The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant hopes everyone had a good Mardi Gras, or as some of you call it, any given Tuesday. You know who you are, so raise a glass to The Rant and pogue mahone (pog mo thoin, for you purists out there). So now it’s Ash Wednesday, and The Rant was just thinking how being self-righteous and judgmental hardly leaves time for anything else, when lo and behold, we discovered the best religious idea ever: drive-thru ashes (for your nearest location, head to ashestogo.org. The Rant wishes we could make stuff up this good) . Does America get any better than that? The Rant gets to feel superior to others and not waste any time achieving that warm glow of self-satisfaction. All the benefits with none of the sacrifice. Lent for the one percenters.
We Rant thus: During the endless parade of awards assaulting us, The Rant bears in mind that the hardware rarely goes to the work or artist that stand the test of time. As an aside, Annie Lennox singing “Put a Spell on You” at the Grammys this year would have made Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Nina Simone proud. In 1961, Paul Newman was nominated for playing Fast Eddie Felson in the The Hustler. He lost to Maximilian Schell in Judgement at Nuremberg, the sort of Very Important Movie everyone praises but no one watches, while The Rant will hunker down for Paul playing pool against Jackie Gleason any day of the week. In 1990, Dances with Wolves beat Good Fellas for Best Picture. If you listen quietly at night, you can still hear Scorcese weeping in New York.In 2001, Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature defeated Radiohead’s Kid A for album of the year. The Rant rests your honor.
The fact is, awards get caught up in a maelstrom of hype, politicking, delusion, and sentiment. Not unlike the dates you took to the prom. After the regret and embarrassment are over, you discover the hidden gems and lasting favorites you missed at the time.
Social media only increases the hysteria, where the object is to judge first and loudest. The Rant isn’t begrudging the trend, only let’s not pretend anything important is being decided in the heat of the moment or the glamour of the red carpet.