In “Sputnik Sweetheart,” Haruki Murakami writes, “If they invent a car that runs on stupid jokes, you could go far.”
In another attempt to appeal to younger audiences, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane was chosen to host the Oscars.
While ratings rose, viewership couldn’t save him from doing terribly, so badly that he addressed the audience when they remained silent. Ironically, he predicted his own demise in a skit about how he’d be dubbed “Worst Oscar host ever.”
Performance aside, most worrying was how the night relied on making fun of women. Moments after the broadcast ended, Buzzfeed.com published “9 Sexist Things That Happened At the Oscars.”
Some feel MacFarlane could’ve been meaner, others blame the writers. But lets shoot the messenger. Oscar producer, Brett Ratner, was fired for making sexist, crude comments but we know this kind of humor is what’s made Seth famous in his own endeavors.
He sang “The Boob Song,” pointing at actresses who’ve bared skin for film. When he wasn’t making fun of her name, MacFarlane resolved to sexualizing 9-year-old nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, joking that she’s 16 years from being too old for George Clooney.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow, follows the decade long search for Osama Bin Laden and the CIA agent who leads it (Jessica Chastain). MacFarlane said it proves that women are difficult and “ … have an innate ability to never let anything go.”
He alluded to eating disorders: “For all those women who had the ‘flu.’ it paid off. Lookin’ good.”
And made fun of Salma Hayek: ” … We have finally reached the point in the ceremony where either Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek comes on stage and we have no idea what they’re saying but we don’t care because they’re so attractive.”
Last year, filmmaker Keith Thomas, a professor who dedicates time to spreading awareness to anti-sexism efforts, was on campus to present “The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men.”
“Growing up, I remember thinking being called a woman was the worst, that I’d rather be called ‘gay.’ What does that say about how we think of women?” said one commentator.
“Humor, after all, can be an incredible weapon for social progress, but it can also be regressive: The more we pass off old stereotypes, rooted in hate, as normal — as MacFarlane did again and again … the longer those stereotypes, and their ability to harm people, will be in place,” writes The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber.
The worst part? The fact that we accept these jokes as easily as we breathe in air. Many ran to Seth’s defense saying “No one should be surprised,” and that is what‘s disturbing. This humor has become such a part of our culture, has integrated our lives so easily that we don’t second guess it.
Remember that in 85 years, Bigelow is the only female director to win an Oscar or that according to the Los Angeles Times, 77 percent of Academy voters are male.
When women speak up, they are labeled too angry, too loud and told to calm down, take the joke and stop being “femi-Nazis.” When they are quiet, they are labeled doormats and told to speak up. The Oscars were just another reminder that women can never win.
The best part of the Oscars? The end. Audiences could finally leave their televisions knowing they didn’t have to hear Seth again … at least until another “Family Guy” – “Cleveland Show” – “American Dad” rerun.