Monday, February 27, 2012

Life’s Lottery—The Good Fortune and Opinion of the Oscars: The Day after the night of Oscars many wax critical of the yearly extravaganza. We cannot believe we stayed up for it and need a pot of coffee to overcome our sleep deprivation from it. Much that follows are the superficial criticisms – laughter at the flops, scorn at or admiration of someone’s body/dress, anger at the unnecessary waste of time, and disappointment with some who won it. Later, we walk out our door and forget most of it until it appears on our TV screen once again next year.

In what room, though, in our cerebral hemisphere does criticism of The Oscars sit? Maybe it sits in the hall of envy. Who would not envy the talent and plethora of good fortune that many in the Oscar audience enjoy? Most are multi millionaires who win life’s lottery of a nomination and an even more selected few win the film's highest award itself. It translates into their ode to immortality and phenomenal fortune. Life is, indeed, easier if one is as gifted and wealthy as they. The money made from those gifts makes the vicissitudes of life most of us encounter significantly easier to bear. When Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep’s fashion mogul character in the Devil Wears Prada) is asked by her lowly secretary: “What if I don’t want this? “Oh,” Miranda says, don’t be silly – EVERYONE wants this. Everyone wants to be us.” There is some truth to that.

In our era when so many are homeless, jobless and struggling those selected few in the Oscar audience can make one covetous of their good fortune. Some say it is a bell curve. Those on one side of that curve have little; there is a big middle of average where most of us sit, but the cream of the crop lives on a small part of that curve whose luck resides within the DNA of their talent and at the mercy of fate. Some draw life's short straw or have life or the politics of it hand them an Occupy Wall Street 99% rock and that can make one sad and jealous.

Congratulations to those who won. I thought most deserved it. I wish there were a double best actress award to present an Oscar to Viola Davis too for her poignant role in “The Help,” a film about the plight of domestic workers in the Jim Crow era of the south. The best picture film, The Artist, may be good even great but I wanted “The Help” to win. There are some in black studies who criticize that film. I do not. At least that rancid part of our nation's history commanded attention that time might dictate memory forgets. Like the Holocaust and the Jews of Europe, the American Holocaust against the black man, must never be forgotten. Anything we can do not to forget it is a good thing!

In the end though, I admit it. Yes, Miranda, I would like to be you!

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