Climate change is on full-display with the fury of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast while in Hollywood there's the fury over picking Seth McFarlane to host this year's Oscars. In both cases something big is happening. How lasting is anybody's guess.
Sandy may be predictive of a lasting climate crisis on our planet. Seth may be predictive of a smaller yet still interesting crisis. The Oscars just picked the popular TV writer-producer to attract the younger audiences who have migrated to television programming, especially on cable. I can remember when I was asked to write for the Ace Awards Ceremony in the 1980s which honored the then new cable industr. However, today the old-time Ace has disappeared into the larger fold of the Emmy & Oscar. In the same way are the movies' old-time hosts about to give way to new TV faces like Mr McFarlane?
Then again, who cares...?
Well, I do because movies at one time were the cultural mirror of our society [see 'The Best Years of Our Lives,' 'The Pawnbroker,' "Dr Strangelove,' and 'The Godfather' for details]. Lately this mirror has cracked beneath the honored weight of such cable hits as 'Deadwood,' 'Mad Men,' 'Boss,' 'Damages,' and 'Boardwalk Empire.' There are those who argue that both movies and network TV have given up the high ground to the new guys on the media block. In the words of one critic: "You saw Hollywood turn to the past by awarding 'The King's Speech' instead of the future by ignoring 'Social Network.' "
The arrival of both Sandy and Seth carry a big punch. Whether a big message comes with their punch depends upon how Americans react in their wake. Here's one man's private hope: We take climate changes more seriously and take television reality shows more laughably. Come on, folks, we can do it!
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