This is just a response to a particular strain of argument that Chris Brown apologists have been making lately in defense of his recent re-appearance at the Grammy awards, from which he was banned three years ago after savagely beating his girlfriend Rihanna. The argument is as follows: "he's a musician! Let him be a musician!"
... That's it. That's the argument. And it's not entirely without merit! I mean, there are plenty of musicians, and artists period, who have done awful things throughout the past, and we don't judge their music any differently for it. And why would we? I mean, whatever happened to "separation of art and artist"?
So let me first just say that there's nothing wrong with Chris Brown as an artist. I mean yeah, I haven't enjoyed any of his music ever in my entire life, but the point is that none of his physical transgressions hold any weight when evaluating it; if I liked Chris Brown's music five years ago, there's no reason for me not to like it now (and if I hated it then, I probably don't hate it any more now than I did then).
That's not what the Grammys controversy is about, though. The decision to allow him back on their (terrible and boring) award show is perfectly valid insofar as he is indeed a well-regarded musical artist. But the Grammys aren't just about "well-regarded music"-- they're also about celebrity.
The message of allowing Chris Brown perform on stage in front of millions of people and touting him as some sort of self-redeemer isn't "we're the Grammys, and we have respect for high-quality musical art." It's "we're the Grammys, and we are perfectly willing to forgive someone for a terrible crime. So much so, in fact, that we are rewarding them with positive attention in the public sphere."
It's unacceptable, plain and simple. There are tons of talented musicians out there. Why reward one of the despicable ones?