We’re fairly close to Oscars time (February 24) and once again the culture takes center stage. After the latest horrendous killing of 26 precious beings, is it fair to ask if Hollywood is complicit in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings?
I wouldn’t make that specific connection but clearly, violence in our culture is having a negative impact on the impressionable and unstable.
I have some experience with the entertainment industry. I spent a couple of years learning the craft of screenwriting and practicing the art but unfortunately, I never made a dime.
I gave up eventually and headed back to the financial thunderdome. But I never stopped writing screenplays. Let me explain.
I’ve sent my script The End of Man to a few intermediaries who’ve said they’d do their best to get it on the desks of entertainment executives. I have a feeling that no one has read it. Perhaps worse, they’ve all read it and hate it. No, I doubt that. I know it has potential. But it appears that the new tuxedo I was going to wear for this year’s Oscars will have to continue to collect dust. I was certain that someone would have invited me as an up and coming talent. So what if I’m old. Oh well, not to be. Shame.
If only I had a chance to rock the world with an acceptance speech. What would I say? Well, culture has certainly been on my mind…
Thank you, thank you. Wow, this is fantastic. A year ago, I was praying that God would somehow participate in my life, but never would I have imagined He’d so magnificently answer my prayers. I’m standing on the world stage accepting the Academy Award for best screenplay. There are so many people to thank who have been extraordinarily supportive but you know who you are. I love every one of you and am lucky to count you all as my cherished friends.
But my heart aches. The love of my life, my muse, my confidante, my soul mate isn’t here to share this evening. She’s the featured headliner at Naked Appeal and couldn’t get the night off. Jasmine, baby, meeting you three weeks ago was the best thing that ever happened to me. See you soon sweetie. Oscar wants a dancie dancie.
You know, the seed for this screenplay was indeed a miracle from God. I had an epiphany to write about a spiritually bankrupt man who in the midst of an elaborate plot ultimately finds God. Guess what, fiction became my reality. In the process of writing The End of Man, in the context of living an immoral and lost life, I became my main character and now consider my new relationship with God an even better treasure than this statue.
Audible gasps from the audience.
If I could, I know I don’t have much time, but I would be remiss in failing to mention that the arts are such a powerful force for societal good. For those people who are fortunate enough to participate in the exercise of those arts, you and I, like it or not, can be wonderful beacons of good, both in our work and in our public lives. But there’s a flip side. Good always has an evil, jealous twin and I would submit the evil twin’s antics, the dark or twisted impulses of our work and life, are getting way too much exposure.
How so? First of all, I’m going to generalize, exaggerate and be a curmudgeon. I’m a little cranky since I started work on a musical about serial killers. But yes, we have moments where our works and acts should be applauded.
From what I see and read, a disjointed train of thought might point out that every fifth unmarried actress is having a child. Why is it that vanity, ego, envy and greed always vie for top billing? You’re more likely to see a Volkswagen tap dance than a saint emerge from Hollywood. Single, sperminating actors might want to take up a hobby other than seeding actresses. Superficial is the word for the day, every day.
A pause and quick glance around the room. The tidal wave of love that usually embraces an Oscar winner had already ebbed. You would’ve thought I was wearing a crucifix on the outside of my tux.
Why are we so quick to label people? Why are spirituality and moral parameters considered unhip? Don’t know the stats but is Hollywood worse at marriage than the rest of America? The contest for biggest breasts will never end but if my ship goes down at sea, my survival buddy will have participated––it’s precautionary. You’ve never heard of a raft sinking?
Children in commercials are contemptuous of their dumb parents. Let’s do BOTOX at one and abort the baby at three. Let’s save the whales and kill the family. Church is for weak-willed, crutch-leaning numbskulls. Ethics and morality are on extended vacation. Marriage is so fifties. Pornography is a career move. Violence is choreography. Repugnant is brave.
I could go on, and please believe me, I’m not throwing stones. My life is as checkered as anyone’s but the overall product of our collective work and the example of our lives should, in my humble opinion, be given a second look. Are we a decaying element in society? Distinguished members of the Academy, we can do better. I know it. Thank you again and God bless.
Not enough sugar-coating? Who turned off the applause sign? Is this mic on?
Testing … testing.
postscript: One of my friends suggested I was out of my mind to write the above. My humor can sometimes get me in trouble but as I’ve learned in my short blogging life, it’s a matter of finding one’s voice. And as it sometimes happens, sarcasm is a fine line often blurred. However, if my objective in a particular post is to make a valid point with humor, I will consistently strive to write pointedly but never try to offend. Of course, even Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount had detractors.