February 26, 2012

Oscar-Nobel-(Pulitzer-Cannes) same old same old

Stop me before I host again.
It's Oscar night.  How do I know that besides the Oscar pool at work that I assiduously avoided? It's all over the television. Other than the fact that the Oscars have turned from a celebration of excellence in film into a gaggle of Hollywood liberals congratulating themselves for finding new and inventive ways of trashing the United States I think the Oscars are great.  No.  That's not true.  The Oscars are the same as many other major award ceremonies. They are a platform for progressivists to propagandize their beliefs as if they were the norms of society yet bask in their own greatness and making touching films about these matters. In other words, they are self-important, self-indulgent, delusional pieces of fluff that liberals want to take oh-so-seriously. Kinda like the movies they trumpet.

The irritating thing is that people love movies and they love to see which ones are deemed the best and unfortunately they have to sit through hours ridiculous pomp (actors really are not that important) and be subjected to the propaganda in order to watch about 15 minutes worth of award announcements.  Typically these awards now go to movies that have a deeply liberal orientation and even the nominees that don't win most often fit into that category.

Remember the Nobel Prize going to Obama for his potential to do good?  Remember the Nobel prize going to Al Gore for his hyper-alarmist global warming junk science?  These awards all suffer from the same problem.  They have moved from their original intent of awarding excellence to the purpose of pushing a progressive message to as large an audience as possible.  It becomes a self-serving system.  In order to be considered for an award you have to conform to the message.  Those within the film, science or writing realms who seek recognition become beholden to the liberal message.  Perhaps many who did not start out believing it become intellectually co-opted simply by being in that particular industry. Or they started out with that intent and felt reinforced in their beliefs because of the cocoon of liberalism.  It doesn't matter as much as the possible influence the wield on the more susceptible viewers of the awards.

The irony is that influence is probably much smaller than both they and worried conservatives believe.  In a terrific piece by Colin Mason in 2006, Americans seem to be losing interest; even though the liberal elites of Hollywood keep pressing on;
These numbers show that America’s public is simply not interested in these films.

Why? Obviously, the final merit of a film is not equivalent to its profit at the box office, but these statistics raise red flags about a serious disconnect between the Hollywood intelligentsia and the average American. Why is the average American more interested in the exploits of a giant gorilla (King Kong) than in the love story of two gay cowboys (Brokeback Mountain)? Why do Americans care more about a conflicted man in a bat-suit (Batman Begins) than they do about the drama of a conflicted transsexual (Transamerica)? Why is it that Americans much prefer the saga of a boy wizard (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) to the homosexual angst of a conflicted media reporter (Capote)? And why don’t they even notice the celebrated all-star cast of Syriana, a politically enmeshed epic about oil workers in the Persian Gulf? The Academy offers no explanation. Interestingly enough, closer examination shows that the Academy does not even pretend to address the issue at all.

The truth of the matter is, the Oscars are no longer really about the movies. The Hollywood elite has long been known for its liberal views, especially on more “progressive” issues like homosexuality and euthanasia. As wonkette.com quips, “Politics is frequently derided as ‘show business for ugly people,’ but one can’t help noticing how obsessed the beautiful people can get about it. Washington may envy Los Angeles’s glamour; but L.A. craves D.C.’s respectability.”

This observation tells us a lot about where Hollywood’s heart rests. The industry’s top figures are no longer judging films by their artistic merit or even their enjoyablility. They are judging films based upon a political standard, an agenda of elitism and “progressive” values.
 While the Nobel prizes have copied the Hollywood model and started awarding prizes based politics being the prime requisite of merit, the Oscars have tried to remain relevant by diluting their own brand.  Instead of five nominees for Best Picture, there are now ten. Ten?  Are there ten good movies coming out every year?  Typically not.  

The standard liberal practice of lowering the bar rather than raising the bar is going to be their undoing in this case.  Sadly, lowering the bar for America - for example teaching ebonics, saying America isn't exceptional and that it should follow Europe's example rather than lead by it's own example - has more importance.  If the Oscars were to politicize and reduce themselves to irrelevance, most people won't be too bothered.  But if that continues to happen to America, not much else will matter.

END NOTE:  This post might sound a bit grumpy or bitter. It's not intended to be.  I like movies - good movies anyway, and there are plenty of them.  Many of them in fact, even have a message in them - a message to which most people can relate. I won't be watching the Oscars however, unless I accidentally mistake them for The Walking Dead.
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