My best friend's uncle was a writer of some of the best and most classic shows on television when many of us were growing up. He died last year. Recently members of his family, including ones who are also members of the current entertainment community themselves, tried for months to get this writer's name included in the memorial tribute to those honored each year on the Emmy's annual telecast. This writer in his hey day had won an Emmy for one of the most popular shows of the 1970's. However, he was denied his televised moment on the awards show those many years ago, when sadly, his father happened to die the same day. So in this last Emmy presentation, when he might have taken his place among the honored deceased ancestors, the writer was denied his moment once again. The reason given to his family was that apparently, the Television Academy only allows two minutes for these tributes and there wasn't enough time or room to include this formerly prominent television writer. This was an unfortunate over site, as others were included, who had contributed less to the industry. Yet, apparently the criteria may have included that those others had also been more currently active in the academy.
The latter policy annoys me. But, let's be honest, award shows (which I used to enjoy), have annoyed me for some time. These annual events in Hollywood have too often become a forerunner to a particular political parties' national convention. I rarely even watch them anymore, as I have found the gratuitous mutterings of ...how brave someone's agent or producer was to push some piece of politically correct drivel...is just too hard to stomach. Perhaps I also note with irony, that I have the pervasive feeling that it has too much an unconscious attitude of ..."Maybe, if I can show that I'm a good enough person in the eyes of my peers, the fact that I did them dirt, won't matter so much? However, the one portion I could always count on enjoying in watching these televised back slapping affairs, was when they did the memoriam section. (Although, I must admit I was stunned the year that Leni Riefenstahl, whose film Triumph Of The Will paid tribute to Hitler, was included in the annual "in memoriam" montage at the Oscars.)
With that exception - a recent passing provides a period of magnanimity for the deceased. Plus people are always moved when remembering those who have gone before them (and recently all the more so, because those previous contributions are all too often more meaningful than the offerings of current artists.)
Cheryl Felicia Rhoads is a member of four entertainment unions and an actress, writer, director and producer in Hollywood. Rhoads has written for United Press International, Human Events and the American Enterprise Institute. She has appeared on MSNBC's Scarborough Country and C-SPAN's American Perspectives.
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