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Category

 Political

Published

 March, 2006

Synopsis

 A comment on Fox News' coverage of the 2006 Oscars

Hooray for Hollywood!
By Al Owens

Civilization as we know it has not been destroyed. That makes me happy! Especially since I’d spent much of last Sunday watching Fox News’ veiled predictions to the contrary prior to the evening’s Academy Award ceremony. All day long I’d heard Foxcaster after Foxcaster proclaim (with a certain amount of glee, I might add) that Hollywood is “out of touch” with America.

I kept wondering when Hollywood wasn’t out of touch with America. I kept wondering why anybody would plunk down their hard earned money to spend two hours watching people just like themselves. I kept wondering why I’ve never met anybody just like Mickey Mouse. Nor would I want to.

As always, when watching Fox News, I’m confounded about who those people are who decide for their viewers what their viewers should think is appropriate. It’s enough suffering through dozens of bad Brokeback Mountain puns leading up to the Oscars. But to apply some sociological standard for what is (or what is not) in touch with America based on that or any movie is utterly preposterous.

Hollywood, these people should know, is about making money, telling stories and sometimes touching on observed behavior. It’s not about putting real life on a screen so we can see our next door neighbors on it. Mothra doesn’t live next door to anybody I know. Neither did Don Vito Corleone. But I suspect both of them are ok to spend two hours with at a movie theatre. And I know people who’ve actually cheered for both.

Somehow the fact that people go to the movies to escape all the things that are familiar to them, so they can explore worlds that aren’t, is lost on the people at Fox News.

Sunday night, when the Best Picture Oscar was given to the movie Crash instead of Brokeback Mountain, and all of Fox News apparently heaved a sigh of relief, nobody seemed prepared to sound the air raid sirens and re-open all of those long abandoned air raid shelters. That’s because Crash doesn’t really have a “gay” theme.

Crash is one of those unnerving films about race and our frequent and awkward mishandling of it. And let’s face it, if homosexuality is the “elephant in America’s room”, then race is the older bigger mastodon in it! Not many major stories these days (Katrina, the Alito confirmation hearings and even that Dubai port deal) come along without some racial dimension bubbling to the surface. So the very direct way Crash explores it is something that just may be considered “out of touch” with how America truly deals with it on a serious level. But thankfully it’s a movie that doesn’t really care what we think. It’s more concerned about delivering a swift kick to our solar plexus in a way we just may question who we are and why we think the ways we do. Out of touch? Yep! Thoroughly entertaining and ultimately satisfying? Yep! Yep!

So Fox News wants us all to demand cinema for the entire family, while cinema that’s not designed for the entire family continues to win awards. Somebody tell them that only one G-Rated movie (Oliver in 1968) has ever won a Best Picture Oscar. That that’s the same number as there’ve been X-Rated (Midnight Cowboy in 1969) Best Picture winners.

When they rail against material with “gay” themes (Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica) they’re really railing against characters that happen to be gay in circumstances that happen to be human.

When they say Hollywood has gone too far please remind them The Birth of a Nation (with its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan, and its vicious portrayal of black Americans) probably went too far back in 1915! Yet, as “out of touch” with America it may have been, it is still considered a classic.

If Fox News’ overzealous morality police continue to use the phrase “out of touch” with a America, will somebody please explain to them that Fox News is increasingly “out of touch” with reality! I’ll admit I’m a little late sharing my opinion about this. I guess I’m just “out of touch” with the calendar. But not nearly as “out of touch” as Fox News!