The following is an approximation of my internal monolgue during the evening of Sunday, March 27, beginning around the time I arrived home from work.
Well, the Oscar ceremony is upon us once again, and even though I barely saw any movies this past year – did any of us? There’s still a PANDEMIC GOING ON – the yearly awards show does still offer the opportunity for cultural stocktaking that it did back in happier times. It’s also something I blog about every year, so even without having seen most of the films under consideration, it should still be worth watching the telecast –
(Am unable to get the ABC signal on my digital television, and am unable adjust the settings on my laptop to stream the show on YouTube)
The thing of it is, with the constant cascade of social media feeds, you don’t even have to watch the Oscars to know what’s going on. Likewise, you don’t necessarily have to have seen the movies to be aware of the cultural conversations surrounding them. As an example, consider the rivalry that’s emerged in the past weeks between CODA (which I haven’t seen yet) and The Power of the Dog (which I have). It’s another example of the dichotomy that always seems to emerge between a given year’s Oscar frontrunners, between the uplifting crowd-pleaser and the downbeat, edgy critic’s darling. This year, that rivalry finds itself complicated by –
(Begins seeing social media posts about a bizarre dance routine upstaging the In Memoriam presentation)
Hm – well, that’s the great paradox at the heart of the Oscars, of course. It’s tacky and ridiculous, and yet it’s the occasion for larger, occasionally lofty discussions about the State of Our Culture. And of course, a deadly self-importance is the danger of both of those extremes. It means that a delicate balancing act is required to –
(Will Smith punches Chris Rock.)
Um, okay, wow. That happened. As much as I want to offer up my ruminations about the Oscar telecast, some discourses are just too complicated and fraught to jump into thoughtlessly, too jarring to talk about –
(Everybody on social media starts taking sides on the whole Will Smith vs. Chris Rock altercation. Hot takes proliferate at an exponential rate.)
Okay, you know what? I’m done. That’s it. This is all the blog post you’re getting this week, Constant Reader. Things are getting too unhinged, too out of hand – and after watching all of this I’m just too darn TIRED – for me to come up with a thoughtful essay. And I get it. I really do. There’s a hell of a lot of things going on and most of them are distressing and we’re all on our last nerve and even the pretty celebrities are at each other’s throats as a result.
So everybody take a time out. I’m calling it a night. The more cerebral piece I had in mind about The Power of the Dog is going to wait at least a week, until we’re all in a better headspace to think about such things. Until then, Constant Reader, be careful out there.