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INTOLERANT: Macklemore, Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifah, and Ryan Lewis.
Associated Press/Photo by Evan Agostini
INTOLERANT: Macklemore, Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifah, and Ryan Lewis.

Heavy-handed Grammys

Music | Awards show becomes a venue for shaming and shunning opponents of homosexuality

Issue: "Getting paid not aid," Feb. 22, 2014

Liberals have long insisted that America is a land rife with bigotry, intolerance, and bullying, a country full of people chomping at the bit to force their morals down your throat or to start a witch hunt.

Conservatives have disagreed, insisting that what America really is and has always striven, however imperfectly, to embody is whatever has been necessary to safeguard, promote, and maximize life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But if the 2014 Grammy Awards were any indication, the liberals may have been right.

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Broadcast by CBS on Jan. 26 and bearing the imprimatur of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the event was nothing if not bigoted, intolerant, and bullying.

The bigots and bullies were the majority of performers, presenters, and expensively arrayed audience members, the last of whom signaled their approval of what was forced on viewers from the stage with applause and cheers. And what was forced on viewers was a love not of homosexuals (to which no charitable person objects) but of homosexuality.

Mere tolerance and destigmatization, the Grammys said, is passé. Indeed, nothing short of shaming and shunning will do for anyone whose ideas regarding human sexuality have been shaped by orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or even Darwinian evolution (wherein the survival of the fittest, to which homosexuality is an obvious affront, holds pride of place).

Long before the three-hour, 45-minute broadcast climaxed with Macklemore’s, Mary Lambert’s, Queen Latifah’s, and Madonna’s presiding Reverend Moon–like over a mass wedding of variously oriented couples, the theme of the evening was clear. “Sticks and stones,” sang Hunter Hayes, “those words cut deep, but they don’t mean you’re all alone. / And you’re not invisible.” Paul McCartney, backed by Ringo Starr, sang his latest single, conveniently titled “Queenie Eye.” And Kacey Musgraves sang,“Follow your arrow wherever it points. / Kiss lots of boys, / or kiss lots of girls / if that’s what you’re into.”

Follow your arrow, that is, unless it points the way that Michelle Shocked’s, Phil Robertson’s, and bakers’ who refuse to accommodate homosexual weddings do.

Even the send-offs to recently departed greats were tinged with pink. By duetting with Miranda Lambert on “When Will I Be Loved,” Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong guaranteed that his tribute to Phil Everly would include a woman co-singing “When I meet a new girl that I want for mine, / she always breaks my heart in two.” Jared Leto saluted Lou Reed by reciting the transsexually detailed first verse of “Walk on the Wild Side.” And, as Van Cliburn himself was homosexual, Lang Lang’s brief performance of Cliburn’s signature Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” needed no comment.

Merle Haggard did get to sing a portion of his counterculture-flouting hit “Okie from Muskogee.” But as he has always said that “Okie” is really a misunderstood send-up of the Archie Bunker mentality, the odds that the Grammys were walking on Haggard’s fightin’ side are probably no greater than the odds that Willie Nelson sang “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” so that those babies don’t end up atop Brokeback Mountain.

Unsurprisingly, the broadcast included no gospel segment. Jesus, after all, forgave the sexually immoral, but he also admonished them to go and sin no more.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently made headlines by telling an interviewer that anyone not aboard the liberal bandwagon was unwelcome in his state. The 56th Grammy Awards extended Cuomo’s warning from sea to shining sea: Point your arrow toward being “in” with the “out” crowd—or else.

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