The Gods must be ruefully smiling as America goes through the commotion of applauding its entertainment industry whilst most of the country watches on bewildered, disoriented and impoverished. At best it’s an orchestrated circus show full of big name attractions with cute fuzzy animals and some leg to go (bless your soul Angelina) and at its worst it’s a dizzy carousel full of the same pony tricks designed to lull us into some bygone splendor of achievement that in actuality doesn’t really belong to us but those individuals grossing in their multi million bucks.
To be blunt and vulgar
and if pushed off one’s cherished chair off the carousel, the Oscars have in essence become nothing but a cleverly fabricated side show of distraction and hollow moral imperative whilst in the real world the fantasy that we think we are living or will soon one day as well live is anything but…Then again at least we can always say we keep ourselves occupied and rushing for the next bit of gossip (yes it’s true Dina Lohan became my facebook friend today) the way a drug fiend religiously reaches for his crack pipe/syringe/prescription fill, etc.
In order to perhaps understand the absurdity of what the Oscars have morphed into, (a spineless rehashing of malleable movie scripts which have been regurgitated over and over for the benefit of patronizing our collective moral universe that right always rights wrong and that in all of us there’s an infallible hero climbing up the food chain, but what do I know…I’m just an underpaid tabloid hack) one perhaps ought to take note of Meryl Streep’s career as a kind of absurd benchmark for how the actress has been received by Hollywood and how conversely the country has stumbled into a stark wasteland during Ms Streep’s meteoric rise during the 30 plus years she has been riding on and off the Hollywood merry go round.
When the actress, who arguably is one of the most talented actors on the horizon (but that hardly is what the focus of this article is about) first won her first Oscar for supporting best actress award in 1979 for her role in Kramer vs Kramer, the country was heading into it’s first recession of the new approaching decade, saddled by high oil prices, the beginning of the Iran-US hostage crises, social discontent, the shadow of the evil Kremlin (now its Al Qaeda of course, whom we used to fund in the 80’s) the busting of trade unions, collective bargaining and the beginning of what would soon be the biggest class divide between the haves and the have nots as witnessed by the stark financial remuneration offered to those in the professional classes and those working outside those classes, that is the blue collar workers. Back then a CEO earned 42-1 in relation to his file and rank. Today according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics it’s at a ratio of 300-1. Which is another way of saying good work if you can get it.
By 1982 when the country was fully in disarray (at least one could say back then Hollywood was entertaining us with a plethora of provocative movies) Ms Streep won her second Oscar for best actress for her role in Sophie’s Choice it seemed that the Oscars despite the nation’s woes at least offered us some redemptive value by exploring themes that were gritty and very real to most people’s hearts.
By the time we had reached the 2000’s, leap frogged the froth of bubble gum TV, the rise of the super model, the fatigue of Black October Thursday of 1987, America beating the crap out of Iraq in 1991 and the visage of Duran Duran strumming it up on all night MTV during the 90’s we were by now finally ready for our share of the spoils. Yet this too became an arduous exercise as we all bet heavily in all becoming dot com billionaires, until the market did us a disservice and corrected our illusions in the dot boom bust of 2002/3.
Never mind, by now our boy Alan Greenspan at the privately held Federal Reserve Bank, was flooding us with cheap capital, reigniting our collective wet dream to all try and get rich one more time, which some of us actually managed to do. After all if Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Goldman Sachs, TMZ, Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters could do it- so could the rest of the country. So went the logic anyway as the nation took a collective drag off the good shit conveniently offered the moment one turned on their TV.
Instead today, 4 years after the mortgage bank crises has seen a capitulation of the economic terrain and the onset of globalization and the exporting of wages and industries overseas, a terrorist attack 11 years ago that has been the proxy to increasing limitations on our liberties by those entrenched in power, the average American has to be wondering what the heck we are celebrating? The bitter truth is save for those hobnobbing in private vistas in Hollywood and other similar aligned power axis, life has become increasingly miserable, economically tenuous, saddled by the lingering smell of a revolving credit card debt we simply have no idea of how to ever pay back. But then again nothing adds more backbone than a Masters graduate working as a telemarketer or cater waiter. At least that would make an interesting movie to showcase in Hollywood next year…but you might have to be up at 4am to catch it, unless of course you happen to be living it 24/7.
And as another Oscar party has come and gone, with the charade of Hollywood big names dancing their jig courtesy of the studio heads who have profited quite handsomely giving them starring roles and fronting them guest spots on all the talk shows they run and own, the question must be put, what are we actually witnessing and why the incessant ploy in pretending that Hollywood’s victories are ours as well?
Perhaps in a final note, it should be fitting to point out the irony of Ms Streep in winning her latest Oscar for her portrayal of Lady Thatcher, who in actuality happened to be one of the toughest and most staunchest conservative British prime ministers to date who helped instigate the plundering of that nation’s poorer dominions by its elite. Really how fitting that the Oscars are congratulating Meryl Streep for playing a role that in actuality has only bastardized most people’s hopes and economic prowess.
Yet when all is said and done, despite the reverence most of us have for fine actors, Ms Streep and her elk (sorry Angie) to be blunt are despite what most tabloid headlines would like you to believe just puppets in the grand scheme in things, performing for the inside power elite that for the most part controls their larger than real life roles. Although to be fair there are the occasional entertainers that go against the grain, like Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda and even George Clooney that from time to time take advantage of their access and fan base to steer attention to some important themes
before quickly reverting back to their million dollar vista existences.
Sadly the truth of the matter is, the closest any of us will ever come to an Oscars or an Oscar party is us trodding off down the street and coughing up the price of a movie ticket (to the delight of studio heads) or popping off another bottle of champagne in our cater waiter uniform. But then again Hollywood is full of actors who used to be part of the subservient class until they caught their break, cause that’s the beauty of living in America, eventually you can catch a break here. Or can you?
If only life could all reward us all the occasional Oscar, even just one, let alone three….