Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscar Meyers- Another New Low for Hollywood

"And this year's Little Oscar for best documentary goes to...."

Each year, I make a vow not to watch the Oscars. The reasons are too numerous to mention. Let's just say that I find it repulsive to watch these self-consumed phonies prancing around for 4 hours congratulating each other for being so wonderful while half of the actresses try to outdo each other as to who can dress the most like Little Egypt.

For my wife, however, it's the TV highlight of the year. So I generally retreat upstairs to read a book or work on the computer. Usually, I have occasion to come down for one reason or another and manage to catch some actor, actress or director making a fool out of himself/herself.

This year is no exception. After sucessfully dodging the first three hours, I had to come down for dinner-just in time to see something that upset me. First, the show made what I thought was a nice gesture by having five soldiers in Iraq make an Oscar presentation by satellite. So far, so good. No sooner than that was finished, the next presentation was for "Best" documentary. Sure enough, that Oscar went to a documentary called, "Taxi to the Dark Side", about an Afghan cab driver taken prisoner by the Americans and taken to Baghram Air Base Prison, where he soon died under mysterious conditions. The film clip showed an American soldier (dressed just like the 5 previous presenters), taking a blindfolded Afghan out of a car and into a prison compound. The theme of the movie is an indictment of US Military interrogation techniques. The director, Alex Gibney, then went on to give us a lecture about Baghram, Guantanemo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, and the overall dark side of the War on Terror, in effect spitting in the faces of the five young soldiers previously shown in Baghdad.

Leave it to Hollywood.

It is obvious that the gesture of having Iraqi-based soldiers present an Oscar was nothing more than a propaganda ploy designed to convince the American public that Hollywood really is patriotic and "supports the troops". Sure they do. How many of these people have ever gone to Iraq or Baghdad to visit the troops? There are a few, to be sure, like Gary Senise, but they are few indeed.

As I write this, I don't even know what transpired in the first three hours of the show. God only knows since it only took 15 minutes for me to witness the above outrage.

I heard today that the ratings for the Oscars is declining every year. Apparently, more and more of the public is getting fed up with the antics of these talented, yet idiotic people.


Jessica Boots said...

Hello, I came across your blog looking for some opinions about this very thing. I wasn't sure if it was just me that was feeling that way. But I feel the same way you do on this issue! I try to stay away from those shows too! My heart felt so good about seeing the troops being included and then the LET DOWN! I took this very personally and being the spouse of a Military member it was a SLAP IN THE FACE! Shame on Hollywood and their leftist propaganda! My 2 cents for what it is worth!

Ingrid said...

Gary, I just finished watching the Oscars. I had taped the show because it is broadcast in Germany starting at 2 AM. I don't ever want to miss it. I guess it is a "woman" thing, as your wife well knows. WE need something that gets our minds away from all the miserable news, and what better way then watch some beautiful people saying meaningless things, and pretending that they care.

Gary Fouse said...

Thank you, Jessica. The next few days will show how many other folks picked up on this.

Gary Fouse said...


There is a lot of beautiful stuff out there in the world to enjoy. How about a beer garden ot beer cellar in Germany, good food, great music. Who needs the Oscars?

Ingrid said...

Gary, if you want to freeze your butt off in a beer garden in February, be my guest. But you are right, there are many beautiful things to enjoy. I still like the Oscars though.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Personally, I record the Oscars, so I can fast forward through about 2/3 of it.

While I agree with your point in general that Hollywood is full of a bunch of self-congratulatory blow-hards, I disagree with this particular problem that you're referring to. The common soldier and our interrogation techniques are two separate issues.

You called it propaganda, but it is propaganda to hide behind the phrase "support the troops" every time somebody brings up some criticism of the way that the war is being handled - or mishandled, as the case is in Iraq.

At what poing can we critique what's going on in Iraq? Now, if this documentary contains misleading information and fabrications, then let's hear about it - bring that up front. What if it's all true though? Should we shut up about it in fear that we might be hurting the troops? Don't you think it's possible that a lot of the troops aren't particularly proud of the way things are being handled either?

Personally, I think that the troops can speak up for themselves. To talk about them like they're little children who can't stand up for themselves is even more insulting. Don't you think it's possible that many of these soldiers were well aware of the kinds of documentaries that are being made? After all, many of them PARTICIPATE in these documentaries. Are they suddenly not for themselves when they do so? (Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that some are as equally offended as you - but last I checked, the soldiers don't all think with an all-encompassing hive-mind.)

Gary Fouse said...


I have no interest in visiting Germany in February. But if I were there in February, I would not be in a beer garten either. That's what beer cellars are for!!

Gary Fouse said...


You may be right that the phrase "support the troops" has been overused-by everyone.

Everyone, of course, has the right to criticize the war, and even the soldiers if they want. No one is dragging these people off in the dead of night. Conversely, however, folks like me also have the right to respond. (Don't forget that when you are in the military, you are very restricted onb speaking out publicly on political matters.)

In my view, Hollywood's criticism is pretty constant, and there is a pattern here. Not only do they oppose the war, but I think the overwhelming majority of them don't give a rip about soldiers either. I think they look down on them.

Are the soldiers big boys with varying opinions on the war? Sure. Have a handful of them crossed the line in the heat of battle? Probably so, but let's not forget that the military has taken action to punish and prosecute offenders. War crimes are not the policy.

I also remember the damage done to soldiers who fought in Viet Nam when they returned home and were treated like dirt by many who opposed the war. The biggest atrocity committed in Viet Nam was My Lai, and most veterans were sickened by it.

By the way, I haven't seen any of these "documentaries", but wasn't another anti-Iraq war documentary also nominated -as well as Sicko?

A pattern I would say. You might also survey all the Viet Nam movies made by Hollywood. With only a couple of exceptions, they portrayed our soldiers as being psycho misfits who were killing wantonly.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Well, let's not do the guilt-by-association thing by lumping in the other anti-Iraq War documentaries with what Michael Moore does. I've seen a few of them myself, including No End in Sight and The Ground Truth. Both of those were much more levelheaded (and less interested in self-promotion) than Moore's, and they pretty much just let the people who were involved in the events speak for themselves.

To me though, all this is skirting around the real issue - is what that movie is saying true or not? If so, does it reveal a greater truth, or is it just an isolated incident? Nobody seems to want to deal with that.

As for Vietnam movies, are you referring to documentaries or the fictionalized ones like Platoon? I've only seen the latter, and while they do show some soldiers as being psychos, they show most of them as being human beings with both good and bad qualities. Maybe you've seen some that I haven't though.

I do agree that most of the Hollywood celebrities don't give a damn about the soldiers. I think the same of most people with a "Support the Troops" bumper sticker too. That's the equivalent to Hollywood sanctimonious "AIDS ribbon" of about a decade ago. "Look, I care! I've got a ribbon!"

Gary Fouse said...

I have not seen any of these documentaries. Do they speak the truth? I don't know-what is the truth that they speak? That our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are routinely doing bad things as a matter of policy?

As I have said, the cases of soldiers crossing the line are what I believe to be isolated incidents that have been investigated and prosecuted by the military-and in some cases, the accused being cleared.

The Viet Nam movies I refer to are just movies. Aside from The Green Berets and We Were Soldiers (Mel Gibson), all the others I know of are anti-war, anti-military movies, like Platoon.

As for bumper stickers- I have only had one in my entire life-and that was a Steelers bumper sticker.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

No End in Sight is about how the war was mismanaged from the beginning, and it's basically a series of interviews with various people who were there and part of the occupation process. It really doesn't go into the common soldier's experience much at all - it's more of an indictment of the government.

The Ground Truth is a series of interviews with veterans of the conflict, and it's mainly about the lousy treatment they received when they got back home from the government. Definitely not an anti-soldier movie. I remember one guy who was suffering from post-traumatic stress and was denied treatment because they accused him of being a "conscientous objector" (which was ridiculous considering the amount of combat he'd seen.)

They're both good movies and worth checking out.

I disagree that Platoon is anti-military. Anti-war, sure? But all of the really great war stories are anti-war, going all the way back to The Iliad.

Gary Fouse said...


As to the first documentary you mention. I think everyone agrees that once the military victory was accomplished, mistakes were made in the aftermath. In other words, in securing the peace.

As to the second one, you will always be able to seek out and find soldiers who are disgruntled. Hell, being in the Army is disgruntling even if you are not in combat. We were complaining about things in Germany (should not have been) There were soldiers who acame back from Viet Nam and had turned against the war.

As to the inadequate health care for veterans, all sides are distressed to hear the horror stories about Waler Reed etc. All sides want our vets to get the best treatment available. But I might point out here that when John Edwards was going around the country talking about the 200,000 vets sleeping under bridges, the VA pointed out that they have an entire department with a multi-million dollar budget devoted to homeless vet issues.

Unfortunately, however, no one can force homeless people off the streets.