I apologize in advance if I offend any of you with the views, opinions or jokes in this column offend you. Actually, I don’t apologize. I just ask you to grow up.
We had another award show last night, and with it, the calls for apologies over something that was said or some perceived slight turned into hyped-up beef. The Oscars last night, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, got mixed reviews. There were good performances and bad ones, there were jokes that soared, and jokes that flopped. And William Shatner reminded us how old he is by putting on the Star Trek duds and making a cameo as Captain James T Kirk.
It was a good skit, but I don’t like being reminded how old Shatner is. I demand an apology!
Like anyone in Hollywood, MacFarlane has his haters, and they seemed ready to pounce on any mistake he made. The best of these generalized criticisms I’ve seen today have been along the lines of “his jokes fell flat.” Some jokes didn’t do so well, but I was grateful that they didn’t bring out Billy Crystal again, or seek to reunite the hosting duo from a couple years ago that was so bad I dare not mention their names.
Then there were the people who were offended on sexist grounds. It’s completely acceptable to make cracks about female superiority, but sing a song about boobs, and you’re way over the line, man. For those of you who missed it, there was a song about how famous actresses have shown their breasts in famous movies. It was pre-recorded, and I believe the actress’ reactions were pre-recorded as well.
It’s not sexist unless you take a narrow view of the whole show and aren’t familiar with MacFarlane’s body of work. As with pretty much every other gag during the night, he was pointing out the tackiness and absurdity of the event and the industry itself. It’s what he does and it’s how he does it. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine, but a joke you don’t agree with doesn’t give you license to attach the malice of sexism to its base.
The Onion, which is a satire newspaper, issued a real apology for a tweet it sent out last night, calling 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis the C-bomb. For one thing, it’s Twitter. For another thing, this is what The Onion does. one story this week has the headline “Funeral Held For Door Shot 4 Times By Oscar Pistorius” and there is no outrage. So, making jokes about a murder are just fine, but a single tweet juxtaposing a sweet, talented girl with a very harsh insult is going too far?
At this point, neither the staircase, nor the dress have apologized to Jennifer Lawrence. Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy have thus far refused to apologize for their terrible skit, too.
The problem is we demand apologies from the wrong people. We’re so busy being outraged and taking it to the internet that we forget what actual outrage is supposed to be. We keep buying Chris Brown albums and talk about how sexually attractive he is. We forgive and cheer for athletes who have faced charges of domestic violence, murder, rape and more. So when someone makes a crack about the silliness of the night, they’re more accurate than you may realize.
I still want an apology for that 20-minute performance by the casts of musicals.