Why awards shows are ‘Triple F’.


Today was The 58th Grammy Awards and Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for 1989. Kanye didn’t storm the stage this year to tell her someone else should have won, but thousands of Kendrick Lamar fans did virtually the same thing via Social Media.

When are we going to learn that Awards shows are, by definition, what I like to refer to as being ‘Triple F’: Fundamentally Fucking Flawed? There is quite simply no way you can determine comparative worth. And any attempt to do so will almost always end in tears for someone.

We shouldn’t be asking if Taylor’s record is better than Kendrick’s because that question makes literally absolutely no sense at all. Do you like one record more than the other? Now that’s a fair question. Did one record sell more copies than another? That’s fair also. Did more people vote for one record than another? Fair. But is one record better than another? Stupid, stupid question.

Popularity does not equal value.

All things have value. All people have value. All art has value. I suppose some of that value is in the thing itself. But really the value is with the person who values it.

A priceless piece of art has no value to me if I have no desire or appreciation for it. Does that make it worthless? No. But it has no value to me.

You can compare music or art or films or people as much as you like, but all it really comes down to is what we all like more than something else based on our own personal beliefs and preferences. And if I happen to be a judge in an awards show, then my beliefs and preferences are what you’ll see reflected in the winners. Will they be the same as yours? Maybe, maybe not. Who cares?

Popularity is not necessarily a sign of value. Just as lack of popularity does not automatically imply a lack of it.

I’ve been personally involved in many awards shows over the years. I’ve judged everything from advertising awards to the Miss Nude Australia Competition. (Yes, seriously.) All you can ever do is apply certain criteria, then do your best to judge against that. But there’s always personal opinion, personal judgement, involved. The important word here being ‘personal’.

Those criteria do not necessarily make one record, one ad or one nude person better than another. It simply gives us a framework to judge with. A winner gets announced. They get a nice shiny trophy. And you still personally like what you like regardless of what any judge says.

Love what you love. Leave what you don’t.

Judging is useful at awards shows. But in life, not so much. Love what you love. Leave what you don’t. But don’t compare. There’s no point. It only robs you, and sometimes others, of joy.

The world is wide and there’s plenty of room for us all to love many different things, without it reflecting on the value of the things, or the people, we don’t.

If you love Kendrick’s album, go love that and enjoy that. Don’t let what this year’s Grammy judges liked affect your joy. Me? I’ll be busting some moves to 1989.