For three and half hours last night, Seth MacFarlane did exactly what people expected him to do as host of the Academy Awards: Turn it into an episode of Family Guy. That part’s ok, I guess. What people are not ok with was some of his jokes, because they were about people who are powerless nobodies who are utterly incapable of defending or speaking for themselves (as are all rich, famous Hollywood stars). Good thing we have journalistic superheroes like Gawker to give them a voice! For their part, they put together a clip of all of Seth’s “offensive” jokes and then said some mean things about it themselves, because apparently it’s ok to say mean things about someone as long as that person said mean things first. Via Gawker:
At this point there’s no question that Seth MacFarlane was a terrible Oscar host. Not only were his jokes unfunny, tired, self-centered and boring, but also incredibly sexist, homophobic and racist. Boob jokes. Diet jokes. “No homo” jokes. Rape jokes. Abuse jokes. Slave jokes. Jew jokes. And to add to the atrocity, the whole act was punctuated by MacFarlane’s absurd preoccupation with whether or not he was a good host, which—as mentioned—he clearly was not. So perhaps he was right in asking “what did you expect?”
For one thing, no one is a good Oscar host. It’s a thankless job. If his stint as a host was an “atrocity”, then so was everyone’s. Secondly, I forgot about the new laws enacted that make it illegal to make jokes about things that are real, like boobs, Jewish people, gay people, and Chris Brown. Is making said jokes tasteful? No, maybe not, but making a joke about gays or jews or women doesn’t necessarily make someone a homophobe, anti semite, or misogynist. I’ll give you some advice, for free: If you are a lady in Hollywood who would be aghast at the thought of someone making a joke about the fact that you showed your boobs in a movie, then do not accept millions of dollars to show your boobs in a movie. Oh wait, I hope I’m not being sexist and holding back women in the workplace. Via The New Yorker:
The women were not showing their bodies to amuse Seth MacFarlane but, rather, to do their job. Or did they just think they were doing serious work? You girls think you’re making art, the Academy, through MacFarlane, seemed to say, but all we—and the “we” was resolutely male—really see is that we got you to undress. The joke’s on you.
Dammit, there I go again. These poor women are just trying to eek out a living, and here’s Seth MacFarlane belittling them when all they’re doing is putting in a hard day’s work. The problem with that is that as an actress, your job is to be viewed. Watched. Seen. Judged, even. Hell, all of us are judged at our jobs. That’s how our employers justify keeping us around. The difference is that for most of us, our jobs don’t entail taking our clothes off. And, all that aside, if you think that a filmmaker includes nudity in a film for purely artistic purposes (particularly in a major-release film), you’re kidding yourself. Sure, artistic endeavors take us to weird places, but if you don’t want to do nudity then don’t do nudity. If you do, don’t be surprised when a bunch of dudes want to gawk and make a show of it. As the public, we are under no obligation to not judge someone just because they made a movie. What about just doing what you’re paid to do leads the author to believe that you’re automatically entitled to respect and immune from comedy or scrutiny?
In general, all the attention around MacFarlane’s otherwise unremarkable hosting stint calls attention to a greater trend within online media, the idea that the world would be a better place if everyone would just stop saying mean things about other people. Would it? Yes, I suppose it would be, but it’s never, ever going to happen. But sites like Gawker, emboldened by the notion that they are speaking out for groups that are presumably Less Fortunate, have no problem flinging a bunch of “-ist” words at Seth MacFarlane until something sticks. What’s their goal? Do they think that maybe, with enough negativity, everyone will turn against any person that says or does something that they don’t like, that the masses will finally “see the light” and join them in their moral and intellectual superiority? Remember, we’re not even talking about genuine “hate speech” here, just things that offend some people. I’m all for societal progress, and I understand the function and necessity of groups who Fight the Good Fight, but I don’t think that trying to censor the majority in order to protect the feelings of a relative few is an effective strategy. This is the kind of bullshit that happens when you let millennials run media companies.
Free speech is a protected right, as long as you only say nice things.