Media Note:
Tell Me When It’s Over
25 February 2019

¶ Last night, I sat with Kathleen through the Academy Awards. Now, I haven’t been to the movies since I saw Get Out, two years ago, and I hadn’t seen any of the movies nominated for anything this year, not even on video. But that’s not why I wasn’t keen on watching the show. 

With my higher brain functions, I judged the presentation to be interesting, even historic. Lots of winners who were not white, Anglophone males! But no edgy backtalk to the unseen elephant in the room; the closest anyone got to hinting at Donald Trump’s existence, much less presidency, was Barbra Streisand’s statement that truth is very important just now. There was no flowery optimism about the impending harmoniousness of American life. There was, instead, deadpan Congressman John Lewis, attesting to the truth of American life as represented in Green Book. The show was full of such assertions, which were sometimes manifested as mere presence on the stage. As far as I could tell, winners for Bohemian Rhapsody gathered up their awards without trailing any mention, save in Rami Malek’s acceptance speech, of Freddy Mercury’s homosexuality. We have arrived at the era of the Love That Need Not Speak Its Name. All of which would be heartwarming, if one were not aware — if one’s head had not been plunged in the toilet boil — of the furious white supremacists who hope to recapture the country. 

My lower brain functions, and my body generally, did not fare so well. When the show was over, I felt hung over, or some phantom leftover of excessive drink, and complicit in the moeurs on exhibit. The physical incongruity of witty lines delivered by actors who aren’t themselves witty. The tedious and immodest lists of thankees. The ghastly, hideously scored orchestral flourishes. The three-ring apparel. The impropriety of an industry’s conducting its annual convention’s closing dinner as public entertainment. Worst of all — worst possibly because this ought to have felt best — the sense that the iPhone has brought about a terminal fatigue with the very idea of celebrity. Instead of relief, I was left with an intractable grime. 

As if the house weren’t already untidy enough.  

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