Oscar Fever? Meh. 02/18/2011
It's only a week away. The excitement is in the air. Can you feel it? It's electric. The pageantry! The celebrity! The Oscars!
I hope you forgive me if you enjoy the Oscars, but I've got better things to do than watch famous millionaires get drunk and hand out awards to each other. If you could somehow calculate how much I care about the Oscars or other award shows, the final score would be somewhere down by my credit score.
Now don't get me wrong, I like movies, and there are certain actors who I appreciate, but my appreciation does not extend to caring about what they wear to an awards ceremony and listening to their theories on society and life. It is amazing that actors, who by definition make a living out of being told exactly where to stand and what to say are considered to be geniuses who know better than the rest of us on how to live our lives.
Of course we can always look forward to some brave actor who will accept his award and give some political speech about this or that. And by “brave” I mean standing up and saying something that everyone in the room agrees with. It's like calling a sports fan brave from wearing his teams colors to a home game. Now, if someone where to get up and give a speech about ticket prices, or how we need an infusion of new creative talent so we don't have to watch the third re-make based on an obscure 70's TV show that was on the air for only three episodes, I could get behind that.
But if you're gonna be brushing a wrinkle off your Armani suit because the attendant on your private jet packed it wrong and tell me with a straight face that I should be watching you in the dark because my light bulbs are killing the planet, I'll just move on. It is interesting how they never advise us to avoid television, energy hogging movie theaters, or DVDs that are made from petroleum products. Funny thing.
Or maybe, for once, I will take a famous person's advise. I'll conserve energy not by just turning off my light bulbs, but also my TV. I'll turn off all the lights, light a candle, and snuggle up with a nice (used) book to pass my evening.
Oh, it's on a Sunday? Nevermind, I'll be at work.
Jersey Shore and What's Right With America 02/09/2011
The Situation, Jwoww, Snooki...um, the other ones. If those words mean more to you than a noun and something a baby might say, you know that I am talking about the show that launched a thousand jeers and parodies: Jersey Shore. But instead of re-hashing why this alcohol and STD medication fueled orange mob spells the end of Western civilization, I will explain why our reaction to them just might spell out what is still right with us.
You see, when people want entertainment, they want to see something they don't every day. They want to see how other people live, act, and treat each other, people who aren't like them. Who is going to watch a show about a married father of two get up at six am to take an hour and a half commute through traffic to his job, work nine hours, then come home to dinner and fall asleep in front of the tv? No one, because that would be the lives of ninety percent of American men and women.
That so many people tune in or know of a show about a group of over sexed hormonal morons is actually heartening. Americans know that this is not typical behavior. They know that this is not how adults act. They know that this is wrong so they are mortified and mock it. It shows that we as a society still know what is decent and right and have a strong reaction to what isn't.
Are there going to be kids who see the Jersey Shore's kids' antics and try to emulate them? Sure, but lets face it, these kids weren't going to be curing any diseases anyway. They are just squirrels waiting for a car to sprint in front of.
Besides, we've always enjoyed the drunken sex romp stories, except until now they were confined to movies about college or high school. Now we just get to stay home and watch the real story of that one guy or girl we all know. The one that never grew up, still does beer bongs at college bars, brags about how totally smashed he got last night, and wonders why his career is going nowhere.
The show and the ridicule its stars garner might even change some lives. Maybe some floozy in training will realize one night after her seventh shot and before her second random hook up that she is being just a little too Jersey Shore, and decide that her next partner for the night should be a book.
Who knows? If there had been a reality show about a bunch of deadbeats that took out loans they knew full well they couldn't pay back and would simply walk away from, we might have a very different economy today.