Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Douchebag of the Week (3/10/10): And the Winner Is...

The Oscars.

This is the first time that the Honneurs de la Douchebag will be not have been bestowed upon a particular individual, but rather upon a cultural phenomenon.

I did not watch the Oscars this year. Again. In fact, I have never watched them of my own free will (I believe the last time I had no choice in the matter, "The English Patient" was the movie everyone creamed over. I can't even begin to imagine how long ago that was. Full disclosure: the only movie nominated that I actually saw was "Inglorious Bastards" which was fun, but not "Lord of the Rings"-great.). If given the choice, I could easily, even thankfully, see myself spending the three hours of the Oscar 'ceremonies' happily on the receiving-end of a root canal. With no anesthetic. And the dentist gaining access to my mouth through my alimentary canal. It would certainly be a much more productive, fulfilling and entertaining use of time.

Because at the end of the day, the Oscars do not celebrate much of anything, in my opinion. There will be some who will disagree and point out that there is an art and skill to acting and filmmaking, and yeah, perhaps there is. But in the grand scheme of things, they aren't arts and skills which make much of a real difference in anyone's life; they don't cure anyone's diseases, they don't advance or improve the human condition, they don't feed the hungry,comfort the lonely, bring dogs and cats closer together.

The ceremony itself is a disgusting display of conspicuous consumption that is heavy on display, loaded with conspicuous and totally all about consumption. It's wickedly over the top. Hours before the actual 'ceremony' are devoted to watching skinny bitches in expensive dresses made by fag designers you've never heard of march up and down a red carpet in full, capitalist-in-red-tooth-and-claw finery; jewels hanging from their ears and navels, the gemstone-encrusted shoes, the hundred-thou dress paired with the million dollar diamond. All gladly and peacock-proudly worn by people who very often speak out forcefully (and ignorantly) about the selfishness and greed of Western, particularly American, civilization with nary a thought as to the poignant hypocrisy on display at that exact moment, and under those exact circumstances.

The Strutting Strumpets are followed about by legions of cameramen and on-air commentators who ask vapid questions that All the World Wants the Answers To (do they? Really? Does anyone really care what Miley Cyrus or Woody Harrelson thinks about anything? And if you do, are you being medicated for it?). The level of coverage can only be compared to what happens with the Super Bowl; I should be surprised to find out that there wasn't some corporate dickhead suggesting that this year's Oscars be shot in Super High Definition, and include Super-Slo-Mo replays of the Red Carpet. There are hours of "pre-game show" for this thing which is nothing more than hours of airtime devoted to complete speculation about every inane detail of the lives and tastes of people who are ultimately blank-slates. We don't devote this much airtime or 'serious' discussion to matters that actually mean something; people will hang on Jennifer Lopez's every insipid word, so long as she stands upon a red carpet wearing a dress that looks like someone attached a shower curtain to at the last minute, but few actually know what the hell their government does or how it does it.

It's a sickening display of self-appointed 'heroes' slapping themselves on the back, and celebrating their own self-absorption in a three-hour orgy of nothingness... With dance numbers. Why, in this day and age, do we still have dance numbers? It's nothing but the "Look-at-Me!" crowd revelling in yet another opportunity to Look-at-Them. Only better dressed.

It's no wonder that the best part of the Oscars (so they say) usually occurs AFTER the ceremonies themselves are all over. That's when the Gay Men come out to tell you all about the fashion faux pas of those who attended. Most of them can get snotty and vicious, but it's really just a reflection of the underlying Gay Vibe of the Oscars; they care so much about what Sandra Bullock wore because all these gay commentators secretly wish they could wear it, too. And not get beat up for it. Any man who complained that so-and-so looked perfectly awful in so-and-so's dress is really quite upset that it doesn't come in a size 15 so that he can play Cinderella, too.

It's apropos that the ceremony in which the 'winners' get a statuette of a naked man clad in gold should be examined in minute and exquisite detail by gay men in an forced, campy approximation of high menstrual dudgeon. It's the most appropriate annual post-mortem to any event yet devised by human beings.

Hollywood still takes itself seriously, but it really shouldn't; it's bailiwick --entertainment, the creation of fantasy and the means of intellectual escape -- have been superseded by the video game, the home computer, On-Demand cable and satelite television, video and audio streaming. Home entertainment is now easier, cheaper and more varied than ever before, and Hollywood ever-less necessary. Like the Flint spearhead, the Chariot, the idea that Sin is the cause of Pestilence, the Horse and Buggy and the Post Office, Hollywood has been made irrelevant by the advance of technology.

And even when there is a movie that makes some money nowadays (like Avatar), it turns out the majority of the action is really CGI-generated apparition, not an actor to be found, and the whole resembles a video game fantasy milleaux more than it does anything else. Technology is making the actor redundant; we live in an age of Na'vi, Shreks, Buzz Lightyears, CGI-generated armies of Orcs, Transformers, Demons, Roman Legionaries, whatever. You don't even need to go "On Location" to film anything anymore; you can just shoot a movie in front of a Green Screen and fill in your scenery later on. Who needs actors, who needs crews of hundreds of highly-paid union hacks when you have computers? And the what the fuck is a Best Boy anyway? It sounds even gayer than Oscar himself.

But, traditions die hard, don't they? And the tradition of self-absorbed, conceited morons who make their wholly-exaggerated and undeserved livings pretending to be other people in expensive garb receiving awards from the other ranks of spoiled rotten pricks, is a tradition that dies even harder.

And in a foretaste of things to come, the broadcast of the Oscars here in New York was held hostage to a dispute over money between Disney, the company which owns the rights to the broadcast, and local cable television systems which pay Disney a fee to retransmit it. Disney felt they were getting short-changed and threatened to withhold the Oscar broadcast from certain cable systems this year...unless they coughed up the cash... cash which comes from the customers who watch the Oscars. In the end, Oscar is not a celebration anymore; it's all about the money.

The Oscars are not only an orgy of ugly vanity, nonsense, political correctness run amok, stupid people given far more deference than they warrant, decadent opulence and waste -- it's a vivid demonstration of corporate extortion.

For being unaware of your Irrelevancy, Stupidity, Inanity, Conceit, Greed and Gayness, I give you, The Oscar Ceremonies, the Douchebag of the Week Award.

Screw the envelope.

No comments: