I’m watching the Grammy’s right now. Earlier, the band called Fun won the award for “Best Song,” (the overplayed “We Are Young.”) Before that, they performed a new song where they got really into it as rain fell on them from above. They got totally soaked as they pranced around the stage in their hipster outfits. It was very geeky and cliché and lame. I like these guys.
To me, art is the thing you do after the bills are paid. There is no doubt in my mind the guys from Fun would do what they do regardless of the rich and famous and winning Grammy’s thing. Their music is obviously their attempt at sharing their interpretation of life. I dig it.
And then along comes Justin Timberlake, the white falsetto Godzilla. He storms onto the Grammy stage and we citizens of Earth do our best impression of terrified Japanese people fleeing the city. Justin Timberlake was put on the planet to entertain humans. All women freely confess their preferential love for him. I had a friend once tell me Justin Timberlake is the only human he wouldn’t trust his wife to be alone with for any amount of time, and he is dead on. If JT had a live show where all he did was fart into an empty Sprite can, my wife would max out our credit card with the hope that she would be selected from the crowd to go onstage and hold the can.
For us men it has to be more subtle, though. What we can’t admit is that we all have a crush on him, too. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is dating Tony the “mimbo?” Well, Timberlake is Tony and the rest of us are just a bunch of starry-eyed Costanza’s, staring longingly at our man-crush and trying to copy his every move. Screw you, Timberlake, I just can’t stay mad at you.
By the time Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys got to the stage, I had to set fire to the piano in our home and smash my guitar against the burning ivories. Musicians are so amazing; It is a travesty for me to even own those instruments. It made me ashamed of everything I’ve ever done because there are people out there that get it more than I ever could, express it better than I could ever dream, and work at harder than I would ever be willing.
The Grammy’s should be our Reality TV. I am so tired of the time, attention, money and resources we all spend on the nightly “I desperately want to be famous” show. Catty women fighting each other for camera time and the possibility of showing up on the cover of US Weekly should disgust us, not be our favorite show.
(Sorry, I’m pausing right now from typing anything because the Black Keys are using their awesomeness to force me into watching them perform).
I’m back. Art is happening tonight. And the thing about real art is, it touches us and inspires us and helps us remember a million moments in our own lives that made a difference. Art is a shared experience privately enjoyed. Art is not the Real Housewives of Phase 3 at Del Boca Vista fighting over who has more shiny friends.
(Brilliant! Bruno Mars just brought Sting onstage to acknowledge the fact that his new song ‘Locked Out of Heaven” is an intentionally Sting sounding song. I love this song, by the way).
I guess we all have to pay the bills. I’m lucky; I love what I do to make money. Others don’t, but I firmly believe they can. You may find yourself among the 99% of the population who does not do what they love all day every day for money. If you can’t do what you love, though, you can certainly love what you do. You can find passion and nobility in your current job.
But loving what we do for work isn’t art.
Art is much more important than that. Successful artistic expression is not measured by the zeros in your bank account, the number of US Weekly covers you’ve made, or the hordes of screaming fans. Art is measured by demonstrations of honesty and the truth as you see it. Art is what you do after the bills are paid. And the truth is…my only artistic expression lately is in the sexy ways I pose on the couch for my wife as we watch our shows.
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, the Beastie Boys. They all fought bravely for my right to party. And I’m just sitting here.
What should I do?