisements that try to shame people for thinking outside the box. As I watched that outrageous spectacle of consumer driven, uber-commercialized marketing, I couldn't help but picture some poor fat guy sitting on his dirty couch in some Russian satellite state, wondering what in the sweet fuck he was looking at. Then that same dude thinking to himself, "what a bunch of absolute retards." Boy oh boy was it ever cool though when she rode in on that giant mechanical tiger! Worth every penny. Listen, I get it. It's all a bit of fun, and the kids love it. But what does this say about the tastes of modern North American society when this superficial garbage passes for culture. I may be old fashioned but I just don't consider a glorified Barbie doll lip-synching with a stuffed shark to be the pinnacle of modern music. Sadly though, this is what passes for entertainment these days.
To make things worse, the world's biggest moron, Kanye West, perpetuated this type of nonsense with some of the dumbest quotes that I've ever heard. After Beck won the Grammy for "album of the year," Kanye exclaimed in a trembling girlish voice: "the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us." There you have it folks, apparently Beck, one of the most critically acclaimed musicians of the last two decades, a man who has recorded 12 studio albums and plays over 12 instruments, isn't a real artist. Kanye is though, because he is really good at singing with auto-tune in a velvet jogging suit. But wait, he goes on to enlighten us further: "when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after making monumental feats of music, you're disrespectful to inspiration." Thanks for those wise words you fucking dolt. For those of you who don't speak gibberish, when Beyonce doesn't win a Grammy that means that the art of music has been diminished. And, since Beyonce didn't win that Grammy, universal world-wide inspiration has been disrespected, whatever that means. So pack it up all you young kids who dream of a career in music, because if Beck keeps winning all of these Grammys there is no longer any point in trying. Apparently the hundreds of millions of dollars that artists like Beyonce and Kanye have made aren't enough to keep them mustering up more inspiration. Talk about first-world problems. If I was them I'd sure as hell muster up more inspiration considering that they could literally record anything, and the mindless drones would buy it. If Beyonce sang drunken pirate jigs it would sell like gangbusters, and probably get nominated for another worthless Grammy. Unfortunately folks, our young generation regards these brain-dead bastions of commercialism as heroes and role models. If I had a kid that would scare the shit out of me.
I have to admit though, I was mesmerized by the Grammys last night even though I consider the whole spectacle to be a complete and utter joke. For some reason society is magically pulled in by the chance to see the richest people in the world throw a party for themselves, to see who looks the most spectacular, who has the coolest friends, and who can show off the largest portion of a boob without exposing any nipple. And despite Kanye crying like a little girl when his bro's wife didn't win a prize, it seems like the awards don't really matter. The exit music starts playing 4 seconds into an artists acceptance speech to make time for the next performance. Understandable though considering the amount of time and effort put into a single song. Top 40 artists seem to need a 36,000 square foot stage, $2,000,000 worth of props, 36 dancers, and don't forget about the really fancy sound system needed to play their vocal track so it looks like they can actually sing. My theory is that they are hiding under all of this production value and all of those distractions because they are actually offering little more than the ability to market clothing and dance a little bit. The scary part is that these artists are dead serious about these ridiculous performances, and I think that they actually regard themselves as ground-breaking. I'm sorry Katy, but singing some somber, boring-ass ballad in a white evening gown in front of a bedsheet with some creepy shadow behind it doesn't qualify as anything memorable or important in the realm of reality. Real bands, you know, humans that play instruments and sing, just need a stage and their instruments. Fuck that though, where the hell are the dancing sharks? Now don't mistake this vitriol for a generalized hatred of all top-40 and pop music. I don't universally hate every top-40 song, and there are many that I actually like. Chandelier for instance is a great song, and I have eclectic tastes in music that range from Ani Difranco to Rammstein, so my opinions are as objective as anyones. There is however, some music that can be scientifically proven to be shit. Sorry Katy, Kanye, and friends. So when some kid in Africa has to drink the same water that a dirty rhino shits in every morning, I can't help but feel silly to live in a society where this much time and money is spent on such trivial nonsense. Sadly, it seems that North Americans can't function anymore without this type of stimulation. As Don Draper has told us, "happiness is the moment before you need more happiness."
Just to be perfectly clear, I'm not a communist, and I don't hate western civilization. I really like it here. While some cultures pride themselves on using every part of an animal that they kill, I sometimes think that we're the smart ones because we've discovered that we can kill that same animal, use only the best part, then sell the other crap to someone else. North America is undoubtedly a great place to live and this is a great time to be alive. Having said that, mindless, consumer-driven displays like the Super Bowl and the Grammys highlight the fact that society is deteriorating at a rapid pace. Only in North America can people like Honey Boo-Boo and her shitty trash family rise to super-stardom, fuck it up, and fade back to nothingness, all the while holding a nation captivated by their every action. And only in North America can something as silly as the Grammys be regarded as anything more than a 3 hour comedy show, or a zoo where poor people can see how the glittering 1% take more of their money.