The holidays have faded into fragmented memories, like those Christmas tree needles that continually pop up in the car, even after we vacuum.
The Super Bowl will soon be over, just in time for the harshest weeks of winter. Suddenly, there’s a media void in which we all suffer a period of marquis event withdrawal. The desperate craving for exorbitantly budgeted, excruciatingly dissected, overly dramatized, high profile television events permeates our society.
Thankfully, our stimulation bereft psyches will still have glittery fodder to fill the emptiness that can only be satiated by carefully choreographed climaxes and good ole American sensationalism. I’m talking of course about the parade of entertainment award shows that will soon captivate our televised spectacle hungry sensibilities.
All I can say is, what a great planet! Where else in the universe can families sit and watch four hour marathons of obscenely over paid celebrities congratulating themselves for their attempts to earn our disposable incomes, each one proudly stepping up to the podium adorned in attire that is worth more than most of our cars?
I’m sure this fascination with all things celebrity must be a primal urge that dates back to our earliest attempts at civilization. Thousands of years ago, there were probably organized awards ceremonies for categories like “Best Animal Killer.” The most handsome members of the community—those with round heads, two eyebrows and all their teeth—lined up outside the “Awards Cave.” Village messengers fawned over them with questions like, “Is that saber tooth you’re wearing?”
This year’s hoopla has already launched with the People’s Choice Awards. To me, allowing the general public to make decisions on award presentations is like leaving patients in charge of the hospital pharmacy. They don’t know exactly what the different drugs do, but they know they’ve heard of them and their friends all like them. I don’t know who votes for the People’s Choice Awards, but I can almost assure you that it’s not captains of industry, pioneers of science, or leaders on the world stage that fill out those ballots.
I saw the lead up to the People’s Choice Awards. It’s my favorite part of any of those pretentious procedures. The scrum of paparazzi crowds the walkway to the entrance. Entertainment reporters push each other out of the way to gush questions like, “Who are you wearing?” These irrepressibly infantile inquiries are repeated every six inches down the red carpet, only to be followed by weeks of panel discussions and expert evaluations as to who indeed was the best dressed.
I can picture some guy from Detroit, who’s been laid off from his job pounding dents out of car fenders. His wife makes him sit through these telecasts. He knows most of the people he’s watching spent more on dinner than his mortgage payment.
This guy must fantasize about running up on the red carpet, grabbing the microphone from one of the doe eyed talking heads and shouting at the camera, “How come when I take my kids to a movie, I gotta pay five bucks for a box of chocolate covered peanuts? You think that’s fair, five bucks for a box of f***in’ Goobers? You know how much they cost at Walmart? I can buy a bushel barrel for five bucks.”
We gladly hand over that money because the movie industry perennially captures our imaginations, and the Academy Awards are on top of the media magnet heap. Their mere existence erodes the thunder of other awards to tiny whimpers of second class ceremonies. Oscar winners are announced as headlines, even on local newscasts. The results of lesser award shows appear as footnotes on the tickers at the bottom of news channel screens.
Take the poor Tony Awards. Probably about fifty percent of the television viewing public has ever been to a theatre production before. All they know is their friends told them that no one’s even allowed to talk or rattle candy wrappers in those live theatres!
The Tony Awards are like the quiet artistic cousin of the Oscar family. You know, the one that plays dress up in his mom’s high heels and hats, pretending he’s taking his sister’s Barbies out for tea and shopping for antiques?
They don’t even televise the Tony’s during conventional awards season. CBS puts them on June 12, when no one is watching television because it’s summer. Given the choice of watching an infinite filibuster of acceptance speeches or going outdoors and soaking up some summertime ambience … hmm. Like I said, poor Tony Awards.
The Golden Globes are scheduled for January 16. Most people don’t have a clue what the Golden Globes even are. However, apparently they’re important to those who win them, as well as the high profile huggers and famous fanny patters in the audience.
For me, the problem with the Golden Globes is that they’re televised right after the NFL Divisional Playoff games. By the time they come one, I will be much too emotionally drained to really take the suspense and drama of hearing the winner of “Best Makeup” very seriously.
The Grammy Awards are February 13, a chance for all of us to bask in the brilliance of Lady Gaga and Kanye West, while watching Justin Bieber receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
If not for the musical performances, the Grammys would be like all the other four hour spectacles featuring overly blinged celebrities sending “shout outs” to their “peeps.” However, there are occasional wardrobe malfunctions, with all the dancing going on. Those can be fun if the guy running the delay in master control doesn’t catch them in time. Plus, there’s always a chance of inappropriate profanity laced diatribes from musicians so intoxicated with their own egos that they don’t realize that they’re on tape delay. Thanks a lot Janet Jackson.
Summarily, none of these gatherings will achieve the viewership or public awareness of The Academy Awards on February 27. You got to hand it to Hollywood. The greatest public relations machine in the history of humankind has captured our imagination to such an extent that even the institution of Hollywood itself titillates and intrigues us. It’s like an exclusive fraternity that only good looking, rich, cool kids get to join. For one night, we’re allowed to peek in for several painstaking hours, as our matinee idols prattle on about how wonderful and special it is to work with each other.I say let the movie stars enjoy their annual displays of pompous opulence, meaningless melodrama and self centered aggrandizement. Like professional athletes, they’re only around for a short time. Cosmetic surgery and Botox will someday rob their faces of the ability to express emotions anymore. After that, their careers could be sadly over … unless they can get a reality series. Then, they can attend the Emmy Awards.