Hi, welcome to the day after the Oscars! If you are a person with
eyes and a brain (actually just a pair of eyes and typing fingers is fine), I’m sure you have lots of opinions on what went on last night. You’ve put them up on Facebook and live-tweeted them and blogged about them and spouted them out through your mouth-hole like the rest of us, and yet your thirst for validation is not slaked. Because that’s the thing about awards shows and movies and music and just things in general — sometimes it’s not satisfying enough just to have an opinion, you have to get other people to have them with you, whether they like it or not. And, as we all know, if someone doesn’t share your opinion, then the best and brightest thing to do is to shout louder. May I recommend the use of your CAPS LOCK key? Clinically proven to change minds at a rate of 0.0 per second.
So the particular issue that I’d like to address at this particular moment is that of Seth MacFarlane‘s hosting job. A lot of people have a lot of feelings about that, and the caterpillar of their opinions has gone into the chrysalis of social media, allowing it to grow and mature into a great, presumptuous butterfly that’s gone flapping loose all over the internet. So before you go unleashing another winged beast to prey on the innocent flowers of the world (this metaphor has gotten a little out of control, I apologize), allow me to invite you to read through our short, sweet, and simple Step-By-Step Guide To Having An Opinion About Seth MacFarlane At The Oscars (or, frankly, an opinion about anything at all, ever):
- Watch it.
The whole show, so you can know what you’re talking about. You’d think that’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by the number of opinions I’ve been bombarded with today by people who didn’t even tune in.
- Decide how you feel about it.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but try to do this without reading any headlines first. You are a special, important snowflake just like your parents always told you, so use that magical gift, you fucking unicorn.
- Take a deep breath.
- Moderate your voice and enter the world.
Yes, you get to share your opinion now, but this still means no yelling. And did you catch that word on the end there? Opinion. Unless you are Ben Affleck‘s beard, you know exactly as much about what went down at the Oscars as I do, so take it easy with the extra exclamation points and the turning red in the face thing. Feel free to ask me what I thought too, and leave an appropriate pause after every thought shared to give the illusion of pondering it. (Bonus points for waiting until people actually ask you what you thought of the Oscars to reveal your opinion instead of just honking it out from your cubicle like an indignant goose.)
If you successfully reached the end of that extremely lengthy guide — congratulations! You are a human being that I would not necessarily mind being around for several minutes today! What an achievement! If you didn’t manage to make your way through those four small requirements, feel free to close the door to your little hobbit hovel a little tighter and burrow deeper into the shadowy depths of the internet where your status updates can’t pollute my feed.
And now, having gone through all those steps myself, let me tell you my personal feelings about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting job, if you don’t mind. If you do mind, you get to leave this page and I will not come shouting down your chimney at you, I promise. Although it is pretty cool you have a chimney. You must be really rich.
ANYWAY. I liked Seth MacFarlane’s hosting last night. I was engaged, I laughed out loud several times; I thought he did a good job. Was some of his material offensive? Yeah, I think it definitely was. There were jokes that touched on race, homosexuality, nudity, misogyny, domestic violence, body image, Judaism, Nazism, promiscuity, and slavery. An impressive roster.
But before we get to that, can we take a second to acknowledge the ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ song? First of all, let’s agree as a group that those reaction shots to the song were pre-taped, right? Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, and Naomi Watts were wearing different outfits…aka they were in on that joke prior to its airing. So their facial responses to that song don’t get to be a part of your argument. You have to make your own, and some of you have. Which brings me to the second part of the backlash from this song — the part where you point out that four of the boob-sightings referenced take place in rape scenes. Sigh. This is tricky, because rape is a tough topic no matter what, but I honestly feel as if it’s being exploited here. In an appropriate scenario, rape scenes are placed in movies because they are crucial to the storyline. The women who are asked to play them are actresses who are, exactly that — asked to play them. They look at a contract detailing the scenes they will be asked to film, negotiate that contract based on their own comfort with it, and refuse to sign it until they are guaranteed the amount of money that makes them feel comfortable doing what is asked of them. If they aren’t comfortable, they don’t sign the contract, or they shouldn’t, anyway. This differs from an environment of actual sexual abuse in almost every single way. These actors who portray humans in situations of rape are not being raped themselves — they are people who do a job knowing that their work will appear in a movie and be opened up to criticism by strangers without the potential to be positive, negative, or wherever you think the ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ song falls on that spectrum. But to compare poking fun at the actresses in those movies to the victims of the brutal acts that are perpetrated on men and women every day in real life is to minimize the plight suffered by those people. I think it’s a disservice to the very people you’re claiming to protect, and for me, it’s more offensive than the song itself. If you can accept all these things and still not like the song, do your thing and more power to you, but I have absolutely no patience for people who didn’t even watch the goddamn Oscars reading some headlines off Vulture and implying that I’m somehow a misogynist because I’m not outraged On Behalf Of Women. Pipe down.
But getting back to that list — that would be an impressive and surprising roster of topics for someone like Helen Mirren or Hugh Jackman to cover during a single broadcast, but I don’t know that it’s that out of the ordinary for Seth MacFarlane. The Academy is aware of his record of offensive and borderline-offensive behavior, to the point that I’d bet they were even banking on it. After all, do you even remember who hosted last year? It was Billy Crystal, but I had to look that up and I don’t remember a single thing about his set, which is bad news for an awards show. Whether or not you liked it, you tuned in to the broadcast yesterday and you’re talking about it today, so Seth was statistically very successful. I personally thought that his opening material ran a little long and found a few of his jokes to be in poor taste — I didn’t like the Salma Hayek joke and the Chris Brown and Rihanna material wasn’t good enough to make me laugh through my discomfort — but I was honestly surprised by how restrained he was. He had a captive audience for close to four hours and actually kept it pretty tame, considering he really could’ve done whatever he wanted.
So feel about it however you like, but before you press ‘Enter’ on that Facebook tirade or butt in on your colleagues’ conversation to flick self-righteous spittle on their faces, ask yourself…is this really my opinion or is there maybe just the tiniest possibility that all I wanted was to be mad today?