August 11, 2002
Zeke Calhoun is Craig Ziemba's liberal cousin from Boston.
By Zeke Calhoun
Only five weeks till my annual Emmy party, and I can't wait, even though watching award shows is somewhat bittersweet. As much as I adore seeing the glitterati stroll the red carpet and strike their photogenic poses amid the lightning storm of flashbulbs, I can't help but be saddened when I think it will probably be at least two or three weeks until the next time we'll be able to watch Hollywood gather again to honor their own.
We have the Grammys, Oscars, People's Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actor's Guild, Tonys, Emmys and countless celebrity roasts, but as far as I'm concerned, there aren't enough hours of prime time to honor the heroes of the silver screen.
In addition to giving actors even more exposure, the greatest thing about award shows is that it's important for America to hear what people who pretend to be other people for a living have to say about the issues of our day. Martin Sheen plays such a wise president on TV, that I'm sure he has a lot to say about tax cuts and the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. Alec Baldwin was so heroic in Pearl Harbor that I just know he must have important advice for the president on how to win the war on terrorism.
American viewers also need to be reminded every few weeks by the biggest stars alive just how important the National Endowment for the Arts is to our culture. Without your tax dollars, many artists would be forced to enter the free market and paint or produce something that someone would actually be willing to spend their own money to see. Art galleries would be full of clich paintings by Norman Rockwell and Winslow Homer instead of homoerotic, blasphemous, avant-garde art that shows real talent.
I just had a huge argument with my backwoods, conservative cousin from Mississippi. He thinks that tax dollars should be spent on defense, roads and education instead of promoting the arts. Thanks to Hollywood, bumpkins like him are a dying breed. By feeding today's children a steady diet of Will and Grace, Ozzie Ozbourne and CNN, we are steadily replacing old-fashioned ideas about morality, family, and government with sophistication, sensitivity and citizenship in the global community.
Award shows give actors and actresses the opportunity to take the stage to use their moment in the sun to push the whole spectrum of liberal causes. For instance, our machismo culture needs to be told that bravery is more than just facing danger on a battlefield in Afghanistan or rushing into a burning building to save the lives of strangers. True courage is also exhibited by playing an openly gay man on a network sitcom or by co-hosting a TV special with Rosie O'Donnell. The Emmy awards give heroes like these the medals they richly deserve.
Socially conscious people like myself also use Hollywood award shows to know which color awareness ribbons are in the vogue this season. Unfortunately, red, white and blue ribbons are still popular for now, but I am confident we will be moving away from such overtly patriotic themes in the near future.
While I understand the desire to be supportive of New York City (especially since Hillary Rodham is their senator), I think we should be sensitive to those who feel wronged by the United States and refrain from public displays of the American flag.
Just five weeks left to plan the party of the year. My friends and I will sit on cushions eating fat-free tofu, watching Whoopie and toasting the brave new world with herbal tea.