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Topics/Questions/Exercises Of The Week—5 March 2010

There's Just No Avoiding The Oscars Anymore: Is there?

One supposes there might be, but it's difficult. So I might as well make an art project out of it. Allow me to present a piece in three photographs, entitled, Jon Voight Gets His Mind Blown On YouTube.

Nice, huh? The clip is embedding-resistant, but you can Watch The Whole Thing, as they say, here. They really don't make Oscar moments like that any more. (Nor do they make Oscar moments like this.) Voight's post-Olivier-speech freakout is made all the more poignant because Olivier's actual speech was rambling, diffuse, haltingly delivered—because, in short, Olivier SEEMED almost as stoned as Voight no doubt was. Does anybody go to the Oscars stoned anymore? They should.

In any event, Jon Voight remains your best entertainment value.

In other Oscar/Oscar coverage observation did you miss David Carr as the Carpetbagger? Apparently everybody else did, too, because throughout the Oscar season I didn't see one mention or link to the current Carpetbagger, Melena Ryzik, although Jeffrey Wells ran a picture of her once, as is his wont. And looking at the search function for his site, I see that he DID in fact cite Ryzik more than once...but not nearly as much as he used to bring up Carr. . Could it be I just wasn't paying attention? Or could it be that I just paid attention to Carr for the wrong reasons, e.g., I was waiting to see/hear when the poor guy's voice would finally blow out? Because Ryzik, at least as far as I can tell, has no similar delivery challenges. In any event, her almost last-stand is on its way, and in today's New York Times Weekend Arts section, she has a front-page piece, for her trouble, I suppose, in which she declares, "As the writer of The New York Times Carpetbagger blog, I've been cataloging the in-jokes and jibes, which have grown more byzantine with the red carpet slog extended Continued on Page 9" See how bad it is? I can't even be bothered to open the damn paper. Good thing there's the internet, which puts the whole thing on one page. So you only have to use the scroll bar to get to the part where Ryzik writes, "Oh wait: who cares?"

Armond White has the same question, or maybe the question is why do we care, or something. His New York Press consideration entitled "Wake Up And Smell The Oscars: They Stink," which title I think is something White stole from Lionel Trilling, is a bit of an A.W. Greatest Hits, in which he expresses his distaste for Bush-bashing on one hand, and contempt for "media capitalism" on the other. It's like reading Milton Friedman trying to rewrite Guy Debord, except, well, you know. I haven't even gotten to the part where he says that the reason Katherine Kathryn Bigelow doesn't "need" an Oscar is because Edgar Wright paid tribute to Bigelow's Point Blank Point Break in his inspired comedy Hot Fuzz. I'm Facebook friends with Wright, so maybe I ought to float White's notion to him. Then again, he might defriend me.

Even if White is right and the Oscars, and all forms of "entertainment journalism," are no more than a way to insure that "the public stays culturally illiterate, intellectually docile and aesthetically numb" at the hands of the "well heeled" member of the "craven, closed societies of media privilege," I for one am pretty sick of hearing about it from him. It reminds me of this song by The Fall, a band White probably doesn't like as much as he likes The Wedding Present.

Seriously, when's this guy gonna put his money where his mouth is and just show up at a New York Film Critic's Circle awards ceremony with an assault rifle? Because year in, year out, the, yep, repetition of the complaint and its specifics gets to be tedious. It's one thing to say "'No!' in thunder" (which phrase White rather amusingly believes originated with Leslie Fiedler—Fiedler cites it quoting Moby Dick Herman Melville) and entirely another to say "Am I bugging you? I'm not touching you am I bugging you?" over and over and over.

As for me, I'm just going to try to enjoy myself, have a couple laughs, that sort of thing. Because unless you're going to commit to world revolution, and I mean really commit, the Oscars ain't going any damn where.

P.S.: Sorry about the two three mistakes corrected above. Just as one should not go to bed angry, nor should one write angry. Or at least not the way I was angry while...well, you know.

Haha, thanks for this, Glenn.

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