The MTV Video Music Awards took place last night all around New York City. The show was originally going to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but instead was held at locations throughout the city. NYC remains in a very tenuous position post-lockdown. Our restaurants are only allowed to offer outdoor seating and must close at 11 p.m. You cannot go out for drinks, unless you order food as well. Gyms are closed. Movie theaters are closed. Our schools may not reopen. Funerals must be limited to close family only. Live concerts, even outside, are not allowed. If a bar or restaurant offers live music they are not allowed to charge a cover. The music must be incidental to the dining experience. The city is in crisis. All the stories about New York City failing stem from the fact that we aren’t allowing NYC to flourish. Crime is up because criminals have the run of an empty city, still not allowed to function. New Yorkers are suffering.But the MTV Video Music Awards must go on!A Chainsmokers concert in Long Island in July, which was billed as a ‘drive-in’ concert, raised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ire and is being investigated by the state for violating social distancing rules. But how many sound technicians, lighting designers, stage designers, maintenance workers, catering employees, riggers, security personnel, drivers, and on and on did it take to produce each one of those VMA segments? Can we really be sure that ‘social distancing rules’ were strictly adhered to when they were taped? Why is the MTV VMA production exempt from the rules everyday New Yorkers have to live by?
The last few months have been a painful and consistent example of the way rules shift depending on the whim of our elected officials. Protests were OK for months before the beaches finally opened in NYC. In terms of COVID transmission, the former, with chants, songs and shouting is far more dangerous than the latter. But science ceased to matter long ago. Lady Gaga gyrated with a bevy of back-up dancers at the VMAs, but even when gyms open, group exercise classes, which would be very similar to a choreographed dance routine, won’t be allowed. Gaga wore a mask, that’s true, but New Yorkers who aren’t multimillionaires haven’t even had that option yet. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others, so goes the famous George Orwell line. In New York City during the time of COVID, those in charge are not even trying to hide that fact anymore.