The example which came up last night, and is still trickling in as comments to my original comment in Cleo's journal wander into my in-box, was the fact that Beyonce sang three of the five songs nominated for Oscars last night. Not only that, but when she was singing "Learn to Be Lonely," the song nominated from Phantom of the Opera, along with Josh Groban, she "hogged" most of the song, only leaving a few lines for him. Also, her dresses, jewellery and makeup were ugly.
OK, everyone who believes that Beyonce herself made any of these decisions, from what songs she sang, to how much of the shared songs were hers versus her partner's, down to her appearance for each song, raise your hand. Anyone...?
I sure hope not. I have some reasonably intelligent people on my Flist, I think, and it's pretty clear to anyone with a few functioning brain cells that the the individual performer in a set piece like that is a doll to be chosen, dressed and directed by the People In Charge. Beyonce is a performer who was hired to do a job of work; she did what she was told, the way she was told to do it, and collected her paycheck. The decisions about what she did and how were made by others.
I certainly agree with everyone who was griping that the songs should've been done by the artists who did the performances for the movies. I'd have also been happy if they'd simply shown clips of the scenes from the movies where the songs were sung. I only very rarely care for another artist's "cover" of a song I liked originally, and this was no exception. But folks, if we're going to gripe then lets at least gripe about the right people, you know? The Oscars show had a musical director, an overall director, a producer -- possible more than one in any or all of those slots. Those are the people who decided to hire third-party singers to perform the songs. Those are the people who decided Beyonce would be one of them, and that she'd do three of the five songs. Those are the people who decided that, although Josh Groban would sing "Learn to Be Lonely" with her, he'd only sing a few lines. And some people in charge of costumes and makeup decided, probably along with the musical director et al, what she would wear and how her hair and makeup would be done for each number.
And what if Beyonce, when she got the offer to sing at the Oscars, had said, "No, I won't do that. I think it's only right that you should get the original artists, and I refuse to sing those songs because it violates my principles." (As if, but just supposing, you know?) The folks in charge of the show would've said, "Cool, see ya around," and gone off and hired someone else. Because they wanted a big-name singer. So give the kid a break, OK? It was a great opportunity for her and she'd have been an idiot to turn it down.
This reminds me of how a lot of people trashed Orlando Bloom's performance in Troy, ragged about what an awful actor he is, because... Paris was a selfish, cowardly twit. [blinkblink] Umm, hello? Paris was a selfish, cowardly twit -- read Homer. If you disliked Paris in the movie, that's Homer's fault, and it means Orlando did a good job of portraying the character.
This is like grouching about the Baen authors whose books were falling apart after (or in the middle of) the first reading, a few years back. Not the authors' fault -- grouch at the publisher that was skimping on book production.
Blame is healthy, you know? Calling people on their mistakes helps them improve for next time. But blame aimed at the wrong people is hurtful without being at all helpful. It stirs up misplaced animosity and scorn while letting the people who actually made bad decisions just swan along without a care in the world. If you want to grouch at someone, that's cool, but make sure it's the person who can actually benefit from the gripe.