Our ambassador to the United Nations probably can’t be named and is hardly heard outside the bowels of the world’s ruling bureaucracies. Nor could you expect the fine folks on the streets of Moldova to know who the U.S. ambassador there is (it’s William H. Moser).
In contrast, the Oscars awards show Sunday night was allegedly seen by as many as a billion people.
Like it or not, this broadcast helps shape opinions about America all over the world in ways our State Department could only dream of.
Sadly, that’s become a bad thing.
Please help keep the Milky Way clean: Do not ever put an Oscars broadcast on a Voyager spacecraft for other worlds to see.
How could Hollywood not have seen this disaster coming? When King of Crude producer Seth MacFarlane was named the host last fall, we predicted: “Hollywood struck crude years ago. Now, it’s going for a real gusher. ... It’s hard to imagine MacFarlane will go over well with Oscars viewers.”
The answer is, they did see it coming. The show even opened with an interminable, self-absorbed comedy bit in which MacFarlane supposedly learns from a time traveler that he is destined to ruin the broadcast and be recognized in headlines as the worst Oscars host ever. He might’ve intended for that skit to immunize himself – but the headline only proved
prescient, as he went on to insult nearly everyone and fall flat doing it.
Not to leave them out, he did take the obligatory dig at Christian conservatives. Those who tuned him out at that point, or earlier, might have missed the hilarious jab (had there been one) at Muslim radicals, who actually are to be feared and loathed. But slamming God-fearing Christians (who pay the same as everyone else at the box office) is at once so much safer than taking on terrorists, and yet somehow passes for
comedic courage in some
circles. Well done, Seth!
Who wrote his material? A 15-year-old boy in the throes of puberty? The juvenile nature of MacFarlane’s whole approach – evident enough ahead of time on his Family Guy TV show – was epitomized by his inviting the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles onstage to sing a one-note song called We Saw Your Boobs to rib actresses by name.
Even a review at the liberal National Public Radio concluded that if you like jokes about women, “you probably had a substantially better night than the average viewer, who was subjected to Seth MacFarlane’s delivery of one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history. ... (H)is conviction that saying ‘boobs’ enough times would cause a room full of tuxes and gowns to quake with
hilarity seemed misplaced.”
There is an art to satire that this sad-sack emcee has no educated guess at. Comedian Billy Crystal stands alone among recent Oscar hosts in his ability to tease Hollywood and everyone else without being overtly distasteful or disrespectful – and while actually being funny. MacFarlane, by contrast, was just crude and offensive, such as when he joked about an actor having put a bullet in President Lincoln’s head. There’s a real knee-slapper!
The show ended, bizarrely, with MacFarlane’s ode mocking those who didn’t win an award.
The line between class and crass has never been wider.
What an unalloyed shame. This night used to be anticipated as an annual celebration of the transcendent art of movie-making. Hollywood is supposed to be a dream factory. Why does its awards show have to be such a nightmare?
And why pollute a billion lives thusly in the name of American culture?