I’m always torn about watching awards programs like the Oscars. You see, I LOVE movies, I watched 6 of the 9 nominees for best picture this year. But whenever I watch an event like the Oscars, it does cross my mind that while we are watching shiny people collect shiny statues for entertaining us, millions of people live on less that $1 per day. It reminds me of the meaninglessness of most of our first world pageantry. You’re not going to see slum dwelling children around the world saying, “OMG, did you see Jennifer Lawrence fall on the stairs at the Oscars?”
But I didn’t mention it at the Oscar party I attended last night because I don’t want to be a party pooper. You know, THAT person.
So I sat back and enjoyed the movie clips and montages and heckling with my friends. After all, taking some time out of my day for some entertainment wouldn’t be a detriment to solving the world’s economic problems, right?
So of course, I was surprised when Michelle Obama, stepped out of a National Governors Association dinner and using a remote satellite feed from the Whitehouse, was able to co-present the award for Best Motion Picture with Jack Nicholson. I’d say she was one of the best presenters of the night. But is that where a political person (and I do consider her that) should be spending her time and/or efforts? Or is she, like us, just taking time out of her day for a little entertainment?
She’s not the only one to do it
Nixon was on Laugh-In.
Nancy Regan was on DIfferen’t Strokes.
Ronald Regan sent a taped greeting to the Oscars and in 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke over the radio to an Oscar audience.
It’s not the first time a political person has been in popular media. But this morning, the internet was abuzz with opinions on whether or not the First Lady should have presented at the Oscars. Repeatedly noted was that this past week, she danced on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and met with Big Bird in the Whitehouse kitchen to promote her Let’s Move campaign. But was there anything wrong with these public appearances? Isn’t Mrs. Obama just promoting her projects? Morally, I don’t see a problem. But what about the political or social implications of these cameos?
While American’s have insisted on the separation of church and state since their country’s inception, it’s the separation of Hollywood and the state that we don’t seem too concerned about.
Remember those class representative elections and being told that it was just a popularity contest? When was the magical moment where we all crossed over and voted 100% on track record, foreign policy, economic aptitude? I’d say never.
We’d hate to admit it but lots of voting is done on picking the person you’d “like to have a beer with”. Do a quick test, whatever country you’re from or wherever you are on the political spectrum. Think of the last person you voted for. Try and write down their specific policies on the economy, welfare and military funding.
You can probably see where I’m going with this…
So is it safe to assume that a politician being so incredibly likeable and youthful may affect some of our voting decisions, particularly amongst young people? When politicians strive to prove they can relate to the average citizen, does hobnobbing with some of the richest people in society seem hypocritical? If so, does anyone care? And what does it mean when I logged onto Youtube today and two of the featured videos on the home page were this video
and this one.
Does it mean that the Obamas are grasping and tacky or do people value pop culture over public policy? Shame on them or shame on us?