Sunday’s Oscar performance was a spotlight shining on the differences between being marginalized and privileged.
Here are some of the ways Seth MacFarlane, the writers and producers of the Academy Awards distastefully chose to produce an evening intended to celebrate the accomplishments of artists.
People might say that MacFarlane was being an equal opportunity offender. However, do we hear jokes at the expense of women as often as men? Do we hear jokes from white people about white people as often as we hear them about racial minorities? How about people who are Jewish, gay or overweight? Are their lives joked about more about than people who are Christian, straight or thin?
The isms were solidly present within minutes of the broadcast. MacFarlane performed a song about women being nude in movies. He made a joke about a popular domestic violence relationship. Then, over the course of the evening, he made jokes about women’s sizes and the way minorities talk (among other things, of course).
Sure that’s MacFarlane’s way, or at least that’s what people tried to tell me over and over. I wondered why did the Academy choose to be represented by him? Why did the producers of the show choose a person who will belittle people based on a number of various factors?
Again, as much as I love the Oscars, this year’s ceremony reflected greater issues in our culture. For instance, when the media focuses on hair, makeup and wardrobe, we take the attention away from the reason that these artists are there: their brilliant accomplishments. (Sure, we all love to dress our best, but criticisms do not have a place in dressing up to feel great.)
Throughout 2012, we’ve had some wonderful reminders that people of multiple races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, looks and ages have such amazing talents. We are reminded by these accomplishments and efforts that no matter who you are or what you look like, you are able to accomplish great things. We had storylines that lifted the human spirit. And, yet, the people holding these awards decide to hire a host and a team of writers. It was this “creative” team who chose to demean those who were celebrated.
These movies and performances helped us in seeing God’s grace, God’s presence, God’s love and God’s image within ourselves. Unfortunately, the ceremony to recognize gifts in film achievement was clouded by disrespect. Sad.