The Playgoer: Awards Season Hangover?

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Awards Season Hangover?

Terry Teachout has a disarmingly honest reflection today on the futility of awards in the arts. (I say honest, since he admits to being a judge/voter for more than a few of these himself.)

...I have a feeling that the reason why awards in the arts tend
irresistibly toward irrelevance is that they contradict the essential nature of
art. The fact is that there are only two “prizes” worth having, short-term
success and long-term acclaim, neither of which can be conveyed by any means
other than the uncoerced consensus of the relevant public.

One could counter that awards judged by peers or "experts" can serve as a "corrective" (or to put it less snobbily) necessary supplement to mass opinion. But do we honestly think that's the kind of verdict we get with a "Jersey Boys" win?

Terry's thoughts spring from his snarky reaction to Neil Simon getting the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain humor award. So for that and more, check him out today.

1 comment:

John Branch said...

I just lost a comment in some kind of network error and am not going to try reconstructing the whole thing, but...

Basically, awards seem like a kind of game to me. Deciding what was the best musical on Broadway this season is like deciding what 10 books (CDs, whatever) I'd want to have on a desert island, or who should've won the latest American Idol, or what my favorite restaurant is. If "I" happen to be the Tony voters, then the decision seems to make some difference, but essentially, all such choices and lists and the effort to compile them and argue over them are little more than diversions. So I'm with Terry Teachout on this.