The annual, self-congratulatory, beauty contest called the Oscars has hit a bit of a snag this year. The hubbub is about lack of diversity (or representation) on the so-called dignified panel of nominating “judges”; that is, those who decide what and who is worthy of recognition. Pardon me, but ho-hum, yawn, drool, and zzzz. I mean, I enjoy motion pictures as much as the next guy, but consider the film industry’s offerings strictly as entertainment not high art or a social reform platform; and I take great pains to avoid watching the annually televised borefest where nude little statues are conferred upon “honored” individuals. I do not care who or what is nominated and who or what “wins”, but that’s just me. If you enjoy a parade of insecure egotists bloviating verbal rubbish, fine. But then again I’m an oddball; the kind of person referred to as a statistical outlier. Why, I even believe that individual awards in team sports are ridiculous. Don’t even get me started on the ESPYS. |
As a sidebar, what has happened to the so-called melting pot of races and cultures that defined this republic? The name on the masthead of the country says we’re “united”. Maybe not so much; probably because divisiveness is in the best interest of certain groups. They capture public attention and perchance make a lot of money by promoting discontent and animosity. Such groups never acknowledge any kind of progress, but instead ramp up their efforts about how society is continually hosing them. More than a few of the leaders make a darn good living at it; and unfortunately the dollar is what drives everything in our good old American culture, which is a major criticism coming from Islam and their analogy of US as the Great Satan. Of course both sides (whomever they are) claim the other is totally at fault.
Since this is an election year, watch the ideologues from both parties (some are your friends) resort to the childish and ignorant pastime of calling names when they either don’t know or understand the so-called issues. Last week I heard Trump being compared to Hitler by some Hollywood princess. Obviously the name-caller didn’t realize 1) Hitler’s party was the National SOCIALISTS, and 2) haven’t read Der Fuhrer’s speeches where he vociferously condemns capitalism. Much of what he said and wrote fits Bernie Sanders more than The Donald—I’m talking rhetoric here, nothing else. But to an ideologue that doesn’t matter. (Come to think of it, Darth Vader may be a better comparison for Trump.) What matters is the furthering of “the agenda” by any means possible. Lying is OKAY—as long as it’s YOUR guy. Socialists / Communists always start by aligning haves vs. have-nots, promoting class envy, promising redistribution of money, giving away lots of free stuff, then (when in power) become brutal dictators…Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro and a bunch of Stalin-lites throughout Asia and South America. But since young people deny history, the cycle repeats and repeats. Recall what Nikita Khrushchev said in 1957. Paraphrased: We won’t force you into communism by military means, we’ll just feed you small bits of socialism until one day you’ll wake up under full-blown communism. It seems old Nikita was a pretty good prophet.
Back to the 2016 problems of the Oscars… Last time I looked at the US census report our diverse groups broke down as follows: 62% Euro (white); 18% Latin (BTW, Hispanic means people from Spain and Portugal, who are white); 12% African (black); 6% Asian; and 2% Other. All groups, but the first, insist on having a hyphenated American description. To be completely honest, when I was a boy I did hear the terms Italian-American, Irish-American, German-American, etc., but not in the last few decades.
I understand that one population cohort feels they’ve been shut out of being nominated for two years running because (they say) of prejudice and/or cluelessness; the nominating committee consisting of a bunch of stodgy, old men. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but suppose it’s easy enough to find out. Assuming the assertion is true, those so-called oblivious dudes that administrate the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have recently kowtowed to the offended group by promising to add some members “of color” whatever that means. (Want to bet it will not include any Latins or Asians?) Oh, goody all will be well, right? This, in my opinion, invites more divisiveness and cynicism. You see, dear reader, what happens is when there are individual awards available, distrust (merited or not) abounds, and “quota” steps to the plate. What I’m saying is the whining will get worse, not better. That’s what happens with the give-an-inch-take-a-mile crowd, which includes most of us. It’s the human condition. Don’t take my word for it; watch and see. In fact, if you have any intellectual honesty you’ve recognized it before in many areas of society. (Even I used to pull it off with my parents during my tweener and teen years.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about fairness, and if that’s the beef I understand the point. But I’m also wondering if “merit” has nothing to do with the complaint; that is, does the “agenda” have something to do with lining the pockets of a few individuals. It usually does.
I’ve got a better idea. Why not do away with the Oscars, and all other subjectively judged awards? Movies, figure skating, gymnastics, diving, and their ilk are still entertaining and pleasing to watch. Is the world better because some individuals or groups receive awards based on subjective criteria, which is probably flawed? (Like the Oscars.) Recall the cheating French figure skating judge? Because of her bias a whole new system was implemented, but judges can still cheat. It was an illusion of improvement.
Oh, I forgot about the human condition. Some people like to maintain they are superior, and subjectivity also gives the masses something to grumble about. It also keeps media people employed especially those who like to think of themselves as celebrities. With that in mind, forget this whole essay. I’m pushing a rope on this one.
Your working boy,
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