....LMB: "Los Oscars"....

February 29, 2004

It's been quite some time since I actually cared about the Academy Awards. I think I started losing interest as early as high school, primarily because the awards show itself was only entertaining for brief moments of its seven-hour span. Categories no one cared about, lousy musical numbers, awkward/forced patter between bizarrely coupled presenters, and Billy Crystal, who contrary to popular belief, is not really very funny.

I further lost interest in the things with the proliferation of awards shows. For quite some time, you just had the Big Three, the Oscars for movies, the Grammies for music, and the Emmies for TV. Then they added in the Golden Globes and the Peoples Choice Awards and the Billboard Awards and the American Music Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards and probably a half dozen I forgot, diluting any importance from those first three (if indeed they had any importance in the first place).

And then I started learning about how these awards are selected in the first place. I think I first got suspicious when AMAs started. Academy awards are selected by the Academy, the Peoples Choice Awards were selected by the people, who the hell picked the American Music Awards? Suddenly all of this stuff was very suspect.

For the Oscars, I guess I'd always assumed that the Academy was a handful of prestigious movie folks who would gather together and select winners, like a cinematic Supreme Court. Not so.

The Academy is made up of more than 6000 people who are in some way affiliated with the movie business. While some of these 6000 put much consideration into making selections on their ballots, others don't. For example, I met a guy back in college who's dad was a member of the Academy. He told me that every year when his father got his ballot, he gave it to his kids to fill out.

I've also seen interviews with comedian Dennis Leary in which he claimed that on his ballot, he first voted for movies he was in, then movies his friends were in, then movies that his friends' spouses were in, then for movies with hot women in them.

I'm not sure which should be more disillusioning, the Academy children voting, Dennis Leary's method of selecting winners, or the fact that Dennis Leary is considered good enough to be a member of the Academy.

So that's the Oscars (and by extension, most entertainment awards): a bunch of people you don't know, vote to honor the artistic achievements of a bunch of other people you don't know.

Hooray for Hollywood.

Posted by Jake at 09:36 PM | TrackBack (0)
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Failure.

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