The Grammy's - Thursday, February 16

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 3:33pm -- Rabbi Shalom Lewis

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

I admit to being out of my comfort zone when I venture into the world and politics of the Grammy's but here I go. I confess to not knowing many of the entertainers who performed nor could I name even one of their hits.

In the old days I knew the groups and the lyrics, but today I am lost unless it's a tribute to the old-timers. I was comforted by familiar tunes from Prince, the Bee Gees and George Michael. Even Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga got my toe tapping but Chance the Rapper, Q-Tip, Chain Smokers, Pentatonix...who are these people? But beyond the musical mystery tour of this year's Grammy's there was a back story that added tension and friction to this melodic extravaganza.

Adele and Beyoncé competed for album, record, and song of the year with Adele besting Beyoncé in all three major categories. In a perfect, competitive world there are winners and losers, but many objected to the sweep, claiming it was diminished by discrimination and racism. I am not a music critic nor savvy enough in the subtleties of beat, harmony, and song, so I will not enter the debate but take the issue beyond the Grammy's.

Political correctness. Compromised standards. Spineless capitulation and mediocrity are the undoing of excellence. When decisions are made and trophies awarded based on gender, color, sexual orientation, wealth and a myriad of irrelevancies, we crumble as a society, ignoring superior achievement and celebrating inferiority. Such distortion is destructive, not compassionate. Such appeasement is insulting not benevolent. It is not the pursuit of the middling that brings greatness and glory but the pursuit of the best and only the best. And yet there are many who cheer and exalt the undeserving.

Who among us would want a second-rate lawyer to defend us in court? A second-rate surgeon to operate on us? A second-rate accountant to do our books? A second-rate pilot to fly our plane? There are those who will lead the pack and others who follow in the dust. That's the way it is.

Adele won and Beyoncé lost. I must presume and hope that it was because Adele sang and composed better than Beyoncé. Anything less and we betray human exceptionalism.

We are taught by the sages that we go forward in the darkness because of the stars not because of the dust.



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