I watched the Emmy Awards last night and I have come to this conclusion: Evolution is really about going backwards.
Megan Hilty (Click here for her OFFICIAL website) made me think it. See, I wasn’t REALLY watching. I was sort-of-half paying attention to the show while I furiously texted and Tweeted about everything that was happening. At the same time, I was reading other people’s texts and tweets and such and worrying that I was somehow less funny or prescient or Tweet-hip than were they.
I had just written a particularly EVIL and MEAN Tweet about Carrie Underwood’s delivery of “Yesterday”, bemoaning (again, I confess, this has been an ongoing complaint of mine) NBC’s decision to do a live version of “The Sound of Music” (which is, in itself, bad enough) and then to cast Carrie Underwood as Maria – which seems to me the most egregious sort of insult to the memories of everyone from the real Maria vonTrapp (but she was a nun once, so who gives a fuck) to Mary Martin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, to, well, she’s not dead yet but she did stop singing – so, Julie Andrews. And the way in which Miss Underwood delivered last night’s song did not in any way fill me with confidence that she could either emote or adequately sing musical theatre monologues – which we in musical theatre call “songs”.
And Megan Hilty tweets this:
The only time I don’t enjoy social media is during award shows. Why is everyone so mean? Check your feed – how many posts are positive?
So, I was shamed. I loveLOVELOVE Megan Hilty. I am still NOT recovered from the cancellation of SMASH. Megan Hilty is the kind of person who SHOULD be starring in live musicals on network television because she makes EVERY SONG into a brilliant three act play. Look, I still watch this video of her singing “THEY JUST KEEP MOVING THE LINE” all the time – she is telling AT LEAST three stories SIMULTANEOUSLY and is GENIUS (watch it. share it.):
And then … I started THINKING (in between texts and Tweets):
Theoretically, when humanity first started communicating its likes and disses verbally, events happened and were grunted from one to another person or group of persons, the oral tradition slowly moving stories from place to place. I have no doubt that by the time a tale made its way from one cave-enclave to the next Cro-Magnon community, it had been twisted and spun and colored by the prejudices and life-experiences of every teller along the way.
We like to think we’ve come a long way. There was the whole Gutenberg Press thing. And “standardized” education with its canons and such. And the informing fine arts which somehow devolved into the current crap-crop of movies and television. And too, once upon a time, there was a rich and varied plethora of newspapers and magazines and books, all of which seem to be disappearing – or, if one takes a more positive view – morphing into largely unedited interweb media product.
What we have, again, is cave-person gossip as news. Only, this news-gossip isn’t at all tenderized by time: there is no longer Monday morning quarterbacking or water-cooler moments, those discussions that used to happen after we had experienced something and had a chance to process it before hearing about it the next day on the news or reading about it in a printed paper; Now, everything is live and real time.
We are just so many Tweeting and Facebooking and everything-else-new-social-media-right-this-second-ing Cro-Magnons gone rogue and ridiculously judgmental. Myself included. And Ms. Hilty told me about myself.
So, what did I LIKE about the Emmys? Well, okay. Hmm. My imaginary boyfriend Derek Hough won the choreography award. But, then he thanked Mark Ballas. And I only JUST wrote how I felt about this – what, 2 days ago? (CLICK TO READ HERE).
Okay, then. Well, Neil Patrick Harris was the host. I love him. Look, I’m pissed off Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson didn’t win for AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM. Okay? And I’m pissed that AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM didn’t win. And equally pissed that BEHIND THE CANDELABRA did. I couldn’t even WATCH all of that. I’m betting most gay men couldn’t. I thought it was HORRIBLE. And the self-congratulatory press it did – mostly about the relentlessly hetero Michael Douglas and Matt Damon playing such blatantly gay roles – PUHLEASE. All of which was exacerbated last night by M.Douglas’s OFFENSIVE and JUVENILE acceptance speech where – well – here’s what I Tweeted then:
So, could I have been nicer? I guess. Can I be nicer? I guess. Is Twitter an evil influence? There’s a big fight going on in the literary world (click HERE to read about it in THE MILLIONS – which is a PHENOMENAL lit site I check DAILY) about it now, started by Jonathan Franzen cracking on writers who use Twitter to promote (click HERE to read it). Easy for him to slam, he’s a “big name” with a publicist to do his dirty work.
I don’t know. I left Facebook because – FOR ME – it was a drain and a strain and soul-suck. It got me a lot of hours back in my day, in my life. I don’t check Twitter nearly as much. I don’t have it set to notify me when I am Tweeted. So, I have backed off social media a bit. But not completely.
And I wonder if it has made us meaner? If this instant reaction, saying things to and about people without being near the people – I mean – being mean is easy from an electronic divide, right? It’s far easier to argue if you’re doing it without looking into someone’s eyes. It’s far easier to slam someone you’ve never met.
I mean, in the olden days, had I been talking about why I am not happy about Carrie Underwood and “The Sound of Music” – there was no chance she would ever have heard or read any of what I said. Now, remote though the possibility is that she’ll hear what I say – she does have access to all of the snark (as well as the love, when it comes to that – she has a lot of fans) and so – I am wondering, what is my obligation to the feelings of celebrities about whom I Tweet or write?
What is the risk one takes in being in the public eye? What is “mean” and what is legitimate public discussion about someone being right or wrong for a role or good or bad in a performance? What constitutes critique and what qualifies as attack?
And am I going to hell for thinking Carrie Underwood sucked last night?
Evolution. Hmmm … maybe the Tea Party Lunatics are right. Maybe it is a myth?