I'm kind of digging the small but significant progress in taking down E! and their inane "coverage" of the Academy Awards.
First, Patricia Arquette had the same idea as I did about responding to idiotic questions and requests made while women make their way down the red carpet to the award show. She called the mani-cam silly (it is) and responded to a request to enter the mani-cam by talking about her charity. Pretty much exactly like I suggested
a few weeks ago. It was not combative. It was calm. It was intelligent. It was aimed directly at Ryan Seacrest. And it was glorious. Patricia Arquette, I've never really given a lot of thought to you or your work, but you, ma'am, have just earned my lifelong respect.
See Patricia Arquette call the mani-cam silly
And then when she won her Oscar, she used her allotted time to remind the world about the salary inequality women the world over endure. I'm usually not a fan of celebrities using award stages to make personal political or charity statements. With notable rare exceptions, acceptance "speeches" in general bug me. I'm all for the short and succinct, "Thank you, mom and dad, thank you [writer], thank you, Academy for acknowledging my work." But, the pay inequality for women in the film industry (in all capacities, at all levels) is notorious. This was an appropriate forum to bring attention to the topic. Thank you, Patricia Arquette. I hope you earn more than your male co-actors in your next film.
Next on the E! take down: One of the E! fashion commentators took aim at dreadlocks worn by a young woman named Zendaya. Zendaya wore long dreadlocks to the Oscars. An E! commentator made comments that Zendaya must smell like patchouli or weed. I openly admit I had no idea who Zendaya is until someone sent me a link to her Instagram rebuttal to an E! commentator's remarks. But her level-headed response to the comments about how she might smell, and the insinuation that she smokes pot, show a maturity most 18 year old women do not possess. Maybe her publicist wrote the rebuttal, but even that shows a wisdom beyond the capacity of most teenagers. Zendaya did not start a Twitter war. She used (or had her publicist use) more than 140 characters to stand up to E! and their "jokes" that aren't funny. Of course the E! commentator is going for catty jokes. That's their thing. They make fun of peoples' clothes and hair. Which is my primary reason for hating E! so much. And now, here's an 18 year old woman taking them down. Some people are saying true class would be to not dignify the "joke" with a response. Normally I would agree. But a line was crossed. The "joke" was that dreadlocks = weed. If the E! commentator said, "Ugh, dreadlocks, c'mon, it's the Oscars, not Coachella" it would have been a catty not-very-funny joke. Ha ha. And silence would be the appropriate response. But, by taking it to the "she looks like she smells like weed" level is defamation of character and that warrants a rebuttal. The upside to all this is that the vapid, silly E! commentator just catapulted Zendaya to fame, and, Zendaya kept it classy with her response. So those of us who had no idea who she was a few days ago are now thinking, "I don't know who she is but yay her for slating E! for their inane and defamatory comments."
Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the pendulum swinging away from celebrity worship. Maybe the church of E! will have a few less members after these smart women use class and brains to outwit E!. Hey, a girl with a triple digit IQ can dream...
I know, I know. It's a stupid award show in Hollywood. It's insignificant. I have a love/apathy relationship with these things. I love movies. Even bad movies. But for the most part I am utterly apathetic about celebrities. I am baffled and bothered about why the E! network even exists, let alone thrives in the ratings. But. I love movies. So I'm guilty of indulging Hollywood. Not as guilty as people who regularly watch E!, or their inane fashion commentary, but guilty of bothering to watch the Academy awards. Guilty enough to have favorite actors, and harbor hope for them to win an Oscar (Micheal Keaton was robbed), but not guilty enough to care what they wear to the occasion.
There are real problems and real issues in the world and Hollywood is just a distraction, or a break from the harsh reality of life and the world. We need distractions now and again. However, we do not need to elevate celebrities and the "Hollywood lifestyle" to such a level that we lose sight of common decency and the fact that designer clothes, hair and superficial accoutrement like expensive jewelry that celebrities adorn themselves with (and are often paid to do so) are just that - accoutrement - and not worthy of an entire network devoted to them. If this is the beginning of the end of E!, then I'm on board.