The State of the Union
Betsy's Page reveals a teacher's view of how a high school classroom of Advanced Placement (AP) Government students of all political persuasions reacted to President Bush's State of the Union address (via neo-neocon, who also offers an interesting discussion and critique of the political theater; read both).
Still, there is the obvious question of Oscar's relevance. Historically, the best picture list contains at least one big, popular film. But this year what Americans have seen in great numbers — "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "War of the Worlds," "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith," "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" — did not meet the academy's standards of excellence in the acting or directing categories either.
So will Americans care about a ceremony that honors films they haven't seen?
Nope. Sorry. We haven't watched the Oscars for years, though my family roots (previous generations and me as a child) were movie-crazy, seriously star-struck (remember the old "Photoplay," "Modern Cinema," and other movie star magazines?), and the Oscars up until the 1980's or so used to be a big TV event for all of us. When we lived near L.A. we still followed it, as part of the hometown industry. Old loves die hard.
But now the Oscars and Hollywood have passed through tawdry and gotten boring, insular, irrelevant, and consequently ignored. The Academy Awards thing no longer speaks to me, as neither do most of the films to come out of Hollywood. I cast my own votes for films at Netflix and occasionally at the box office, where incidentally, a Golden Age of children's movies is going on, if anyone in Hollywood cares to notice.
And while the ghosts of Hollywood still inspire us with the old silver-screen magic, we're not lacking for entertainment here in the hick hayseed heart of America.