Monday, February 25, 2013

Why, yes, Hollywood, we DID see your boobs

It was hard to see in the midst of the almost-equal-opportunity offensiveness fest that was the Oscars last night, but Seth McFarlane actually did do a good job of hosting -- if by "good job" you mean clear, engaged, moved things along. But if by hosting you mean something more akin to hospitality, greeting one and all and making them feel welcomed and comfortable, well, he failed miserably on that point.

Here's the thing, though, that I'm actually grateful for: McFarlane revealed the racism and sexism that exists throughout the system that pats itself on the back and calls itself liberal and enlightened.

McFarlane is just the front man for a much larger system. A system that convinces women to undress in the name of art and then sings a puerile little song saying, "We saw your boobs!" A system that claims Quentin Tarantino is starting an important conversation about slavery and then jokes about how Daniel Day-Lewis would try to free Don Cheadle from slavery.

I agree with this writer who says
The best moment of Seth MacFarlane's Oscars hosting gig may have come late in the night when, in announcing Meryl Streep, he said "our next presenter needs no introduction" ... and then just walked away. If only he'd kept his mouth shut more frequently.
Buzzfeed did an in the moment run-down of sexist moments at the Oscars that are quite stark when you see them strung one after another. Again, I'm not happy about it, but I think it is good for these things to be revealed.

And let's remember this is not about McFarlane, but about a system that rewards this kind of speech. Sure, you can make sure McFarlane doesn't present next year, but what do we need to do to change things?

Unfortunately, it's going to be a long slog of speaking the truth to power over and over again. It means looking for the real causes and not just the presenting issues. It means putting our money where our mouth is. It means listening to those who are offended and understanding why and changing our behaviors. It means making mistakes. It means a hell of a lot of work.

In the meantime, there are moments of grace. Such as this one.

Go, Quvennzhane! Make sure they know your name.

1 comment:

Christina Brennan Lee said...

Yes we did and you have captured my thoughts and feelings perfectly! But then, given Mr. McFarlane's life in the higher echelons of the "system" that is Hollywood, his inappropriate adolescent brand of "humor" was not unexpected. I was hoping to be surprised and I was in retrospect - not only about the overtly racist comments (although I'm sure he thinks he's so "cool" that his friends of color won't be offended) but that there were no fart jokes or Victoria's Secret models. Can we dare hope that his performance may be a mirror for those who are pawns and those who broker? I hope that the pendulum for crass, crude, and offensive "humor" has finally swung too far. But, while there is often disappointment in lofty hope, there is satisfaction in finding like-minded thoughts such as yours!