This is how I approach The Oscars: I watch the opening monologue if I semi-like the host (Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, or even Seth McFarland) and then go to bed figuring that since I wasn’t nominated it really doesn’t matter who wins. If the host is someone I don’t like (for example: whoever hosted was last year) I skip to the chase (no pun intended) and go to bed.
Oscar host Seth McFarland is the brains, such as it is, behind the cartoon “Family Guy”. This is a cartoon about a very fat Rhode Islander with a smoking hot wife, two ugly teenagers, a dog that drinks martinis and a baby who has a British accent. It is vulgar, crude, and sometimes very funny. Oddly enough, this year’s Oscars was vulgar, crude, and sometimes very funny.
One bit McFarland did was a song about famous actresses’ nude scenes. The reaction shots from the actresses mentioned in the song was priceless, included one who looked totally miffed that he included her in a song about nudity despite the fact she has been nude in the movies and Playboy magazine. Just a little bit of advice: if you don’t want someone to sing that they have seen you naked in the movies, don’t get naked in the movies.
It turns out McFarland was not the most controversial part of The Oscars and I’m not talking about The First Lady of The United States, Michelle Obama. (It was ironic that Mrs. Obama announced the winner of The Best Motion Picture was “Argo” which was about the United States saving their embassy personnel under siege by Islamic fanatics unlike another certain United States embassy last year.) No, the most controversy from The Oscars was from a tweet sent out by the satirical internet newspaper, The Onion.
Like the rest of the wise guys the world, I started with Mad Magazine. Then I began reading National Lampoon. National Lampoon goes south and here comes Spy. Spy goes down the tubes and then I found The Onion. The Onion has done some incredibly funny work. My favorite article had the headline South Postpones Rising Again For Yet Another Year.
The Onion sent out a tweet saying that Quvenzhane Wallis, a nine year old that was nominated for her role in Beasts of The Southern Wild was a word that is usually reserved for Republican Governors of Alaska. Of all of the swear words, this one ranks up that with the worst and you had to wonder: 1) why would someone even write this about a nine year old child and 2) why would anybody think this is funny?
The Onion has since deleted the tweet, which shouldn't have been written in the first place. Of course, we’ve had instant analysis. “The Onion has built its audience on razor-sharp satire that is both relentlessly progressive and unwilling to pull punches... I believe they made a shocking, ugly comment to point out that the way the media talks about women is often quite shocking and ugly” says Laura Hudson of Wired. She is right in that The Onion satirizes everyone and everyone is a target. But, I’m not sure a lot of deep thought went into that tweet. If there had been any deep thought, maybe someone would have said, “Wait a second, Quvenzhane Wallis is not a Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party, she’s a nine year old girl! Is there anyone else that we can be relentlessly progressive about?"
The problem with humor/satire/comedy today is that there are no adults in the room. I can’t tell you how many Showtime Comedy stand ups I’ve turned off because every other word is a swear word. After 500 or so cuss words in 10 minutes, it tends to get on your nerves. I agree with James Lileks who said, "I am so tired of these people's love of naughty, naughty words and their delight in using them in all situations about all people in all places at all times.”
The only good thing is that we may have finally hit rock bottom. I doubt it