Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar Obsession

Approximately one billion people watched the Oscars last Sunday. I was not among them. (This is practically a sin when you live in Los Angeles and purport to be part of the entertainment industry.) Instead, I spent the night working on my computer and whenever I would find myself online, I would see a new Oscar headline. By the end of the night, I noticed the following headlines listed on Yahoo news:

*Scorsese finally basks in Oscar triumph
*Iraqi vice president escapes bomb blast
*Snow knocks out power, cancels flights
*Court: Serbia failed to prevent genocide
*Bush to warn Pakistan on combating militants

Let's see, we have genocide, an assassination attempt, people trapped in snow without power, and, oh yes, Scorsese finally wins an Oscar.

I have nothing against Scorsese, but I have everything against this horrible celebrity-obsessed culture that we're not only living in, but are exporting throughout the world.

All night long, the only changing headline was the constant Oscar update. And, of course, it always received top billing.

Are the Oscars entertaining? Rarely. Occasionally there may be an interesting or emotional moment or two, but are those moments worth slogging through three to four hours of bland television for? No. If the Oscars were a television series, it would have been canceled by now. The only thing that keeps it going -- its celebrity. Where else can you find Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Beyonce, Will Ferrell, and Helen Mirren in the same room at the same time?

I'll admit I've never been a big fan of the Academy Awards. I don't think I ever watched the whole epic fiasco until I moved to L.A. At least going to Oscar parties reduced the pain of the typically four-hour marathon. There you can usually find other equally bored people to talk to. But I can no longer feign any interest in that either. Quite frankly, I would rather be boiling my own legs and then eating them in a stew than sit through another Oscar broadcast.

I should probably be thankful that the Oscars managed to finally knock Anna Nicole Smith from the news. I don't know how much more courtroom controversy I could have taken. Or the unending saga of Britney Spears going in and out of rehab, shaving her hair, and acting like white trash. I'm sorry, she isn't acting like white trash; she is white trash. My mistake.

Ultimately, I know I'm complaining. But it bothers me that these news stories are so incredibly pervasive that I can't, despite all my best efforts, avoid them!

I think I'm also stymied because, and you may not have noticed this lately, the United States is at war -- on two fronts no less -- and you'd hardly notice because of our celebrity-obsessed headlines.

I realize we have always had entertainment during times of war, but it constantly amazes me how deeply the news of Iraq and Afghanistan is buried in the media. How many people are even aware that "coalition forces" (a completely politicized term to begin with) are shrinking?

Last week Britain announced the reduction of their forces by one third. Denmark is removing its 460 troops by August. Even Lithuania is considering removing its 53 troops. Really? Lithuania can't even commit the equivalent of a Boy Scout Troop?

The coalition is quickly becoming a coalition of one!

So who will be left? Americans. And what are we doing? We're watching the Oscars.

Of course, without war, we wouldn't have anything to make movies about. Right now, most of liberal Hollywood is against the war, but in five years they'll be making movies glorifying it. And they will win Oscars.

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