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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oscar’s Worst Nightmare: You and Me

In explaining why Michael Jackson was included in the Academy Awards' In Memoriam segment, executive director Bruce Davis offered this to the Associated Press: "Think of all the blogging we would have gotten if we had left him out!" Think of all the blogging he’ll get now that he uses us as an excuse to include MJ, but not Farrah Fawcett. Doesn’t he imagine that somewhere out in the blogosphere there are Farrah Fawcett fans clicking away at her exclusion?

I’m a fan of admitting your mistakes—if you must—and letting history be history. If, in response to the Farrah faux pas, Davis had said, “Oops!,” or “Sorry! My bad!,” I would have accepted it and said, “That’s Hollywood for you.” I was surprised that Fawcett was not included in the tribute, but amazed that Jackson was. Davis justifies the Farrah decision by reminding us that she was best known for her “remarkable television work,” while including Jackson because This Is It was released posthumously. What, no mention of The Wiz? I realize I’m an ignoramus, but isn’t Jackson best known for his remarkable musical work? Should Davis do his homework, he would find that Fawcett appeared in a number of theatrical releases, a larger number than Jackson has to his credit.

I like the idea of the Academy Awards on television, but I haven’t watched in years. Oscar night’s mystique is nullified by its reality. The glitz and glamour are always surpassed by the boredom and stupidity. The only thing that interests me in the least is the clothing worn by the stars on the red carpet. That I can catch in People and on internet gossip sites (well, I can catch the best and the worst…what else matters?). When I was sophisticated enough to discriminate between flash and content (I guess I was about four), I lost interest in the Academy Awards. In trying to give all audience members what they may want, the annual show generally turns out to be insulting to most of us.

When someone thinks so little of us that he believes we won’t realize he’s insulting us, we get annoyed. Bruce Davis is annoying. Exceptionally. When he suggests that Fawcett should be memorialized in the Emmy Awards show, he suggests that we would not recall actors memorialized in both. Or that MJ was memorialized at the Grammys. With his remarks about the many wonderful writers who passed in 2009 and the shortage of time to remember everyone, he suggests we won’t recall sitting through excruciatingly long Oscar presentations thinking, “Ya’ know, I gotta get up in the morning! Will this never end?”

Perhaps I am not in a position to give vocabulary lessons (I wasn’t an English major), but I suggest that Davis cut down on his verbiage and try these simple phrases: “mea culpa,” “we made a mistake,” “we’re sorry for our error.” Then maybe his worst fears would not be realized.

To offer proof that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, Mr. Davis, you have ignited the bloggers you seem so determined to appease. Let the blogging begin!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Never Defend!

If people see you sweat, they know you’re working hard; if people see you cry, they know you’re sensitive. But when people hear you “defend” yourself, they think you are whiny and defensive. My Us Weekly e-mail alert this morning shouts, “Charlize Theron Defends Her Oscar Dress.” The article describes the dress, “amethyst and lilac bustier gown with rose and draped detail” which was “created specially for her by John Galliano for Dior.” There is commentary from various critics including the illustrious fashion rag, The Star Ledger, the voice of glamorous fashion capital Newark, New Jersey. Believe me if your look doesn’t fly in Newark, it doesn’t have wings.

As a semi-prolific blogger, I, too, have dealt with negative criticism. To my sister-under-the-skin Charlize, I say “Don’t defend yourself!” Or your designer and stylist. Or your dress. I am a “dumb ass” who is “detestable,” “confused,” and “don’t know what [I’m] talking about.” I’ve had a critic begin “I completely disagree with your story…” regarding a mixed review—did he disagree with thegood things I said about his favorite performer as well as the negative? (Apparently he did. He “completely” disagreed with the “story,” both fact and opinion.) That’s okay, I’ve even been accused of encouraging hateful, bigoted behavior; I think that’s worse than being a dumb ass.

Whenever someone attacks me personally (in print), I have a very clever response. I not only cast aspersions on my attacker’s intellect, but I also showcase gaping holes in the (lack of) logic presented. However, I don’t comment. No matter how clever my rejoinder may be, I know that to many people it will appear I am being defensive. I’ve been a parent for a long time, I’m accustomed to having my ideas questioned and criticized. Civilized people, though, attack (through disagreement) ideas, not the people who have them. I try to respond to those who want clarification or who have honestly misunderstood a point. When it comes to character assassination, I take the high road (no, I don’t mean I get on a roof with my pink AK-47). There’s an upside to being hated—my detractors invariably get others to read me.

Charlize Theron, in her controversial dress, knows what every celebrity knows, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” to which Brendan Behan added “except your own obituary.” After all, Charlize is in a much better position than the stars that wore “okay” or “ho-hum” dresses; she’s the topic of conversation. Let’s face it, if you need publicity (and celebrities do), then the abominable, horrendous and vile dress is always a better choice than the safe, boring dress. You won’t get your picture in People or Entertainment Weekly unless you’re wearing the best or the worst.

As for Theron’s dress… it’s sort of a nightmare in purple with a train and hats for the twins. Just kidding (except about the hats for the twins). The dress is weird; if there were three roses, though, few would have commented. (Personally, I dislike everything in the lilac/lavender/purple family and she could sport a copy of my wedding dress in amethyst and lilac and I’d hate it.) Another thing about that particular dress, Theron looks magnificent wearing it. What more do we demand?

Charlize did a magnificent job of “defending,” I must admit. According to when “asked on the red carpet about her gown, she [said] ‘I just loved this dress.’” Really, You got a whole story out ofthat? I wish I had your editors.