Do you hear what I hear?

So, last night was the Grammy Awards show — I was looking forward to seeing the performances because Mike and I had really enjoyed last year’s show and hoped for the same “wow factor” this year. Sadly, the evening was rather overshadowed by Whitney Houston’s death, which preoccupied much of the evening. (With no mention of how she had destroyed her life with drugs and alcohol — no cautionary tales or “just say no” messages, which is too bad.) But we thought some of the performances were fantastic — Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Jennifer Hudson, and especially Adele all stood out for me. We missed the last few acts, though, because The Walking Dead (could be a band name, but no, a series about a zombie apocalypse, which also sounds like it could be a band) reappeared and I didn’t want to miss the second showing of the new episode at 11:00.

This morning I surfed a bit to see what I had missed (turns out it was Nicki Minaj — who gave a bizarre and Catholic-offensive performance from what I read — and Paul McCartney singing Beatles tunes, which I’m SO sorry I missed). Anyway, what puzzled me most were the comments I read about the performances I had seen that left me wondering if we were watching the same show.

People hate Adele? Really? I guess not everyone likes a blues-y voice or non-rock music (or non-classical, non-jazz, or non-whatever-genre-she’s-not-that-they-like). And they thought her voice was obviously not recovered from her vocal chord surgery? Really? I don’t get what there was to criticize about her performance. Do they think live performances are supposed to sound exactly like the CD (even though hers, amazingly, pretty much did)? They thought Jennifer Hudson was “OK” in her Whitney tribute (“I will always love you”), but obviously holding back? Holding back? Good Lord, you mean she can sing even better than she did? No, she’s not Whitney Houston…but she did that song proud. (Although, I agreed with commenters who said it would have been better to have Dolly Parton sing it.)

You had people questioning the Beach Boys tribute…why Coldplay was there when they are “obviously” so unexciting and overrated…who’s Glen Campbell?…why can’t that lead singer of Foo Fighters even sing?…gosh, doesn’t that Bruno Mars get annoying?…and why the heck is there even a Grammy’s show to begin with? Why do those people need another narcissistic awards show so they can celebrate themselves?

For everything I liked, and everything I didn’t like, there were comments from those who felt completely the opposite.

And, that’s why I read comments.

Because it’s so easy to believe that your perception is the “only” perception and the “right” perception. That people must hear and see and think the same as you, because, well, it’s just so obvious. How could you not agree?

From politics to TV shows to movies to books (Amazon reviews) to climate change to fracking to music — we all have our own perceptions and preferences. I watch Fox because their spin on things generally agrees with mine; others watch CNN or MSNBC because they like that spin; others watch Colbert (and think it’s a news show) because they like his spin. It’s all got spin, even though, to fans, it’s simply and so obviously “the truth.”

More and more, I think the truth about anything more than indisputable facts (along the lines of “the earth revolves around the sun”) seems to be completely based on how you spin it.

But, I will say, to those of you who don’t like Adele or thought Jennifer Hudson gave a so-so performance: You’re just wrong.

There is no truth. There is only perception.
~ Gustave Flaubert


  1. robbie said,

    Monday, February 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Thank God for Downton Abbey! Just watched the first hour of the Grammys (which seemed like 3). Wanted to see Adele and Katy (my lady) sing but instead saw Chris Brown (?). Why was he even invited to perform? Didn’t he beat the hell out of Rihanna a few years ago? That’s a nice tribute for the moron…..ask him to the Grammys. At least Lady Gaga looked fun, as usual. Maybe it’s more about theatrics than singing? Oh no, we have Adele!!!!! That’s singing.

    • WritingbyEar said,

      Monday, February 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Agreed, that’s singing! I could have done without Paul McCartney’s unremarkable crooning of a torch song that Tony Bennett would have nailed (and was mystified at Carrie Underwood calling him Tony “Bennis” three times even though she was singing a duet with him). It really does all come down to whom you like and care about seeing. For me that was about half of them.

  2. Monday, February 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    haha! Nicely done, Chris.

  3. facie said,

    Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I was thinking a similar thing after I had read a post from another blogger about documentaries he liked. I am pretty impressionable; I can think one way about something, read an opposing view, and then change my mind (or at least really question my original thoughts). This is why I follow a nice mix of blogs written by conservative and liberal people (and people whom I have no idea how they feel about too much of anything) and spread my love around Fox News and CNN (when I bother to watch those stations at all, which is rare anymore). I don’t want to keep my feet too firmly planted in any one idea that I don’t know too much about (which, I guess, makes me wishy-washy).

    I try to look at it this way: We are all different, with our own opinions, preferences, etc. It makes sense that there will be divergent views on so many things. I did hear Adele sing, and I think she sounded fine; I like her soulful voice in general. But for some people, I have no doubt their dislike for her is because she is not skinny or conventionally beautiful (and they may prefer that tripe that so many others put out there).

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks, Facie. I tend to form opinions without knowing enough about something. It seems impossible and overwhelming to learn about so many issues and topics in depth, so I go with what people or publications I generally respect have to say about something. I’m sure that doesn’t always work out the way I want, and I only get part of the story. Like a lot of people, I believe what I want to believe, unless presented with overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

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