What was the most surprising news out of last night’s Grammys? It couldn’t have possibly been all of the political activism, such as U2’s lecture on immigration policy. It certainly wasn’t the scolding America got on behavior toward women by an industry whose award-winning artists routinely offer up misogynistic lyrics and cheap exploitation. It wasn’t the elites’ self-congratulation over diversity of expression while ripping half the country for failing to embrace their groupthink.
No, the most surprising news was that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley still watches the Grammys. Or at least she used to watch them … until this happened:
A surprise appearance from Hillary Clinton reading Fire & Fury at the Grammys pic.twitter.com/VAYk70pqAj
— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 29, 2018
Er … what does this have to do with music?
Fire and Fury, in case anyone needs reminding, has come under fire for its lack of credibility and author Michael Wolff’s tendency to skip small tasks like, oh, fact-checking his claims. Wolff has said in interviews that his standard is “if it rings true, it is true,” which a number of journalists have noted sounds more like a standard for effective fiction than reporting.
But perhaps most startling, the Grammys — in the midst of their #MeToo and #TimesUp cheerleading — made the decision to bring on Hillary Clinton just days after getting exposed for shielding a male adviser after being credibly accused of sexual harassment on multiple occasions. They had her read from Wolff’s book in the same week that he insinuated that the nation’s top female diplomat got the job by sleeping with Donald Trump. And Haley is not amused:
I have always loved the Grammys but to have artists read the Fire and Fury book killed it. Don’t ruin great music with trash. Some of us love music without the politics thrown in it.
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) January 29, 2018
Let’s put aside the fact that politics have been thrown into the Grammys for decades. The problem, in this case, is not just that politics got thrown into it in the form of Hillary Clinton pouting on national television (again!) over having lost the last election. There may be some irony in the fact that she leaped to go on TV for her rich entertainment industry pals but couldn’t be bothered to meet voters in Wisconsin, or to spend much time in Pennsylvania or Michigan either, but that’s not the biggest issue.
No, the biggest issue is the sleazy hypocrisy of the entertainment industry. On one hand, they pressured participants to wear white roses to ostentatiously display their solidarity with women, and then turned around and promoted a smear merchant who implied that an accomplished governor and diplomat was actually a whore. Who thought that was a good idea?
This episode reminds us that Hollywood’s months-long orgy of self-congratulation is worthless as entertainment and even less worthwhile as a lecture on policy, values, or politics. If you “love music without the politics thrown into it,” you should have stopped watching the Grammys during the disco era.