Be Wary of Those Bearing Prizes

An off-schedule blog, the topic being competitions and "prizes" in the arts.

Canada has an annual music prize, the Polaris prize, for the "best" album of the year. Similar to the U.K.'s Mercury prize. "Best" at Polaris seems to be defined however each of the dozens of judges (media types, flacks, etc etc) chooses - there proudly is no criteria.

The point being, Godspeed You! Black Emperor won last night, and the group's reaction was spot on. The very idea of turning the arts into a foot race is pathetic. (It's not even a foot race - at least that would be quantitative. To paraphrase Woody Allen, it's a beauty contest.) These competitions are never about the work or artists nominated & awarded; they're about the tastes and agendas of the people doing the judging.

Thanks be to Godspeed for the music, and for once again speaking truth. Whether you are artist or audience, be your own critic; don't let others dictate your tastes and interests.