Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar the Grouch

I want to get excited about The Oscars (tm) every year. I really do. But despite my best efforts at de-Scroogifying my admittedly bad attitude, I rarely watch them. Maybe because I've always been a little bit resistant to blowing a proverbial wad over Hollywood's largest and most ostentatious masturbatory self-worship fest.

Still, I always tell myself, what’s a day without some lighthearted analysis of dresses and boobs; blow-back against the superficiality of said analysis; serious discussion of the great achievements in film; a few heartfelt and buzz-worthy performances from the singer-of-the-moment; some corny, awkward jokes; and the annual, inevitable, Sweeping Tribute to The Importance of The Movies in All of Our Lives?

I've been to more than a few fun Oscars parties and have enjoyed hanging out with friends at them. Furthermore, surely there's room and time in between the headlines of All The Sad and Terrible Things in The World for some conviviality and entertainment?

Of course. Granted.

Then I read this:

According to Vanity Fair, this year 21 unlucky losers in the big ticket Oscar categories received a $168,000 consolation prize "swag bag" which, among other things, includes a $20,000 astrology reading, something called an “orgasm booster,” and free Silvercar Audi rentals for a year.

And this got me thinking (like a true communist, I suppose): what can you get for $168,000 (besides luxury condoms and first class tickets to Italy, I mean)?

Turns out quite a few things.

For example, you can send thousands of kids to school in Africa; fund AIDS research for a year; provide an enormous subsidy to school lunch programs; or improve access to clean, running water in the developing world. Surely at least some of the recipients of these swag bags will donate their value to charity anyway, so why not make the swag bag a charitable donation in the first place?

But hey, look. Who am I to judge? It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. It's a free country. A country of capitalists and consumers. Nothing wrong with that. Money makes the world go 'round! And I'm no Mother Theresa myself. I don't spend all day Thinking About Making the World a Better Place for a living--certainly no more so than Lady Gaga or Matthew McConaughey. And I certainly have my vices. I mean, I'm not sitting here donating the cost of all my eyebrow waxes to charity either, so far be it for me to wander into the realm of hypocricy. So maybe it's all just economies of scale, after all.

But still. 

There is SORT of a LITTLE something wrong with this picture, no pun intended. Isn't there?

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