Last week’s Oscar awards ceremony was filled with uncomfortable messages.
First there was the message to Hollywood from the American public: This year’s show drew 20 percent lower viewership than the year before -- hitting an all-time low. Some pundits mused that this was perhaps attributable to awards being given to the same films and performers in earlier shows, or perhaps to the length of the show. A more likely explanation is that the public is giving Hollywood the NFL treatment; fed up with the hypocrisy and condescension, Americans deliberately tuned out.
Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel admittedly had a tough row to hoe, as much of the usual fanfare was already dampened by the explosion of sexual scandals in Hollywood, and the #MeToo movement spawned thereby. One of Kimmel’s punches landed squarely, however. In reference to the iconic statuette, Kimmel joked, "Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood. And there’s a very good reason why. Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word and most importantly, no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations. And that’s the kind of man we need more of in this town."
Well, at least Kimmel had the decency to add the qualifier, in this town. Because let’s face it, Tinseltown has a spotty record when it comes to accurate representation of the men out here in the rest of America.
In fact, Hollywood has a strange take on masculinity generally.
What kinds of men does Hollywood fawn over? Men who sleep with other men (the film “Call Me By Your Name” won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and features a love story between a 24-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy. This didn’t strike anyone as awkward in the current climate?). And then there are the men who dress like women, not to mention the men who cut off their genitals and declare themselves to be women. And, until recently anyway, heterosexual men who are predators.
Detecting a pattern here?
Jimmy Kimmel also took the opportunity to promote gun control. (Cue the hypocrisy chorus here; the entire event was protected by armed guards with assault rifles.)
Were one so inclined, the argument could be made that Hollywood promotes gun bans for the same reason it celebrates emasculated men: They simply lack the vocabulary to explain concepts like judgment, morality or self-control. You can't control your "weapon," you see, so it must be taken from you. (And we’ll applaud those who unilaterally “disarm.”)
Just so we're clear, I'm not calling men's genitals "weapons" (although that is a not uncommon message in certain feminist scholarship). What I’m saying is that just as most gun owners don't kill people, most men aren’t sexual predators. Those who refrain from that conduct do so because of the other organs they possess -- their hearts and their brains. Hollywood has apparently promoted casual and callous sexuality for so long that it has lost sight of the other, higher human functions and capabilities.
There was one other odd message in the Oscar shindig. Amid the calls for the country to “do something” for the safety of our children, Cecile Richards, outgoing president of Planned Parenthood, was honored during the ceremony for her activism.
Does no one see the irony here?
Planned Parenthood has performed over 300,000 abortions annually during Richards’ 13-year tenure as president. That’s more than 3,900,000 abortions. Gloria Feldt held the position between 1996 and 2006. Faye Wattleton was president between 1978 and 1992. (Interesting footnote in Planned Parenthood history: Pamela Maraldo was president from 1992 to 1995. Maraldo resigned after she unveiled a plan to expand Planned Parenthood into more broad-based medical care for women. Insiders at PPFA complained that Maraldo’s vision was “out of touch with [Planned Parenthood’s] mission,” and did not focus enough attention on abortion.) Since 1973, when abortion was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood is estimated to have performed somewhere between 7.5 and 8 million abortions. For all but five of those years, the president of Planned Parenthood was female.
Those calling for gun control seem to overlook that every gun sale doesn't kill a human being. But every abortion does.
So while Hollywood rails against men and penises and guns and killing children, who has presided over the destruction of more children than anyone else in this country?