Conor Fellin says he watched the Oscars. He observed the effect the Oscars had on those around him, which is no less reliable than actually watching the Oscars.
“No man is an island,” said John Donne. Or so I hear. I don’t actually know all that much about this man, except that his name is a part of the cultural landscape I have been forced to occupy.
Supposedly, he lived during the 16th and 17th centuries. He spent the first years of his life writing raunchy love poems only to later relent before God when faced with the inevitability of his own death. At least a few things are universal.
Bearing this in mind, I take up a question many have asked me in the last week: did you watch the Oscars?
Yes, I did watch the Oscars. I observed the impact that the Oscars made on people around me. Do I know the exact details? Of course not. Neither do you. At best you know the impact the Oscars had on your nervous system.
I know that the Oscars have caused an interminable chatter; my friends have rambled endlessly about how “Boyman” was cheated of its accolades. You know that the Oscars have caused you to perceive pictures on your television of people on a stage.
“You’re black,” says the kettle to the pot, unaware that both are merely comfortable anthropomorphisms in an insensible universe.
No man is an island. Rather, each man is a prisoner of the windowless cell of his mind, who hears echos of the world outside and is unable to distinguish the direct from the indirect, the near from the distant. He knows only the loud from the quiet.
Adam Lux says he didn’t watch the Oscars. He thinks that passively staring at a television hardly constitutes watching something.
The Oxford Dictionary defines useless as “not fulfilling or not expected to achieve the intended purpose or desired outcome.” This is what came to mind when a friend asked me if I watched this year’s Oscars.
Let me explain. The purpose of media, at least in this iteration of the human species, is to transfer information in some capacity or another. This is about as fundamental a definition as our postmodern society can achieve in relation to this word. This is apparent in the explosion of popularity of print media among college students who enjoy whining and think they have “artistic talent.” (a topic for another day.)
However there are few examples that so systematically fail at this definition quite like the Oscars. “Yes,” my readership cries, “tear those aristocratic elitists down, what with their ranking of artistic endeavours using arbitrary and secretive criteria.” But no, no. This is not what I speak of. It is not the inherent meaninglessness of the Oscars that is the problem. It is YOU dear reader.
You are a vacuum of information, but not in the good, kindergarten children way, rather in the book burning, internet censoring, goddamn commie way. Withholding the fact that the Academy is a baseless, esoteric, unqualified institution whose praise ultimately is foundationless, you did not really even watch the Oscars. Sure maybe wavelengths of light, supposedly representative of the physical matter and entropy of the Oscars, were received by your eyes and converted into electric signals.
And yeah, maybe vibrations in the air around the Oscars were recorded, transferred to your location and recreated. However does this really mean you “watched” the Oscars? Did you derive some grandiose “meaning” from this imperfect stand-in? If not, how come? Do you think you’re better than the Oscars? Huh, do ya? If you did, what the hell gives you that right! You think you’re so smart, don’t you.
Let’s say for a minute that these crude representations can actually count as the Oscars. But what information was actually transmitted to you? That some people got little naked golden statues and others didn’t. What does this have to do with movies? If anything you watched snide little kids trading action figures and called it meaningful. Useless, that’s what the Oscars are, BECAUSE OF YOU!