On the heels of Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes (because who else can face down the angry mob and walk away still standing), the Academy has decided go hostless for the second year in a row. Can you blame them?
Gervais pulled no punches. He made jokes. Jokes. And yet… some on the internet flipped out, because of course. I thought his jokes were very funny — especially with the joke about the lack of diversity in the In Memoriam — partly because they made fun of the way people on Twitter can overreact. I personally think one of our best options at the moment is to make jokes, because whatever else we’re doing isn’t working. The daily outrages simply make us seem like we are tilting at windmills.
Gervais said that Hollywood people are in no position to lecture anyone about anything since they have no idea what the real world is like. Can you argue with that? I can’t. They are trying to do good in the world, I get that. But they’re preaching to the choir and, thus, what does it do? The same thing hashtagging on Twitter does: nothing. NOT A DAMN THING, except to make people feel better for a few minutes. Every so often it might embarrass someone in Hollywood enough to change a pay structure or a casting choice, but how long does that last?
If we’re a group of people who can’t even handle Ricky Gervais, then yes, we should probably not have a host. We are a community that must have everything gently delivered to us so that no single person is ever offended — and if one is offended, all are required to be offended. Honestly, folks, this isn’t a sustainable way to live or to preach on how to live.
We exercise our control where we can because we can’t do anything about Trump, the Supreme Court, the destruction of the natural world. But the Oscars? We can do something about that. Can you imagine the little fires flaring up everywhere over every single joke made? The second a host is hired, there’s a Puritan army rising up to vet every single decision or joke that person has ever made. Sat next to George Bush at a sporting event? Drag her! Made an offensive joke ten years ago? Nope. Disqualified. Out.
This year the whole parade leading to Oscar night has been so rushed, one gets the feeling the Academy just want to be in and out as quickly as possible and leave the whole thing behind. Maybe next year, if we salvage the sinking nation, people might be a little more forgiving, a little less strident.
Either way, the show will go on. Winners will still give impassioned speeches. Twitter will still throw a fit about various things. We all know this is how it’s going to go. The Oscars will wipe their brow, roll up their sleeves, and get on with things.
Here’s hoping we can eventually lighten up just a little bit. There are plenty of things to be outraged about. A host on an awards show isn’t one of them.