Saturday, March 04, 2006

Oscar the Grouch

I am completely uninterested in the Oscars this year. If Jenn weren't throwing a party, I'd TiVo the show and watch it the next day, fast-forwarding to see Jon Stewart and any particularly embarrassing musical numbers.

This isn't really a new issue for me. Since I tend to see very few films in the theaters, and my Netflix queue is hopelessly backlogged, and the Academy tends to nominate movies that feel like school that I don't really want to see anyway, it's rare that I've seen many of the relevant films. But I can usually get it up for the show, with all of its spectacle and absurdity, and even the occasional genuine moment.

This year, though, I'm already Oscared out. Like Christmas, awards season seems to start earlier every year. I really feel like the Oscars happened about two months ago, since every awards show has had pretty much the same nominees. I didn't actually watch any of them either, but like it or not I know who won, and thanks to the power of the Internet I've seen highlight clips that took a minute of my life instead of three hours.

I think my Oscar apathy is just a symptom of some sort of celebrity critical mass this year. Seriously, is it me, or has it gotten worse lately? Maybe the fact that there's so much terrible stuff going on in the world but Brangelina is still the top story is just making it seem worse. But even without ever turning on Entertainment Tonight or opening a copy of Us Weekly, I know more than I need or want to about Paris, Britney, Tom and Katie. And really, seriously, WAY too much about Scott Stapp and Kid Rock. It's unavoidable. At least here in New York, where my walk from subway to work takes me past three newsstands from which Jessica Simpson eyes me seductively, and my otherwise classy morning news radio includes an entertainment report with all the dish on her divorce proceedings. And, pop culture sponge that I am, I retain this information, and here I am squeezing it out in my blog, playing right into it. (But hey, I'm not proud, I'll take those Google hits for "Kid Rock Scott Stapp sex tape." No, you won't find a clip here, but stick around - you might like us and I assure you we're far less icky.)

I think I started to turn last year when Brad and Jen (as if I know them) split. I won't pretend it wasn't interesting, but after a while I just felt like our interest was wrong. Yes, they made a choice to live in the public eye, but it's their business, leave them alone. For god's sake, maybe she just doesn't like children! And from there were got Brangelina, and TomKat, and JessiNick, and Flavor of Love, and when is it going to stop?? So Britney's a bad mother. What did you expect, she's dumb as a box of hair! And she'll always have more money than you, so really, why does it matter?

I'm not saying I'm completely immune. I read The Fix in Salon, which distills a bazillion gossip sites into three or four top stories per day, and is usually humorous. Best Week Ever is always good for a laugh. I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, but that's more behind-the-scenes and news than gossip. I guess, mostly, I want my gossip with a heavy dose of irony. I also don't want it to take up much of my time.

Maybe that's the key: I've been oversaturated. An occasional snippet of celebrity dish, designed to make us feel jealous or smug (preferably the latter) is fine, but a year's worth of mind-numbing, unavoidable detail about people I don't even watch, let alone know...well, I resent it a little. I resent that it takes up my time and space in my brain and I really didn't ask for it. I want to just enjoy Desperate Housewives without wondering if the women get along in real life, but in some way that's been taken away from me. I might want to watch the Oscars, except I feel like I've been watching them for months now. Aren't they over? There can't possibly be more Brokeback Mountain jokes to tell, can there? Instead of fueling my interest, the media has made me over the event before it's even begun.

But I'll watch, and I won't even blame Jenn's party. I'll take responsibility for my role as a cog in the machine. And I'll pray to Jon Stewart to deliver us from mediocrity and tedium. And for some really ugly gowns.

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