I was raised by an avid reader in a home with two television channels…in Canada. A trip to the movies was a rare and exciting adventure. I didn’t see my first VCR until I was eleven years old. I read all the time…everything I could get my hands on.
It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. that I discovered the joys of cable television in all it’s mind-numbing glory. Once I had a steady job, going to the movies became a regular indulgence. I found I couldn’t get enough of watching stories come to life in front of my eyes, marveling at expert acting and laughing at terrible acting. I’ve never given up my reading habit but I can say proudly that I have fallen in love with film and television, and it has been a passionate and tumultuous love affair ever since.
You see, the entertainment industry doesn’t love me back – a fact I am reminded of every awards season. Although I love the glitz and glamor and fakery of the red carpet, I can no longer stomach the Oscars or the Emmys, or most awards shows.
Sunday night’s 69th Emmy Awards was a perfect example of why Emmy ratings have been steadily dropping for the last four years, despite more ways than ever to watch them. It shouldn’t have been surprising that nearly every single presenter, winner and host segment took the opportunity to jab at President Trump.
It goes without saying that this is just bad business. Hollywooders seem to think the entire country is comprised of people who think and vote just like them. Despite the fact that the country is pretty much a consistent 50/50 split between liberals and conservatives (with slight percentage shifts during election years), they remain convinced that Right Wing Nut Jobs don’t own televisions. It’s hard to maintain a healthy level of growth when you’ve automatically eliminated 50% of your customer base.
In what other industry could you insult, degrade, dehumanize and ridicule your customers and win awards for doing it?
Let’s put the politics of it aside for just a minute. After all, as weird as this whole “Donald Trump is our president” thing is, it isn’t that unusual for the liberal left of Hollywood to devote so much time to denigrating a Republican president.
It’s important to remember that for the most part the people on that stage hold a subtle disdain for the average American. They might not even realize it, but it shows every time most of them are asked about a political issue on the red carpet.
Big Little Lies actress Shailene Woodley admitted to one interviewer she doesn’t watch tv, haughtily declaring herself a “reader”…as if one cannot both enjoy reading and television at the same time. Woodley was keen to show her intellectual superiority to those inferior “watchers”. It didn’t even occur to her to thank people who watched tv, as if she’s never thought about what happens to her bank account and career if people stop watching her.
When Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton reunited on stage as presenters, Tomlin took the time to say that in their classic 1980 film 9 to 5 they played women who “refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot…And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
Uttered by a woman who has voluntarily worked for decades in an industry run by sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigots. Or is that whole “it’s hard for women over 40 to get good roles” thing just a fancy PR campaign to get us to watch women over 40 on tv?
Atlanta creator Donald Glover was sure to mention how oppressed black people are because of Trump…inexplicably.
“I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”
Glover seemed to detect no irony in his own statement as he grasped a golden statue on a stage in front of the most elite players in Hollywood; as he accepted an award for a television show for which he makes more money in one year than most Americans can dream of making in a decade. His tuxedo was probably worth more than the cars of many people watching the show…but yeah, oppression because Donald Trump or some stuff.
The list goes on and on. I hardly have the space to encompass the scope of cluelessness of this one percent of the one percent, but it all adds up to make an experience that fewer and fewer Americans want to participate in.
Perhaps the saddest part is that these celebrities think what they do is so expansive and inclusive when the reality is they have boxed themselves into an ideology and by doing so, excluded most of the hard-working Americans who buy their products. There are so many opportunities missed to tell rich stories of average Americans who don’t think the same, look the same, struggle with the same issues.
Their political jokes run stale, and only serve to illustrate their hypocrisy as they make unsupported pronouncements of the dangers of modern American life from the ivory towers where they store their self-congratulatory awards, safe from the unwashed masses and comfortably hidden behind gated communities and security guards.
I long for the pre-social media days of celebrity, when we could pretend to know what they think and project our own views and values on their manufactured personalities. It was more fun that way. Now it seems every celebrity is dead set on reminding their paying customers that we will never be like them and never be considered as their peers.
Americans like me are tired of being the victim in this abusive relationship. We’re tired of being told we’re nothing without our Hollywood lovers. We’re bruised and bloody and out of patience.
Can we at least get just a simple “Thank you” every once in a while for showing up with our money?