Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscars for the Low-Information Voter

The Academy Awards for No-Nothings....
I saw Argo last weekend.  It was a pretty entertaining show that  mirrored a bit of today's headlines.  Unrest in the Middle East, an ineffective US foreign policy, a befuddled White House.  Package that up with good editing, a decent cast, a humorous Hollywood angle and a taut dramatic ending and what more could you want?  Not to mention director and actor Ben Affleck's underdog status going into award season?

Argo poster
Well, it just wasn't true.  Pretty much all made up.  Oh yeah, CIA operatives created a backstory for six Americans suggesting they were part of a Hollywood movie production in order for them to get out of the country easier - but it was nothing like the movie depicted.  They created mutliple faux story lines to make it "more dramatic" - even though they claim this was a true story that no one knew until now.

BS.  In fact many of this year's contenders have flaunted history.

Fifteen minutes.
In December, I saw Lincoln, and as a Civil War buff, I was expecting it to be a sweeping epic of masterful proportions.  Ultimately, I thought it was a incredible bore of a movie (and that James Spader, as a colorful lobbyist, was really the only interesting character).  From the baffling opening sequence of Lincoln being blatantly scolded by a black Union infantryman for not getting paid as much as "white folk", you pretty much knew this was a Spielberg homage to leftism - even though it should have been a profile about a courageous Republican president.

Since it's release, historians have criticized the film for its other innacuracies including the final scenes revolving around the vote to abolish slavery.  Not only did they mischaracterize how certain congressmen voted "for dramatic effect" they also did not pay attention to the means of order on how each representative voted (by alphabetical order instead of by state) which has upset many states and heirs as to their historical place in this vote.  This was a film that many of its participants boasted of its historical accuracy and it basically goofs dramatically about the part of the Lincoln's legacy it strives to highlight the most.

Philadephia freedom...
And then you have Zero Dark 30 which has been shrouded in issues since its release.  The reality is that any Oscar based on actual facts should go to Silver Linings Playbook because as Maureen Dowd said "we all know how crazy Philadelphia Eagle fans are"For once, I agree with her.

I understand dramatic license, but certainly in this age of low-information voters many people (i.e. votes) really do believe what they see on TV and the movies.  While the 300-page book Game Change covered Hillary's failed presidential campaign, John Edwards infidelity, and Bill Clinton's racism - the only context that was displayed by the HBO production was the 18 pages devoted to Sarah Palin.  And endless Hollywood awards.

The national media is not only distorting recent political news, but also our treasured national history.  There is no award for that.

No comments: