The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Thinking like Hollywood (part one)

I won't forget an off-the-cuff observation my father made once. A TV ad for one of the film awards shows came on. He remarked that "that industry has more awards ceremonies and congratulates itself more than anyone." I think of that insight now every time I see them advertised on TV.

But honestly, we award and award these entertainers again and again. We have the Academy Awards (the Oscars or the AAs), the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the Emmys, the MTV Movie Awards, the Critics Choice Awards. And there are lesser known ceremonies like the Directors Guild Awards, the Writers Guild Awards, the Producers Guild Awards, the Diversity Awards, and many others I've never heard of.

I don't think my dad's observation is understated. What other industry is so self-aggrandizing?

Today I found two articles in the USA Today about the upcoming SAG Awards and Academy Awards. It is the case, according to one article, that in recent years, the Oscars have been struggling to keep America's interest. Could it go the way of the Miss America Pageant? According to Nielsen Media Research, in 1998 52 million(M) viewers tuned in to the AAs. Compared with the past ten years, that was a spike of roughly 10M. It bottomed out at 33M in 2003, and last year viewership was 1.8M below average at 42M.

Are celebs falling out of favor with America? I regretfully doubt it. But I do think there's a rift. I think Americans sense an elitist attitude (driven by their perspective) coming from Hollywood. Exceptions sure, but technology provides less privacy to the West Coast Elites' "personal views." It's quite off the mainstream. Americans know it.

Hollywood is and has been its own ghetto for a long time, allowing extremist views to penetrate and permeate the subconcious of its "guilds." I would even argue that events like Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" and Madonna's shocking French kissing with Britney and Christina is less driven by shock values than by the general acceptance of such things within that ghetto. They might still recognize that most Americans remain more conservative, but Hollywood justifies its actions by thinking themselves more liberated and America still bound. After all, while it is shocking it is not wholly unwanted. Those thrills are still sought out and still fascinate us, if we're honest with ourselves. Hollywood has simply come to grips with that truth and given itself over to these pleasure impulses, while the rest of America remains "prudish." In Hollywood's reasoning, the remainder of America is still "unliberated" to live lives dominated by desires.