As the person who handles show biz stories, I have a couple I need to cover. First, my wife/co-writer Laura Ainsworth is very honored that people loved her Dr. Suess parody “The Left That Stole Reading” so much. After Gov. Huckabee read it on his show, we’re continuing to get emails, Facebook messages and even phone calls at home from folks wanting to know where they can buy the book. Believe me, we’d love to be able to sell it to you and afford retirement, but there is no actual book. We considered creating one, but it would take so long that it wouldn’t be timely. However, if you’d like a print version, you can find it here.
And if you’d like to support Laura’s work in other ways, please go to www.lauraainsworth.com. She’s a fantastic retro jazz singer with three award-winning indie CDs and a best-of vinyl LP that you can get there. You can also find her two real books. If you like “In Case You Missed It,” try “Nine Hallmarks of Highly Incompetent Losers,” our reverse self-help book with life lessons illustrated by over 600 hilarious but true news stories (foreword by Gov. Huckabee.) There’s also “The Sub-Par Adventures of Snakebite and Stonefinger,” co-written by Laura and her singer/songwriter friend Bill Sanner. It’s a funny, moving and clean memoir that gives a rare glimpse into life on a US Navy submarine in the 1970s. Submariners loved it so much, Laura and Bill were the entertainers at their national convention. It’s great for any sub veteran or any family that’s ever worried about a member in the military, doing a dangerous job on the far side of the world.
And now, the Grammy Awards. Yes, they were, as expected, a wokefest hosted by “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah, where leftwing politics and virtue-signaling took precedence over musical quality, and where there was plenty of time for the pornographic Cardi B. “song” “WAP,” but none for tributes to musical icons like Eddie Van Halen or Chick Corea. What else is new?
Just one example: it’s a given that the Best Spoken Word Grammy will go to the most famous Democrat who read a book into a tape recorder, no matter how bad the book or how annoying the voice. This year, it was Rachel Maddow. I knew she would win the instant I saw the nominees.
As expected, most Americans found something better to do with their time. For instance, I cleaned our parrots’ cages while listening to good music. TV ratings dropped 53% from last year, with about 10 million fewer viewers than in 2020. The previous lowest-rated Grammys in 2006 drew 17 million viewers. This year’s drew 8.8 million.
Laura is a NARAS member and a Grammy voter (we even attended the Grammy Awards live a few years back – I can assure you the after-party was much better than the show.) But she accepts no blame for the televised awards. She often doesn’t vote in those categories, since these days, they don’t even represent what we consider to be music. All the awards for real music are given out during the non-televised afternoon ceremony. The primetime show hands out awards like Halloween candy to the same big name mediocrities over and over (Beyonce now has more Grammys than any other female artist, even Dolly Parton, who actually writes her own songs.)
This year, there was controversy because The Weeknd, in a fit of pique over not being nominated, ordered his label not to submit his music for consideration anymore. There were several other big-name acts that launched similar complaints.
You and I might think, “How big an ego must you have to believe that out of the thousands of albums released every year, if yours isn’t named as one of the five best, the vote must’ve been rigged?” But they have a point, just not the way they think. It’s actually rigged in their favor.
They’re upset, and rightly so, about the “secret committees” that override the votes of actual members. This all started a few years back when indie singer/songwriter Linda Chorney used social media to gain enough support to score a nomination for her folk-rock album. There was outrage, and she was insulted and accused of “stealing” a nomination from some major label artist just because more members preferred her music and voted for her. This launched a series of rule changes, all of which made it nearly impossible for indie artists to promote their releases and break through to a nomination in any but the most niche categories, while the major labels could pay for all the billboards, trade paper ads and parties with open bars that they liked.
The Weeknd is butt-hurt because his mega-selling major label album didn’t score a spot among the other mega-selling major label albums that represent the current apex of commercial success and nadir of musicality. As someone who takes her duty seriously (even though it’s negated by the committees, whose rules are too complex to explain here), Laura listens to every album in the categories she votes in on both the first and final ballots, and she votes based solely on quality. I hear them all, too. Trust me, if they were judged purely by musical excellence, the stuff nominated for Best Song or Album wouldn’t even be in the top 1,000. I’ve long said that the Grammy slogan, “Saluting the best in music,” is the world's worst example of false advertising. Seriously, do you really believe Taylor Swift made the BEST album released in the entire past year? There’s plenty of great new music still being made; it’s just almost all indie music. The stuff on the primetime show is what I consider unlistenable garbage.
So yes, the voting process for the Grammy Awards isn’t fair. But it’s ironic that the big name pop/hip-hop stars complaining the most about it being unfair are the ones it’s actually biased toward. If they had to compete on a level playing field with musical excellence as the sole criteria, they’d be doing what I was doing on Sunday night. If they’d like to drop over, I could use some help with those bird cages.