Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Monday, February 13, 2012

When Social Pariahs Get Rewards

Sunday night, while the country was still trying to fathom the loss of a musical lengend, the Twitter feed exploded with outrage that Chris Brown, a 'performer' who is better known for having beaten his girlfriend, Rhianna also a popular performer. The images of her beaten, bruised, cut and swollen face are embedded in our minds and hearts.
We felt outrage that he had hurt her so badly. We were happy that he was arrested, and hoped his girlfriend, Rhianna, would find the strength and courage not to go back to him for more of the same.
Then came the Grammy awards, and we felt outraged when Chris Brown was chosen as the winner for best R&B album. The twitterverse felt outraged that he would receive recognition from the Acdemy after what he'd done. 'How dare they?' seemed to be the general concensus.
I'll admit to feeling some of that same indignation. After all, to those who blindly support someone like him - no matter how heinous his or her behavior - the giving of such an award supports their belief in him or her. 'Hey,' they say, 'he can't be that bad, his peers gave him an award!'
Then I remembered that awards like the Grammys are not given based on a person's behavior. Those awards are based on the art and whether the art nominated is better than anyone else's art in the same category.
According to Wikipedia, the voting is handled thusly: "Academy members are required to vote based upon quality alone, and not to be influenced by sales, chart performance, personal friendships, regional preferences or company loyalty. The acceptance of gifts is prohibited. Members are urged to vote in a manner that preserves the integrity of the academy."
In other words, whatever the person did - or didn't do - during the year has no bearing upon vote. The award is not to recognize the person as a human being - or less than such. It is only to recognize the artistic achievement.
Should Mr. Brown had accepted the award? It's easy to sit in judgement and say 'Hell no!' Especially since Rhianna was also nominated in the same category. A true gentleman would've said, 'Thanks, but no thanks. After what I did, she deserves this more than me!' In a perfect world, that would've been the case.
Alas, the world isn't perfect.
We can be outraged. That's a normal reaction to something that affronts our idea of what is right - morally and ethically. Chris Brown receiving an award after what he did is such an affront. But in all fairness to the Grammy Award process itself, the votes were cast in order with the rules. If the Academy were to make awards based on moral behavior as well as artisitic achievement, there wouldn't be any awards given!
Does the fact that he received an award make what he did any less heinous? No. It certainly doesn't mean the recording industry approves of his behavior. It only means that out of the nominees, something about the nominated album stood out from the others.
Unfortunately, sometimes people who excel don't always deserve the accolades they receive.
So what's the purpose of this blog? I guess just to air my own opinion, and to remind people in general that the Academy is not the bad guy in this situation. The bad guy is the one who decided to beat the tar out of his girlfriend. We can be outraged at him, and rightfully so.