Academy Awards in Retrospect

In honor of the Acadamy Awards, and in absense a conscious Muse, I'm going to reprint an old article on the topic. Enjoy!

Since I've been on my own, I've been happy enough to not have the temptation of cable, and consequently of flipping to the E! channel. When I do have access to it, however, I am somehow compelled to watch as who-knows-what-aged women with implants and hair extensions talk about who's hooking up with whom and who's shopping where (both on equal par). It is almost impossible to determine their ages, not only because of the complete facelifts and measurable thickness of make-up, but because the older they get, the more they speak with the crassness and immaturity of a very badly-behaved teenager.

Watching E! News Live, I feel like I am in highschool; they are the cool kids, the ones from the rich families, with the fancy scholarships, and with the best clothes in town . . . and we're the chess club, the ones with glasses, headgear, and matching sweatshirts. At least, that's what we're made to feel like. Our noses don't look like theirs; ours still have cartilage. That, in addition to the fact that we look, how should I put it, not like a silicon Barbie doll, puts us beneath their notice, and if we are graced with their notice, it is not for a flattering reason.

What a job these entertainment journalists have! They probably went to a top college, and had all sorts of fascinating opportunities for journalism, newscasting, etc. And what are they doing? Telling the world about where Paris Hilton was last seen, showing clips of actors and actresses running away from the camera, which actress was seen coming out of which actor's home in the wee hours of the morning, or what Lindsey Lohan is saying about her feelings on the Iraq war (what she doesn't realize is that one of the reasons the Muslims love us so much is because of people like her). What artistry to talk about who Biffy is boffing today, to quote the Gilmore Girls (I think I'll pretend I don't know what "boffing" means . . .). What a way to spend your God-given talent!

Is Hollywood really this idolized by the public? I know I could care less about what flavor lip gloss Jessica Simpson is wearing this Fall, but are there people who do care? If no one cares, why are these shows still on the air? It is a show about the personal lives of people I don't know, and probably never will know, and it gives us information that is incomplete and selectively politically correct when it is accurate at all. Why is Hollywood still appealing?

In the Golden Age of cinema, the actors and actresses, though not always perfect, maintained class. Even if their personal lives were falling to shambles, they at least made the effort to put up a front that demonstrated the importance of giving the example of maintaining dignity. For this reason, in part, Hollywood became our royalty. They had their faults (artists, after all, aren't exactly known for being the most emotionally well-adjusted), but one could still respect them.

George Clooney made an interesting statement at this past Academy Awards. He said that people say that Hollywood does not represent the rest of the country. He then referenced the Academy Awards of 1939 when the wonderful actress Hattie McDanial (in one of my personally favorite roles of all time) became the first African American to win the award for Gone With the Wind. He said that Hollywood did not represent the rest of the country then, and he was right. Her taking that award was truly a beautiful moment.

However, George Clooney is missing something. Yes, Hollywood once stood heroically against the evils of the world. But what Mr. (albeit very handsome) Clooney does not realize is that, if Hollywood does have the power to stand up against the world, it therefore has a greater responsibility to do so. Hollywood was admirable in 1939 in many ways; but it is not so now. In 1939 it still had the capacity to stand against the evils of the world because it upheld the belief that femininity, gentlemanliness, and ultimately dignity were essential to humanity (not to mention the fact that religion and morality were still considered respectable); it was this sense of human dignity that gave them the capacity to see the injustice of segregation. But where is the dignity now, in a culture that has no bounds, where exposure rather than talent is key to success, where few children born can say that their mother and father were married when they were conceived, or that their mother and father were ever married at all, where strength and bravery consist of how close to nakedness you can get on the red carpet without "technically" exposing yourself? Does not Mr. Clooney realize that the Hollywood now bears little resemblance to the Hollywood of 1939?I guess it just comes down to the fact that we should look to the Church for moral guidance and direction, the Church which has been solidly constant and consistent for 2000 years, and not to a culture of people who spend their lives pretending they are someone who they are not.

There is my rant for the week. Definitely a sign that I need to get out more. Ciao a tutti!