I used to host Oscar parties. No more. I used to fill out Oscar ballots. No more. I used to watch the Oscars with rapt attention. I did not see this year’s Academy Awards, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t obligatory political ad libs from the whiny winners.
Is it any surprise there was a hue and cry in the run-up to last Sunday’s Oscars calling for a dreaded “boycott” of the show. That’s a fancy way of saying “don’t watch it.” Usually boycotts are invoked to not buy a product or service, but in this case, people were being egged on to toss virtual eggs at the performers by tuning out instead of in.
Those who were caught violating the sanctions against watching the Oscars risked the humiliation of having to watch nothing but PBS programs for a full month, the cultural equivalent of waterboarding.
Part of the new normal, by the way, is that no women’s advocacy groups chose to protest the possibly discriminatory use of the gender-specific term “boycott.” The reason given for the passivity is that since boycott is such an ugly word, the men deserve to have it all to themselves.
It’s too soon as I write this to know if The Great Oscars Boycott of 2017 has had its desired effect. What would that be, you ask? To send a loud and clear message to the Hollyweird elite that we all can live happily ever after without ever watching another of their so-called movies.
Yet if the boycotters sincerely practice what they preach, it’s more than movies that must be protested and avoided like the plague. Since Hollyweird also controls just about anything we see on television, we’ve got to be prepared to throw away our flat screens as well. Take that, Philo Farnsworth!
Since the entertainment industry’s far-reaching tentacles also have their hooks around the music business, we’ll very happily not let our ears be polluted by music any more. Same goes for games and apps we use on a screen of any size. Those are products of Silicon Valley, which is very much a part of the entertainment-industrial complex that has foisted its political prejudices on patriots who are the rock-solid backbone of America.
Some folks understandably were enraged by the temerity of that creep Streep using her newfound star status to brandish her extreme opinions during an otherwise innocuous awards show earlier this year. Truth to tell, I feel for the little lady. It is a kind of American tragedy that someone who at one time was so revered for her brilliant craft should voluntarily go down in flames, and for what?
Despite decades of acclaim for her legendary body of work, all that adulation dissipated into thin air once she exercised her right to be wrong. Earth to Miss Meryl: You cannot be both talented and outspoken at the same time. It’s one or the other; make your choice and live with it. You still have time to recant your televised testimony and save yourself from the shame of banishment as a Streep tease artist in a sleazy club in Beverly Hills.
It’s a mystery why legislation has not been proposed that requires any actor who receives a union card—from the Screen Actors Guild or Actors Equity Association—to disavow their right to publicly express a political opinion. We pay to see you act, not act obnoxious.
Actors and politicians alike should just stick to what they each do best and be happy with their limited lots in life.
Sure, every now and then a wayward elected official might be criticized as “a bad actor,” but for the most part, it’s not as if politicians are auditioning for star turns in movies or plays. It’s not as if a movie star or a television personality can realistically aspire to become a successful politician, like a U.S. senator, let alone the president.
It’s high time we all suck it up and send over-opinionated entertainers a strong message that we don’t need their movies and TV shows and we don’t need their music. When they cynically play the freedom of speech card, we’ll remind them that the deck is stacked against them: We have the superceding freedom to tell them to shut up and to shut them down by voting with our wallets.
Let us not forget that we Americans—at least the real ones among us—are of hardy stock, and easily can adjust to the simplicity and serenity of a time before there was TV or movies or recorded music. It is well worth giving up some momentary self-indulgence it if it means we will hold sway over the craven chieftains of show business, if not put them out of business altogether, unless they learn to behave and bend to our will.
Once we have fully purged ourselves of worthless Hollyweird amusements, we can take the next step and immerse ourselves in an even more robust and authentic pre-20th century lifestyle by trading in our vehicles for horses and our electric lights for candles. It’s time to get back to basics in our American way of life. Way, way back.
Bruce Apar is chief content officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.