I've been amused by articles wondering
if the Recording Academy, the institution behind the Grammy Awards, was sending a message by anointing the Dixie Chicks
with album, song and record of the year.
Here's some news: The Grammys always
send a message. It's just that the message is usually "Thank you for selling a zillion copies
of your mediocre album
" and all too rarely "Thank you for changing the face of pop music
with your excellent release
If the Recording Academy is saying that it supports the Dixie Chicks' political stand, it's rather meek to say so now; Natalie Maines made her remarks four years ago
. And if the Academy is thumbing its collective nose at country radio, which dropped the Chicks from playlists, it's a little late there, too.
Indeed, if the Academy is angry at country radio, maybe it should take on radio in general, since the medium has long since become so pre-chewed and safe it makes the Grammys look bold. Perhaps then a wider variety of music would get more exposure. There's a message there, too. But I don't expect it to be heard.(Addendum, 3 p.m.: Some commenters are interpreting this post as anti-Dixie Chicks. Actually, I have no problems with the Chicks, their album or whatever they want to say. My post is aimed at the Academy, which seems craven in its support -- they're still playing it safe, in other words, waiting until it's OK to "send a message." After all, if it really wanted to be political, the Academy could have voted for "American Idiot" for album of the year two years ago. Which deserved it, too.)