The Emmys (AKA Self-Aggrandizement)
I waited for a day before writing about the Emmy Awards on Monday evening. They generated the lowest ratings in the history of the event. I didn’t want to be rash. But….
I saw a room of mostly smug, white millionaires, engaged in endless self-congratulatory nonsense and their pride at “inclusion.” As usual, the “patter” of the presenters was scripted and insipid. Just present the award! Worse, the inability of the award recipients to engage in intelligent speech was frightening. I began counting “ums.” The average presenter used eight, but the record was 15 (by an award-winning female writer, no less).
The emphasis was on diversity and inclusion more than it was artistry, in my view. For a white host—the pandering Stephen Colbert—to point out the “African-American talent in the room” was bizarre. Where were the Asians, or Native Americans, or Hispanics? Where does this identity fascination end? (I thought that presenter Dave Chapelle put this in perspective when he said, “I’m happy to see so many black people here tonight. I count eleven.”)
I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be black in this society. I do know that I would feel the subject of condescension when a white host took special effort to point out the black talent in the room, as if it were some kind of credit to the show or profession.
Colbert’s late night talk show was taking a beating from Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show until Colbert focused on beating up Donald Trump every night. Accordingly, he devoted a long segment of his monologue specifically to Trump-bashing and, even with a very liberal crowd, I didn’t hear uproarious laughter. No one is mesmerized by a one-trick pony.
And there was Alec Baldwin (who I think is a fine comedic actor) taking his shot as well (and a vulgar one). He’s claimed three times he’d leave the country if a Republican was elected, yet he’s still here collecting money in this country. Did he forget his passport?
We recorded the show and fast-forwarded through it. It’s far more painful than the Oscars (where there is the occasional real movie star, as there were a few at the Emmys such as Nicole Kidman) and the Tonys (where stage actors are articulate and don’t need a teleprompter to say “good evening”).
When will they realize that this is the entertainment business, not a political rally, and not a statement about gender-equality or identity politics?
Did I mention the show had the lowest ratings in the history of the event? That’s no coincidence. Unless, of course, you blame it on Trump.