Tracking the old, stodgy Grammys on new media platforms.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 11, 2009

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illustration by ALEX FINE

"Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?" That question, posed by Public Enemy on "Bring the Noise" back when rap music still mattered, wasn't rhetorical. They wanted answers.

And Sunday's 51st Annual Grammy Awards telecast offered a few, the most important being: Yes, this thing could actually get fucking worse than it's ever been. (Stevie Wonder, meet the Jonas Brothers!)

Not that I watched. Instead I decided to get my new media on and follow the Grammy Twitter (!) with close to 6,000 others to keep up to date with the news of the night as they released it in enthusiastic hiccups of 140 characters or less--"Sir Paul McCartney with Dave Grohl on drums!!," "Best Rap Album just went to Lil Wayne for Tha Carter III!"

The "future of media" meets music's oldest and stodgiest on its biggest night. The Grannys. The big, dumb, lumbering wooly mammoth that is the Recording Academy--woefully out of touch and notoriously unwilling to adapt to the rapidly changing world around it--taking a blind and inspired stab into the Internet ether with its cane.

On top of following via Twitter, I tracked reactions to the Grammy results in real time as they rolled in on the Grammy Facebook (!!), which I became a "fan" of just before the broadcast to watch the Internet do what it does best: complain. And boy did it ever, pissing its hot discontent in waves all over Grammy's Facebook wall during the night and into the next morning.

Nuggets like this one, regarding M.I.A.'s very pregnant performance with the "Rap Pack":

Chastity Garner (Atlanta, Ga.) wrote at 10:06 p.m.

"I was mortified watching the pregnant lady from M.I.A. in that atrocious outfit humping 9 months come on...would it have killed her to put on a nice dress"

Or this one, about Lil Wayne's tribute to New Orleans:

Robert F. Koscinski (Central Jersey, NJ) wrote at 11:13 p.m.

"I find it funny how a NYC rap station a few years ago made a joke about teh Tsunami that happened in 2004... and now you have rappers rapping about the whole Katrina thing. Is it enough that Obama is our president now! Whatever!"

It was the perfect way to watch the Grammys. Which is to say, the perfect way to watch the Grammys is to not watch the Grammys. This was better--unfettered fandom straight from the tap, next-level Grammy coverage complete with misspellings; more than a thousand wall posts written in teen text shorthand that makes ne thing ne 1 writes, no matter how poignant or succinct, seem dumb.

And this coverage was international. Like this reaction from across the pond to Robert Plant and Allison Krauss taking home Album of the Year honors:

Jovan (Uni. Sussex) wrote at 11:24 p.m.

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