HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

February 26, 2007
From the Editor

John Turner


Despite Tom Shales's dismissive review of the Oscar show in the Washington Post, I still think it was interesting and entertaining. Shales and other cynics can't seem to grasp that the whole point of the telecast is to show the most beautiful people in America dolled up in their fanciest clothes. If you want to see them, then the songs, dances, and jokes don't matter much. If you don't, nothing added is going to make you like the program.

Ellen DeGeneres did a creditable job as host, which Shales admits. She's likable and added a fresh tone to the show, which is always what it needs.

I was glad to see Helen Mirren get the award for best actress. I've liked her for a long time, and her respect for the queen was invigorating. The dreary anti-snobbery snobbery towards the British monarchy reflected by some Americans deserves as many refutations as anybody can find a way to deliver.

For the rest, I didn't much care who won, since I had seen none of the nominated films. I think that's the first time in my life I have missed them all, and I don't know if that's a commentary on me or on the pictures. One of my problems is I've never been enthralled by life among organized gangsters. I know their existence is supposed to be intense and, in a way, romantic. But I can't seem to make myself care much what happens to them. I don't even watch The Sopranos.

Movies, after all, are important in our culture. Just how important, I can't say but anything that is talked about as much as they are must have some influence. Also, I like them to get notice if for no other reason that it splashes gobs of mud in the faces of people who think of themselves as being more moral than the Hollywood folk are. There are various obnoxious habits, but bragging about one's own morality by sneering at some other group has to be at the top of the list.

Next year will be the 80th awards, and, again, people will sigh and moan about the dullness of the program, and, then, go ahead and watch it.

You'll notice that in the editor's panel we have some links to web sites suggested by our readers. That's our compromise solution between not noticing them at all and reprinting them in full. I don't want the Harvard Square Commentary to move towards becoming a cut and paste operation, which considering all the material that's available on the Web, it could very easily do. So, if you find a site you think some of our readers would find interesting, send us a link and we'll pass it along, while reserving our main space for writers who want to appear in our publication.


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