I don’t usually do this, but I watched the Grammy’s last night. I was curious to see how they would acknowledge the death of Whitney Houston, so I tuned in. The program featured the normal stream of pop culture pabulum that one has come to expect from the Grammy’s, but this year’s edition moved from lowbrow to insult when Nicky Minaj took the stage. It was so bad that I hit the fast-forward button through Minaj’s performance. Not only was it an aesthetic and artistic nightmare, it was a distasteful sacrilege.
Michael Gerson is right to ask why hardly anyone was offended by Minaj’s impious spectacle. He writes,
Nicki Minaj’s Grammy Awards performance — complete with a mock exorcism, a mock confession and dancing monks — caused its intended cultural buzz. Some believe it is a transparent publicity stunt. Others believe it is the sign of a collapsing civilization. We should stop all this bickering. There is no reason it can’t be both…
How did anti-clericalism become permissible in polite liberal society? That is a large topic. But one reason is probably the cultural isolation of the knowledge class. A New York-based journalist may have little daily contact with people who are offended when Notre Dame is forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. An L.A.-based entertainer may never encounter anyone who is deeply disturbed by anti-Catholic stereotypes. These cultural figures inhabit Minaj land, where religion is repression, bishops are ludicrous and sacrilege is entertainment.
These views are not thoughtful or serious. But when it comes to bigotry, it is possible to be pathetic and dangerous at the same time. Nicki Minaj has demonstrated it.
Read the rest here.