But then the Oscar's happen. And I get that creeping realization that I get whenever I lift my head out of this societal foxhole to take a look around for signs that our culture is, even in the slightest way, recovering.
Alas, Sunday evening's presentation of the Academy Awards was just another example of how narcissistic and fame-obsessed our society has become.
Now let me be clear, I like movies (good ones, anyway). I think there's a lot of good art produced in this format. Of course there's also a lot of dreck. The 80/20 rule applies here as with everything else.
But I've never been able to watched the Academy Awards show. I've watched moments before. Even last night I caught about 5 minutes before I wanted to choke myself. But frankly I consider the Oscar's a kind of masturbation, where insecure attention seeking "celebrities" metaphorically jerk off their peers in an attempt to convince themselves that they are more important than they actually are.
From what I can recall seeing on the DVR's channel directory, Oscar programming for the event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until 10:30. Organizers expanded the number of entries for "Best Picture" and increased the celebrity fawning by an order of magnitude (which I didn't think was possible).
The Daily News kind of sees it the same way
Instead of focusing on the awards podium, where individuals are rewarded for achievement, an increased portion of the television evening focused on the literal and figurative red carpet, where everyone is rewarded for being famous.And why? Why is it so important for Americans to get such a high dose of celebrity worship? Nobel Prizes in physics or medicine are lucky to get a paragraph above the fold in a single news cycle. Where are the accolades for people working to cure cancer, or feed hungry people, or develop clean abundant energy, or create and antiperspirant that works passed noon?
We spend hours celebrating people who spend half a billion dollars on a glorified Smurf cartoon and then get pissed because they didn't win a little gold-plated statue. We stare in amazement at actresses who are so together they they are able to walk along a red carpet without falling over.
Sometimes, during fits of misanthropic paranoia, I wonder if this kind of meaningless, mind draining celebrity worship is just a way to keep the culture dependent -- a mass opiate that keeps us calm and entertained while billionaire bankers and insurance companies decide how politicians are going to divvy up the country.
The best case scenario, as I see it, is that this exponentially increasing celebrity worship is part of the same phenomenon that has made Las Vegas such a big disaster waiting to happen. And you don't have to be a rocket surgeon to realize what the problem is.
Our national priorities are seriously out of whack.
tagged: Academy Awards, Oscars, Hollywood, movies, culture, pop culture