Sunday, February 22, 2009

Place Your Bets

Tis the (Oscar) season, and your local deconstructionist Scrooge has nothing positive to say about the "who-will-win!?" hoopla...

Vile capitalistic paratext at its most hollow, a big industry's award show—whether it be the Emmys, the AVN Awards, or the relatively tame announcement of Airline of the Year (Singapore Airlines)—creates out of nothing the double-illusion that (1) many people care about the industry, that they need this industry to exist, and (2) that the industry is powerful, innovative, systematized, and not yet too busy consuming itself through heartless competition to collectively hire Chris Rock or Jon Stewart to make fun of it (within limits).

This industry must, its annual award show seems to say, have its shit together—must be doing something right—because otherwise how could/why would so many beautiful peeps ever descend on the same luxurious concert hall in L.A.? (Or Akron, or Beijing...) We are asked to watch, meanwhile, in tense awe and wonder as the peeps announce the "winners;" (industrial) commercials flash throughout. We are asked to view and to engage, but not to identify too much with winners or losers. (We're all winners.)

The hollowing magic of the show is that each top-tier individual industrial player needn't care if it "wins" an award or not; it benefits from the attention the whole industry receives. Winners may receive additional attention and additional profit—but since businesses are rewarded for covering up foul play (not for playing fair), "winners" in a given industry can rarely be taken as exemplars of anything other than bribery, legalism, dogged pandering, and big fake self-contentment.

Indie web awards, your zine's "Rockinest Punk Outfit" gold-star, and straight As in middle school aside, I say ba-humfuck to the whole Oscar (etc.) season. Will watching three hours of canned "funny" and schmooze make Benjamin Button any more or less adorably wrinkly? (Or any shorter? Please?) Probably not.

But I could be wrong. The Academy could, say, reanimate F. Scott Fitzgerald and give him an afterlifetime achievement award for being an old famous trinomial dead bastard, a true Hollywood original whose sad life strikes biographers as its own (karmic) award/reward. FSF, his rotted mandible hanging from his face by a failing thread of spirit gum, could put the moves on a fake-smiling Miley Cyrus, then be beaten down by the ever-cool Clint Eastwood. I'd watch that.

In fact, I'd give it an A++.

-Wythe Marschall

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that last paragraph was hilarious, and i won't lie, i was expecting it too.