My Take on the Oscars

What did I think of last night’s Oscar telecast? Worst I’ve ever seen. Boring, self-indulgent crap. Clear to me the film industry has lost its sense of self and its own history, lost connection to its audience.

Some lowlights:

1. The host: Is misogyny funny if it’s used ironically? Homophobia? Sexism? Seth McFarlane failed. Not #fail. Not #epicfail. Actually failed, and the academy failed by hiring him to do what he did; after all, his approach couldn’t have been a surprise.

Seth MacFarlane speaks onstage during the Oscars held at the Dolby theatre

2. Quentin Tarantino: A tiresome man who makes derivative movies mistaken by dullards for genius. I have given about 6 hours of my life to the viewing of Tarantino films, to my permanent loss. No more. Peace out, Quentin, you pompous ass.

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3. Musical tributes: Chicago was a poorly made movie released 10 years ago. It should be left to die. All due respect to Shirley Bassey, who is an absolute wonder, the songs are not the best thing about Bond movies. Barbra Streisand makes me gag.  Kristen Chenoweth doesn’t hold my interest. This idea for the show theme was borne of avarice and desperation.

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4. In memoriam: Some actual film giants died in the past year. Ernest Borgnine got about 2 seconds of screen time. Andy Griffith wasn’t shown at all. Why? To make time for world-class egotist Barbra Streisand singing Marvin Hamlisch’s drippiest all-time song. Gag.

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Overall impressions? Yeah, that’s right, Jennifer. You’ve got it right.

Flip off

Worth a Tear or Two

Do you know who this is? Her name was Marie Colvin. The eyepatch is no Halloween get-up; she lost the eye while covering a war. She was a journalist and she died this week trying to tell the world what’s happening right now in Syria.

She was a journalist, like Murrow, Cronkite, Sevareid, some others. She didn’t just go to government press briefings. She went out and got the story. Then she told it.

She was a journalist who put her life in peril to do her job the way it ought to be done, the way all serious journalists used to do it, the way some (very few) do it still. She thought the people of the world ought to know what’s happening. She believed, perhaps naively, that once knowing, we would care enough to do something.

These days, many of those appropriating the title “journalist” for themselves are either bald-assed propagandists…

trivia-seeking entertainers…

or do-nothing armchair pundits.

But that wasn’t Marie Colvin. She was a journalist. She died bringing us the story.

And her death, if not her story, might have gotten more attention but, hey, there are so many other things demanding our attention at this critical moment in history. For starters, it’s Oscar week and there are red-carpet looks to be presented and discussed.

Pitchers and catchers reported to Major League Baseball’s Spring Training.

And a newly adopted cat saved its new owner’s life.

No time now for serious stories about death and revolution.

But sometime down the road, if we’re at war with, say, Iran and the men and women in our armed forces are dying, don’t you dare bitch that the government lied to you, or that some conspiracy withheld information, or that you weren’t told. You were told, alright. You just couldn’t be bothered to pay attention – even when the person telling you died to bring you the story.

Reality Check

Athens is ablaze.

Many Greeks are consumed with anger over the terms necessary to avail themselves of the financial bailout offered by the deities of the European community and have taken to the streets in protest. The changes, protesters claim,  amount to a significant and unacceptable change in Greek life, in Greek society, in what it means at its core to be Greek.

This is a precarious moment. Failure of the Greek government to deliver on these terms (and get the bailout funds) would result in serious consequences for Greece, and for the rest of Europe. Together with other developments, it may signal the end of European financial union – no more single currency, open trading relationships, free flow of people across historic national boundaries.

Care to watch a complete meltdown of the European community economy? Care to consider for just a moment what that might mean to the rest of the world? War? Complete world economic collapse?

The scale of this issue is, I realize, hard to fathom, even, perhaps, harder to take. So, I understand my fellow Americans wanting ready distraction – professional golf, the “tragic” death of a pop music princess, Oscars, baseball’s spring training, March Madness, etc.

All well and good; I enjoy diversions too. But our media is splashed with every angle possible on Whitney Houston, God rest her soul, and not a sentence for events that could shape our world for the rest of our lifetimes.

Time for a good strong dose of reality.