It's hard to miss that tonight is the Oscars. It's the movie industry's own very public popularity contest to crown its newest royalty. Only movie industry insiders get to vote of course. Why should anyone else care who wins a contest like this?
In a retail store do you pay any attention to who was chosen Employee of the Month? When you see a car with a bumper sticker announcing "My child was student of the month at Whatever School" do you honk and wave excitedly? Nope. These are insider contests which have nothing to do with you.
You, I'm pretty much certain, are not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nor do you know anyone who is. Do you really care what they think? Apparently many people do. Probably not my three readers, however.
This made-up awards event gets SO much press coverage. Why should that be? My theory is that Oscar season is really Payback season for American media. Motion picture advertising must be a large chunk of newspaper and television income. Running puff pieces designed to stir up interest in this "contest" is a small price to insure the studios keep buying those big double page ads. Hardly anyone else does lately.
Tens of millions of people tune in to watch the Oscars - to root for their favorite teams, er movies. Just like during the Superbowl viewer eyeballs are sold to companies with products to push. A 30 second spot on the Oscar telecast is selling for $1,500,000 this year. That's $50K per Second - enough to hire an out-of-work person for a full year.
All those television ads, all those extra movie tickets sold to the winning pictures, all that income generated - it's money in someones pocket. It would be futile to suggest that we simply quit doing it because the result is so hopelessly fake. There'd be nothing left of American culture if the fake stuff got removed from the media. Sitcoms? Wrestling? Cop shows? Roller Derby? Every other awards show? Beauty pageants? Political Conventions? Do we have a great country, or what?
I, however, would prefer not to watch or read about the Oscars. To that end I have this request: Can Capitalism provide me with an Oscar Filter? After all, I have a spam filter on my email and an ad blocker on my web browser. Why can't some clever person invent a circuit that causes interference on my television every time there is report from the red carpet. This ought to be easy in an era of digital television broadcasts. I'd be willing to pay. It would be more difficult to deliver my newspapers with all the Oscar articles clipped out already - or maybe just obliterated by more red ink. But if newspapers could develop the ability to individualize their news, they might just have a bit more of a future.
End of Rant
(Read my 2008 Oscar Rant: In Which the Ocker Goes To Me)
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