The Oscars

Did you ever find yourself in a situation in which you agreed with something someone was saying but were utterly disgusted by the manner in which they said it?

It happens. (In fact, you may very well end up thinking exactly that about this very piece.) Take, for example, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. When she’s addressing a new story she can be very good. But on a slow news day, when she decides she’d like to use her hour of air time to reinforce a point she’s already made, she can be seriously obnoxious as she offers her sermon from the mount. You sit there watching her, agreeing with everything she’s saying, but you’re so completely repulsed by the manner in which she’s saying it that you find yourself either talking back to the television, criticizing what she’s saying – surely you don’t have a problem envisioning The Curmudgeon doing this – or you just turn her off and walk away even though she’s saying something with which you absolutely, positively agree.

Or sometimes you turn to poor Mrs. Curmudgeon and ask “What’s the difference between her and Sean Hannity except that you agree with what she’s saying and disagree with him?” because the way they go about making their points is pretty similar and pretty obnoxious.

That’s how The Curmudgeon found himself feeling on Sunday night when he made the mistake of tuning in the Academy Awards broadcast. He agrees 100 percent with the points the participants were making about inclusion and diversity and respect and opportunity but was furious that they collectively decided that they needed to shove it up his ass, again and again and again and again, for the two-plus hours he watched before he couldn’t stand it anymore and walked away from the television.

These people think of themselves as artists and communicators but their collective ignorance about how to communicate with weapons other than bricks over heads puts them pretty much on the same level as the people whose actions led to their outrage and as the man who today is the leader of the free world and whose communication style is no different. The moment called for a Cronkite approach, an Edward R. Murrow approach, a Bill Moyers approach, but what we got instead was Moe pounding on Curly and Shemp. To The Curmudgeon they were collectively a bunch of self-important, self-indulgent, rich fools who should stick to acting and directing and designing costumes and applying make-up and adjusting lights and making animated shorts that nobody has ever even heard of until they figure out a way to communicate that isn’t so utterly disrespectful of the people with whom they’re attempting to communicate.

A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black

One last point: do you recall Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel’s first major national television exposure? He was co-host of a Comedy Central program called The Man Show that consisted of thirty minutes of nothing but belittling and objectifying women who were pretty much Stormy Daniels without the résumé. Making Kimmel the face of this particular Oscar broadcast was especially appalling. The unwillingness of any of the participants to speak of this, let alone call him on it, was no less appalling, and even worse was his accountability-free joining the chorus of those castigating Hollywood for the very kind of behavior that launched his own career without even a fleeting, self-effacing, apologetic acknowledgment of his own past.


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