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And the Winner for the Best Slap Goes to...

by Gerard DiLeo 3 months ago in tv
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None of This Would Have Been Possible Without...

And the Winner for the Best Slap Goes to...
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

It was Sunday evening, March 27, and the stars, the A-listers, and even erstwhile celebs were convened at their annual meeting to back-pat, mutually admire, and distance themselves from all of the little people in the world.

The agendas were in full force, prodding us to embrace this and that, lest we be labeled this- or that-phobic. Embraces are private things, and the ones that are most sincere are discrete, personal, and privileged. As should be personal disagreements.

The awards show was as action-packed as many of the films being honored; there was as much pathos as the struggles portrayed by the actors playing their little people. The disturbing takeaways of the evening ranged from shame to the outrage of acting out on outrage itself.

I cite two crimes in particular that were committed that evening.

With a billion sentient entities watching, one member of the Academy struck another member of the Academy. As forcefully as it was unpredictable. Events leading to the slap against humanity (as all assaults are) are irrelevant, for we have spent millennia evolving extra convolutions around the reptilian parts of our brain that, otherwise, would have us strike others, forcefully and unpredictably, if we simply didn't like something or wanted something someone has. Or felt insulted. Or were "crazy in love," as someone who, this time, anyway, didn't have a gun handy. This assault, even without broken bones or blood or a gun, was a crime of commission--a crime of passion, the ugly side of passion.

The second crime was a crime of omission, committed against one Frank Herbert, no less painful a slap in the face.

Winners for special effects, editing, cinematography, etc., were responsible enough to thank all of their ancillary partners, without whom, they said appreciatively, the movie, Dune, would not have been possible; and certainly not their award. The omission?

The Oscar winners had praise for the contributions of everyone except one--the author of the novel. When you talk of things "without whom it wouldn't have been possible," should you exclude the actual person for whom that is true? When art imitates art, original artists get lost in the background between the typewriter and the Oscar. The creators of the original vision. The ones who labored to give it life. The red carpet welcomes the imposters but excludes the authors; allows the sycophants exploiting the work but not the laborers of the work.

Was it an "it goes without saying" thank you speech? No. It was an "it goes without giving credit where credit is due" incident.

What's worse? A crime of commission or a crime of omission? And do any of them really matter when genocide is occurring in Ukraine, at the behest of someone who wants something someone else has. And if he can't have it, he'll break it so no one else can. Or march up the theater stage--this time, the theater of war, and slap mightily the one he feels was laughing at him and his ambitions.

Can you really fight a dirty fighter without getting as dirty as well? Should Chris Rock have slapped or punched Smith back? In the end, grace and an ethos, based on being better than that, prevailed.

While a slap on the theater stage is nowhere near the significance of cruise missiles in the theater of war, it is the very nature of this particular gala to affirm Academy members' status above and beyond everyone elses' living their little lives or dying their little deaths. Whether it's one slap--or one sortie--at a time.

All of these scenarios once again ask us, "Aren't we better than this?" "Have we evolved beyond the caveman?" Will Smith answers, "No." Vladimir Putin, the same applied as tragic and unfathomable amplifications, says, "Nyet." Chris Rock said, "Yes, we are better than this." Unlike the war crimes in Ukraine, at least there were no guns, but it's a matter of degree, isn't it?


About the author

Gerard DiLeo

Writing full time now in Phase II of his life. Tangential thinking and hippocampal reality from left to right on the page.

email: [email protected]

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