These Grammy Awards sure have had some long legs this year, mostly due to Kanye West, who performed twice but did not take home a single award. (Mostly because he was barely nominated.) Anyway, part of what Kanye said about Beck winning, and part of what a lot of people said before the ceremony itself, was that the awards have become “too white.” Which seems like a knee-jerk reaction to a lack of diversity in this year’s nominations, but no: statistics show that popular music has, overall, become less diverse — or, “more white.”
This piece over at Vocativ infographs the trend toward whiteness in popular music, which has varied steadily since ’65, but which has increased shockingly since 2013, when there wasn’t a single black performer with a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. What does this mean, as a culture? Tough to say, but it’s a surprising trend given the ubiquitousness of something like Iggy Azalea and her “Fancy,” two things that, if you listen to Azealia Banks, are ripping off black culture.
This trend in music, and the Grammys specifically, isn’t exactly surprising, given the similar trend in the Academy Awards. But, that’s not exactly a surprise, either, given the ridiculous nature of the ceremony as a whole. More specifically, the $125,000 gift bags — which all acting and directing nominees receive — are utterly ridiculous: a three night stay at a resort in Tuscany; a “glamping” trip; and a $250 vibrator, among so much other stuff.
With so much luxury pampering in a single bag, it’s a real shame and surprise that there was no Axe body spray. Luckily, Axe is getting the Internet media bump from Slate this week, as they ran this beautifully titled piece, “Axes of Evil,” in which a woman wears Axe for a whole week. Of Axe, the author writes:
It was the most sublimely powerful fragrance experience of my adult life. Truly. After decades of smelling like a flower or a fruit, for the first time ever, I smelled like teen boy spirit. I smelled the way an adolescent male smells when he feels that everything good in the universe is about to be delivered to him, possibly by girls in angel wings. I had never smelled this entitled in my life. I loved it. I wanted more.
I remember days when I wore Axe body spray, using a few ounces of the stuff as a substitute for the public humiliation of my locker room shower. It was my own form of quiet rebellion, and a kind of misty Xanax for my teenage, nude-based anxiety. My anxiety was not so strong as the author of this essay over at Buzzfeed, which is why I found this read so powerful, and so illuminating.
My own anxiety, and the anxiety of plenty of people I know, has oftentimes been tied to my career and its unflappable unpredictability. Am I a writer? What does that mean? Does it mean that I feel the undying need to be a writer? Well, no, because nobody needs to be a writer, as The Awl so beautifully puts it.
Everybody has anxiety, though. It’s part of being human. But you know who isn’t human, and thus has no anxiety (and also quells my own anxiety)? Cookie Monster.