March 9, 2005
Host's language takes from Oscars' grandeur
Do you think that the host of the 2005 Academy Awards,
Chris Rock, was tasteless with his opening remarks? His
response to receiving a standing ovation from adoring
fans, who happened to be stars in the entertainment industry,
was to use a crude phrase of "set your (@#*) down!" Has
society deteriorated that much?
Yes to both of your questions.
The Oscars were once an elegant event celebrating the
creativity and celebrity of Hollywood. The "olden
days" of even the pretense of sophistication have
been displaced by classless crudity more reminiscent
of choreographed characters from the world of wrestling.
The Oscar's traditional red carpet for "bigger-than-life" superstars
has become a media feedlot for gossip and bickering.
If that is what it takes for Hollywood's most important
celebration to garner ratings, then peddle that program
in someone else's home next year. We will be playing
dominoes that evening.
Now, let's talk about integrity by answering a few
important questions that address your concerns about
tastelessness and cultural deterioration.
1. If you choose to get upset with Mr. Rock because
he used crude language, then you might want to figure
out who made him a star commanding big bucks and the
Oscar podium. He has responded to what his marketplace
demands. How else would he be able to sell tickets to
his brand of entertainment?
2. What causes millions of people to stay tuned to
the Oscars when it's being hosted unprofessionally? Not
too many years ago, adoring movie fans expected hosts
to be clever, behaving in good taste. Language was appropriate
for all age groups. Marginal and crude behavior had no
place. Foul language and gross sexual innuendo were taboo.
What has happened? Did the Hollywood moguls, or at least
those who wrote and approved this year's program, offer
the television audience anything not already welcomed
by their ticket-buying fans?
3. Isn't it time to ask how far we are willing to allow
behaviors to go until mature adults say "enough?"
is unnecessary when individuals and groups behave responsibly.
Taped broadcast delays are not required when self-control
is being exercised. Graciousness and judgment are needed,
Hollywood is the home of dream makers, and the Oscars remains
its fairytale event. The time has come to ask of Hollywood's
tremendous talent, for a few additional hours, only once
a year, to "remain in character" so that we might
enjoy suspending our disbelief and bask in the magic that
is the movies.