Sunday, February 28, 2016


My favorite Oscar.

Humanity has many weaknesses. Giving out awards is one of them. Awards are more sophisticated remains of our need to constantly seek/bestow power over others in the animal pack. Rather than taking heads, we now fill them with the idea that the award-winner is special due to some time-specific behavior: Winning a race, crying on screen, riding a bull, etc.. 

Awards are always political in some way. Olympic gold medalists may have to qualify on statistics, but how they get there has a lot to do with their backgrounds and how savvy their parents/coaches were to encourage their success. In other words, there were probably many young people like Jesse Owens who did not have the coincidental ingredients which led to his award-based celebrity. Were those others, whether or not inspired by them, actually helped directly by Owens' awards. No. We would not have a Black Lives Matter campaign 80 years later if they had been. 

Awards in a post-Reagan America are often used to subtly stick it to those who are struggling. Give an award to a one-legged runner, and you convey the message to other amputees whose recovery is not as substantial that they are not trying hard enough. Honor athletes with HIV in the name of normalizing the disease, and you succeed in diminishing the struggle of many poor people with HIV to avoid homelessness. I could go on.

Tonight's Oscar ceremony is a totally politicized event. Studying the process of electing the nominees and winners within the Academy will enlighten you to just how political it is. The outcries of racism, sexism, homophobia and whatever are disingenuous lobbying efforts by people established within the movie business. Oscars are money. Talent alone does not rule the arts. Sales do. Awards are the "Housekeeping Seal of Approval" of the film industry. Like that seal on a bottle of bathroom cleaner, it doesn't guarantee you'll like the smell of it or how well it will remove the soap ring from your bathtub. 

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