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The Oscars are over and done with, thank goodness. I don't even have television and by the time they finally rolled around I was sick to death of hearing and reading about them. Good thing I don't have television or I might have been driven completely mad and ended up taking myself out back and beating myself over the head with my kid's middle school fake gold debate trophy.
I don't know about anyone else, but I can't help feeling that every year the whole Oscar business is becoming exponentially more annoying. And it does so, even though there seem to be a thousand other entertainment related awards events televised during the year. The only time I watched any of them in the past 20 years is when my mother made me watch them with her. She loved those award shows. She loved the entertainment industry. I mostly try and isolate myself from it like some horrible, grumpy hermit. I don't care what anyone wore, I don't care what anyone did, I don't care if anyone is over or under weight or who's husband or wife they stole. I just don't care. It isn't that I don't admire people with excellent skills – I do. I have a great deal of respect for people who are fabulous at lighting, set design, sound, editing, special effects, and especially writing, you know, all those people you never see and no one knows or cares about. And there are some excellent actors, although it would make a lot more sense if those 4 people just kept winning the awards every single year. The rest of them could become car salesmen or missionaries in the jungle and I would never miss them.
Unfortunately, things will never change because making icons out of entertainers and sports figures seems to be a thoroughly ingrained part of the human condition. Actors and athletes have been idolized long before there were movies or tabloid press. There have been periods in history when they have taken seriously dips in their popularity but they always come back eventually. There were even times when the writers and composers were idolized as much, if not more than the entertainers and performers, although I rather suspect that those days are long gone. Imagine some poor agent or PR person trying to deal with Beethoven. “Ludwig, you have got to go to a stylist and do something about your hair, the demographics are killing us!” Good luck.
In ancient Greece and Rome actors were appreciated but generally thought of as being a sleazy bunch, but athletes and gladiators were worshiped. The Greeks made heroes out of playwrites and musicians and subsidized their Olympic athletes, which was rather nice of them. Athletes often had sponsors, just as they do today, but they were usually very wealthy individuals who were either sports nuts or used their sponsorship to enhance their status. The Romans loved their chariot racing teams in the same fanatical and sometimes violent way that fans love their soccer teams today, complete with riots and the random beating of the fans of their hated enemy team. The teams were known by colors; blue, green, white, etc., and fans always wore their colors on hats or scarves or cloaks to show their loyalties. I'm sure they got hammered and had the equivalent of tailgate parties. Maybe they had back of the donkey cart parties or something.
Romans appreciated performers but thought them rather sleazy. They didn't mind paying entertainers or even owning them, but they certainly didn't want them joining them at dinner parties or hanging around the senate. Gladiators, who were essentially slaves, were frequently adored. They had to be able to fight but it was considered especially profitable if they also looked good so that they drew large crowds and the ladies loved them. While most of them were basically cannon fodder and were expected to go out there and get injured or die like good slaves, a few of them were serious rock stars. Rich people showered them with gifts, invited them to parties, and even purchased their favors, if you know what I mean. Both sexes bought little bottles of their sweat because they thought that drinking it or rubbing it on their bodies would make them stronger, sexier, or more fertile, (yuck). If gladiators made enough money and lived long enough they were allowed to buy their freedom, at the discretion of their masters, although how often that actually happened is debatable. Nobody gives up a good horse before it is all broken down anyway.
The Romans were a bloodthirsty lot, there is no doubt. Although, if you think about it, there are plenty of people who would not tune into the Oscars if there were no one losing or making a fool of themselves, not watch car races if there were no crashes, would not care about hockey if there were no blood on the ice, love to sit ringside and watch two men pound the stuffing out of each other, and wait impatiently for the football season so that they can see a whole bunch of really big guys slam each other into the ground. Maybe the Romans were bloodthirsty, and maybe they were just more honest about it.
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