… and with the loudest of these clips and blips being “Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock” etc.
From my POV—as a person who didn’t know that The Oscars was even happening this weekend until I read some article about Rachel Zegler and then wrote about it (“On The Ignorance of Rachel Zegler: or more precisely ‘How Your TEAM Can Make or Break You’”) but didn’t post it, because The Oscars is not something about which I would like to spend my time thinking or writing, and who didn’t watch The Show, because, why would I?, but whatever, here we are now—the Internet has forced me to become not only aware of The Show but also, aware of its contents. Sure, of course, I could totally abandon the Internet and cancel that shit, but that’s nearly impossible these days, as someone who wants to be a contributing member of society. My point is simply that I don’t care for The Oscars, never really have ever since leaving my childhood home wherein I was forced to care because it was an Event for my white adopted mother. And I feel like my stance was basically proven with this latest installment.
Amy Schumer drags Kirsten Dunst from her seat and calls her a “seat filler.” Dunst’s husband remains seated. Dunst has a lifelong career as a leading woman, Plemmons a fraction of the time as a leading man. They both receive their first Oscar nominations in the same year, for supporting roles. As a white woman, Schumer decides to drag Dunst, a fellow female. A better joke? Calling Plemmons the “seat filler,” and gushing over Dunst finally, finally, receiving her Oscar nod.
Chris Rock takes his moment to make the life of an already-struggling black woman more miserable. The husband of the black woman defends her. The white public calls the husband a disgrace and blames him for ruining The Oscars. A better joke? Will and Jada walk up to Chris Rock together, Jada slaps the shit out of Rock, and Will and Jada, together, walk off stage and leave. Smith tells the Academy to go fuck themselves when he wins.
And so, I have two main points (I think): One not in favor of and one in favor of The Oscars (I think).
The first is that people blame individuals for making The Show terrible—bad behavior, bad jokes, tasteless humor, etc. The Truth is that The Show is terrible. Duh. If time after time, year after year, the jokes are bad, the whole point is stupid and celebrities “misbehave,” then they are not the problem, The Oscars is. Duh. When you round up the world’s top narcissists, shit’s gonna go down. When that same world rewards these celebrities with money and fame, a Show in celebration of all they’ve accomplished looks, tawdry, at best, absolutely elitist, at worst. And so, The Show cannot spend time uplifting all of these already uplifted people.
But what do we do when we learn of the toil and true sacrifice of fame, fortune and for the lucky few, celebrity? When the world bashes and trashes these same celebrities, non-stop, do they not deserve one night to celebrate themselves, unabashedly?
And so, secondly, The Oscars has the ability to remain as a bombastic institution that celebrates celebrity. Why not? We don’t have to watch as mere plebs. We don’t have to tune into the goings on of the wealthy, the fabulous, the famous. Why do we care so much? They don’t care about us. And fewer and fewer of them are of us. The capital city of nepotism is Hollywood. And so, the time of the lucky ticket holder is coming to an end, because celebrity comes at such a great cost that for a mere pleb to stand the test of time once thrust into fame is increasingly becoming impossible to withstand, which is why, of course, being raised within the machine sets you up for success, through the copious amounts of support you receive, the type of support by which the majority working-class (i.e. poor, yes you’re poor if you show up at some job every day and then receive a paycheck at the end of every pay period) are exploited.
My point is that The Oscars is and are so totally irrelevant to the every-person. This is something that the youngest adults in our population have already understood. The role of celebrity, in my mind, serves as a collective consciousness, a gossip tree that we can all see and understand and mock and love and obsess over and completely hate. When you break into that realm of global gossip, you pay the price with your privacy. Some celebrities have figured this out and have made strides to mitigate that sacrifice, starting with their children. Other celebrities have capitalized on the spotlight, be it good or bad (a distinction I also find irrelevant), starting with their children. Thus, since we, as mere powerless plebs (a lie! We hold all of the power, as consumers of their products, duh, and as a whole, women, you women of the world do not take your consumer power for granted) hold the power of gossip over these fancy famous people all year long, why not we give them one day, one big event where they can blast their egos into the stratosphere and just be gaudy, terrible, entitled rich people? Why not?
Cause the changing culture means that we all understand the rigor of celebrity. Not all people want to become famous, but they do because we, as a society, cannot resist good gossip (and NO, this is not a feminine quality, fuck you, cause have you ever watched two straight white men talk about football? Men who love sports are participating in gossip, plain and simple). And it is the goal, after all, to become well-known enough to be paid the big bucks. Big bucks are waiting for anyone with enough exposure to sell a product en masse. This is why we should just maybe let celebrities do whatever the fuck they want during this egomaniacal circle-jerk season, and we should stop giving a fuck about them, generally speaking.