It’s not funny

Posted Mar 4 2013, 2:00 am in , , , , ,

In this year’s Oscar telecast, host Seth MacFarlane started off strong, bantering with “Captain Kirk” actor William Shatner, but quickly lost ground with so-called jokes that were nothing more than sexism and racism. To make room for that, the Jaws theme was played to cut off award winners mid-speech.

As the evening went on, I kind of wished someone would cut Seth off. 

Watching my Twitter feed during the telecast showed most viewers were of the same opinion – that MacFarlane’s misogny wasn’t funny at all. But there were some who thought it was great fun to hop on that train and bash people one tweet at a time.

Favorite target? Kristen Stewart. Thousands of tweets insulting everything about her from her lack of facial expression to her need for a hairbrush. I’m sure everyone thought they were being funny. But imagine being Kristen and reading thousands of hate messages like this.  I don’t care how secure you think you are, that kind of negativity weighs on you. Let me point out the obvious – most of you are not directors, so your opinions on her acting skills don’t really matter, do they?

And that was merely the beginning. It got worse.

Let’s trash the dresses! Let’s make fun of the hairstyles! Let’s call nine-year-olds vile names and make her the butt of a Clooney joke. Let’s sing about boobs – including the ones seen when somebody hacked a phone – classy. Very classy.

Here’s a series of tweets that says it all from author Kari Dell:

My take on award show hosting, for what it’s worth: we tell our kids, “Don’t be bullies, don’t be cruel.”

Then we have someone get up in front of a huge audience and make very cruel, very personal jokes and call it humor.

Then we’re all flabbergasted by what kids will put on Facebook. Mixed messages, much?

Which only proves we never grow out of being bullies. We just dress it up as wit.

In the week after the Oscar telecast, Anderson Cooper ran a special called The Bully Effect, which follows up on the stories first introduced by Lee Hirsch in his documentary called BULLY. Bullying awareness is at an all-time high due to coverage like this, but bullying itself? I think it’s worse than ever because Kari is right – we send mixed messages and then call it wit. We tell kids to be nice and treat people as we’d like to be treated, but then watch TV shows where people are humiliated as ‘entertainment.’ Everybody from chef Gordon Ramsay to American Idol judges, fake ‘real’ housewives, and probably the worst offender of all, The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Let’s tell movie and TV producers we’ve had enough humiliation.

I’m going to propose something radical here – The Academy Awards don’t need jokes. No jokes! Seriously. I’d love to see an Oscar ceremony that’s an homage to the magic of movies, the talent of the writers, actors, and crews. Bring in an elegant host, a gentleman or a truly elegant woman. Patrick Stewart, Julie Andrews, for example. Focus on the craft. That’s why I watch. Without ridiculous I Saw Your Boobs songs, perhaps there would be more time to spotlight why the nominees were honored in the first place. Give us more behind-the-scenes insight. The entire Oscar production is a peer award system. So let’s actually hear from the peers… how amazing would it be to see a clip of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson telling us what she thinks of Adele’s Skyfall theme or Jack Nicholson talk about Bradley Cooper’s performance? Think about that for a moment.

According to host Seth MacFarlane, this year’s telecast actually did have a theme. I think it was supposed to be the musical. I propose that next year’s show have this theme:





3 responses to “It’s not funny”

  1. Linda Grimes says:

    Though I didn’t watch this year’s Academy Awards, I saw enough clips of it afterward to agree with you. But I’m not holding my breath about next year. *sigh*

  2. Laurel says:

    i found my way here from your comment on Nathan’s blog and I am glad I did. It is a relief to see someone making the thoughtful connections about how cruelty and below the belt behavior slowly becomes an acceptable norm in our society. Entertainment sets standards, so it is important for us all to be vocal about what we will tolerate and support and what we won’t. Thank you for speaking out!

    • Patty Blount says:

      Thanks, Laurel. I’ve never fully believed that video games lead to mass murdering sociopaths, but there is one thing opponents are right about — they desensitize us. This latest crop of reality programming is even worse… it isn’t just desensitizing, it’s encouraging participation in the taunting. My heart breaks for Kristen Stewart and before her, Brittney Spears. It must be hell to grow up in a spotlight.