Commentary: Ariana Grande, Please Shut the F*ck Up About Music Criticism

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande Courtesy of Ariana Grande

click to enlarge Ariana Grande - COURTESY OF ARIANA GRANDE
Ariana Grande
Courtesy of Ariana Grande

So, on Wednesday Ariana Grande posted, and then deleted, this on Twitter:

Screenshot by Doug Markowitz

And you know, normally I don't get mad about this kind of petty, I'm-actually-doing-you-a-favor-by-throwing-shade bullshit, but this comes a little while after Lizzo, a rising pop star, posted a similar tweet, which was much less faux-polite:
And folks, I'm not in a good mood. I should be, because I just took a wonderful vacation that featured several very decent bowls of ramen and lovely drives through the wonderful landscapes of Arizona. But then this shit comes up. And you know, I think I've had enough.

So Ariana, sweetie, let me explain some things to you. First off, what the fuck are you even doing? Why are you on Twitter? You're rich. You don't need to be on Twitter. You don't need to associate with the commoners, although judging from your timeline your reasons for being there seem to be mostly about retweeting people's praise of you, and that's another issue entirely that I won't even touch. Get offline, do a digital detox, go eat a baby for spirit energy, or whatever you Hollywood freaks do.

Second, now that we've established that you're rich, why the fuck are you punching down at a bunch of broke journalists? I don't know if you've seen the news, but we're all getting laid off, or we're perma-freelance, and most of us have thousands of dollars in student loan debt that we're never gonna get out from under unless by some miracle Liz Warren or Bernie Sanders gets elected and decides to cancel it. Only you were lucky enough to coast into a singing career off some garbage Nickelodeon sitcom and prance around onstage dressed up in a Playboy Bunny Halloween costume every night. The rest of us had to buy into the scam of the American higher education system and scrounge around for whatever we could find in terms of employment. You're free from that. You have a privilege the rest of us could only dream of. So shut the fuck up.

Third, and people will probably disagree with me on this and that's fine, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but nobody actually wants to write about you. As previously established, we're all poor. We need money to survive and we were all misguided enough to choose writing as a profession. And lots of people happen to listen to your awful, bland, uninspiring radio garbage, so we have to cook up brilliant takes on your insufferable public persona.

No mature adult actually wants to write the "Why Ariana's New Album Is Actually Incredibly Philosophical and Profound." It's not. It's pop music, and it's not even very good pop music. There are literally 785 South Koreans who are twice as talented as you, and they all group together. It's kind of embarrassing that we have to act like you're worth a single iota of our attention. You're not. But that's the system we live in. So maybe you should thank your lucky stars you got to where you are in the first place and quit biting the hand that feeds you, because we could be so, so much meaner.

Now, Lizzo. I could counter with the argument of "but I do make music," but that wouldn't be very helpful because 1.) my version of "I make music" would be "I'm not very good at the piano and I fuck around with software sometimes," and 2.) have you maybe considered that people write about music instead of making it?

I don't speak for myself. I would much rather be making music if I had the time/money/talent to train myself and turn it into a career. I chose writing because it felt like the more practical option at the time and I was demonstrably good at it. But I know plenty of people whose dream it is to write about music, to analyze and sing the triumphs of their favorite performers, to uplift the styles and scenes that aren't getting enough respect, and to develop their work into a craft that they can be proud of. I know plenty of people for whom this is their passion, and the industry takes advantage of them every day, and they are not, as a lot of writers seem to think, an extension of PR.

The wonderful thing about music is that anyone can make it. You can open your mouth and sing, or you can apply yourself and learn an instrument, or how to read notation, or how to use production equipment. You don't need to have any prerequisites or degrees to make music. So why would you need anything like that to write about it? Especially in an age where a massive amount of research and resources are available for free via that same light-up rectangle that you use to post stupid Twitter barf to learn about it.

Anyone can make music, and anyone can write about it. Maybe certain people have a hard time articulating themselves and don't exactly have the background knowledge to say what they mean. I wish I knew more about music theory and about different ways of making music, and I constantly try to teach myself more. And I can do that, and so can you, because music belongs to no one.

So, pop stars, my precious little idiot children, maybe have a little perspective before you post your stupid, mindless, boneheaded opinions on what people who have less than you should or shouldn't do with their lives. Maybe put the phone away. That's all. 
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Douglas Markowitz was born and raised in Broward County, Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before graduating with honors from the University of North Florida with a bachelor's degree in communications. He began writing for Miami New Times while in college and served as their music and arts editorial intern in 2017.