Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Praying for Oscar's Death

As I clack out this article, the Writers Guild of America stands resolute in their strike against the motion picture and entertainment establishment, pacing the picket lines in their fight to achieve a greater financial stake in future payments for their efforts.

It's a good strike, having already cancelled more than a few events, crippling the 2008 Golden Globes Awards show and threatening the viability of this year's Academy Awards show.

Good for them. I hope they win. In fact, I hope they stay on strike forever.

I, for one, have had enough of our national obsession with celebrity and all the mental mind candy that rots the brains of Americans on a daily basis. Is it really important to devote air time to the physical and emotional collapse of Britney Spears? Do we really need to pre-empt regular programming to watch state troopers escort Paris Hilton to jail? And does George Clooney's selection -- yet again -- as Sexiest Man Alive really merit the front pages of our national magazines?

How many more dramatically-scored, thunderously-narrated television ads trumpeting the latest "tour de force" of some ridiculously bad re-make do we have to endure before the country wakes up and smells the coffee?

In the Age of the Soundbyte, truly important issues that affect the future of our world are sandwiched between airhead entertainment programs, stuffed into five-second statements that put the war in Iraq on equal footing with the latest box office earnings of whatever movie premiered this week. I mean, outside of a few hundred self-involved people in Hollywood, who really cares how much a movie grosses in its first week? I doubt that factory workers on the line in Akron, Ohio, spend their lunch break debating the marketing futures of movie studios. They're too busy devoting their time to real issues. Like putting food on the table, paying their medical bills and wondering if their sons and daughters are coming home safely from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maybe it's just the sadist in me, but I get a chuckle knowing that Hollywood celebrities are paralyzed without a staff of writers stuffing lines into their otherwise empty heads. To paraphrase Billy Wilder's script from Sunset Boulevard, "Movie audiences don't know about screenwriters. They think the actors just make the lines up as they go." Well, now they sure don't. Now they'll get to see just how dopey these talking heads are.

Or maybe they won't.

After all, they elected one as governor of California.


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