…but they’re always swamped with so many expressions of rapt adoration and slavish praise, like water gushing out of a firehouse, drenching everyone in attendance…a feeling of drowning, of not being able to breathe…give it a rest! It’s left to the recipients to turn it down and somehow make it feel real, but by the time they’re before a mike and sharing whatever you’re too drained and exhausted to care. The only tribute events that I can stand are roasts, except they’re exhausting and draining in different ways.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced its 44th lifetime achievement award winners, to be handed out on 12.5.21: Motown founder Berry Gordy, opera star Justino Díaz (who?), singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, entertainer Bette Midler and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels.

Gordy, Midler and Michaels are legendary, of course, but Mitchell is the only kissed-by-genius, Pablo Picasso– or Frank Sinatra– or Billie Holiday- or Isodora Duncan-level artist among them.