Let’s just call it the annual Kennedy Center Pander for Pop-Cult Cred Award.
I didn’t expect to change anyone’s mind over at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts when I wrote this piece last year, lamenting the slow decline of the Kennedy Center Honors from an arts award to a celebrity and pop culture award. This year’s honorees are pretty much in the same vein as last year’s, with the exception of Martha Argerich, who is one of the finest performing artists of our age. But it’s still depressing to see what the Honors have become. Is this really the face that Deborah Rutter wants the Kennedy Center to put to the world, promoting desiccated pop culture icons who have never lacked for adulation, money and fame? And who have ready access to more of it at any time? James Taylor? Al Pacino? And The Eagles? Even as a pop culture award this seems pretty stale.