So, there I was, minding my own business and watching the final three Oscar awards presentations from the comfort of my bed. A cat on my chest and another curled up at my feet.
I'm brought back to the world of politics that I thought I had put to bed a few hours earlier.
In case you didn't watch the Oscar Awards ceremonies last night, America was treated to the injection of politics into the event in a unique and groundbreaking way. Usually, whenever political subject matter makes its way into an event like this, it's some bleary-eyed, narcissist ranting some leftist bromides as he holds up a statue worth more than some nations' GDP. (Indeed, a guy who worked on Argo made such a declaration last night, pointing out people were able to be non-violent during the Iranian hostage crisis.)
So, these celebrity mini-lectures are to be expected.
What was NOT expected, however, was the appearance of First Lady Michelle Obama to give the award for Best Picture.
As I screamed, "You have got to be kidding me!" one cat jumped off the bed and ran for the door while the other was launched about a foot off my chest.
Actor Jack Nicholson pointed out how the Academy never has two people make the presentation for Best Picture. But (hooray for us!) last night was special! Jack was on stage and Michelle joined the Hollywood party via TV link up.
So some pretty important questions I have about this.
Number One: Who the heck are those people standing behind her?
Number Two: What's up with the bangs? Is this the style now? If so, why?
Number Three: How much did this appearance cost taxpayers? Between the video link-up and the dress (I wonder who she was wearing!). And, of course, those people behind her. Who ARE they? Can I get a price check on this?
That said, I think this perfectly sums up the current American celebrity culture and the current Administration's fancy for the... well... fancy. The very idea that the First Lady would have any role whatsoever in an awards show for professional, paid liars is silly. The fact that Hollywood and the White House would do it is a sad commentary on how the White House views its role in our society.
Oh! Did I mention Jane Fonda was a presenter last night, too? So, we had that going for us.
Nikki Finke is with Deadline Hollywood and was “live snarking” during the Academy Awards:
As if Hanoi Jane weren’t fuel enough. Oh My God - the Academy actually fans the fire by drafting First Lady Michelle Obama to help present Best Picture from presumably the White House? So unnecessary and inappropriate to inject so much politics into the Oscars yet again. Hollywood will get pilloried by conservative pundits for arranging this payoff for all the campaign donations it gave the President’s reelection campaign. I don’t understand this very obvious attempt to infuriate right-leaning audiences. Clearly the studios only want to sell their movies to only half of America. And here I’d thought Spielberg had overreached at the Golden Globes by bringing Bill Clinton onstage…
It's not even really the naked political manipulation of the appearance that disgusts.
Obviously, the lefty base that loves the Obamas will see the FLOTUS bit as totally awesome. Righties will cringe at the injection of the Administration into yet another cultural retreat (and how Finke correctly notes both Hollywood and the Obamas seem okay with such a move).
But for me, the worst part is the unstated premise of the appearance -- that we're SUPPOSED to believe that the President and First Lady SHOULD be part of the pop entertainment culture.
When did that happen?
And it's not the same as the Presidential chucking out of first pitches on Opening Day in baseball, either. Or flipping the coin in the first NFL game of the year.
It would be more akin to a President coming on in relief and intentionally walking a batter in a World Series game. Or for the POTUS to take a knee on the last play of the Super Bowl to run out the clock.
It's one thing to open a ceremony with some words. It's another to participate in the ceremony by making a speech and announcing the award recipient. Maybe I'm old fashioned. Or maybe I'm just tired of the American Idolotry Presidency thing going on in the USA.
I will be very interested to see if this now becomes something the Academy will offer other First Ladies in the future. Specifically, the Republican ones (if there ever is another Republican, one, of course).
But then again, given the fact that actors are paid liars, maybe the Academy Awards is the EXACT place for politicians to be.