February 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 72  

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Popped Cherry, dead Grammy

Don Cherry is making headlines again for another controversial remark made last week.

During his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry and Ron Maclean began discussing the issue of helmet visors. Cherry then said that the only people in the league who wear them are “Europeans and French guys.”

The comment caused outrage in the French community and among the top brass at the CBC. Canada’s official languages commissioner is now investigating the incident and CBC announced that Coach’s Corner will now be aired on a seven second time delay.

The delay will allow them to cut the show if Cherry says anything else deemed to be “controversial.” The big problem with this is who deems something controversial or offensive? If an overly sensitive producer decides that Cherry’s remarks on, for example, minority bowling teams was offensive, would he automatically be yanked off the air?

Cherry has a history of having controversial opinions and in his over 20 years on air, has been known to voice his opinions on any topic. Last year, Cherry got into hot water after an entire segment devoted to Canada’s lack of involvement in Iraq.

However, controversy is part of Cherry’s appeal. The CBC knows how popular Cherry is and pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars to do his show. By attempting to censor him, they are negating the point of him even being there and actively commiting censorship.

Last Sunday’s Grammy Awards show was also broadcast under a five-minute time delay out of fear the young and hip nominees would try to top Janet and Justin’s Super Bowl performance. But the show, a performance-driven affair that aimed to mix new acts with music’s dinosaurs, remained conservative: big winner Beyoncé was a safe choice, and Coldplay’s wholesome “Clocks” beat out Eminem and OutKast for Record of the Year. No dirrrty Christina, no expletives from Sharon and Ozzy, no mouth rape á la Adrien Brody and Halle Berry at last year’s Oscars. Zzzzzzz.

There were, however, some redeeming moments. Andre 3000 gave a simple “thanks” when accepting Outkast’s Best Rap Album award, saving us from those long-winded speeches, while The White Stripes gave an explosive performance.

And then there was the Céline incident. No, it wasn’t a wardrobe malfunction (phew!), but rather a mic malfunction that had technicians in the control room scrambling to get her audio working. For a minute there, we were listening to the best Céline Dion song ever.

Still, aside from Outkast’s Album of the Year win, hip-hop still can’t beat Warren Zevon & Bruce Springsteen or Luther Vandross, proving that despite the Grammy’s new-found appreciation for young stars, actually winning the big awards requires a few prerequisites: you either have to be old, dead or dying.



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