If you weren’t around yesterday, it was a really good day to, like, skip the Internet. It’s usually pretty crazy the day after the Oscars, but the outrage machine went apoplectic yesterday. It was as though Salon and Slate got together yesterday morning and passed out their talking points, and the whole goddamn Internet just exploded with animosity. Things that we appreciated on Sunday night — Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, #AskHerMore — were belittled and shamed. Even Graham Moore — the screenwriter who won an Oscar for Imitation Game — got ripped on because he’s not gay, and how dare he confess that he wanted to kill himself when he was 16 if it wasn’t because he is gay.
The Internet is a goddamn terrifying place when people stay up past their bedtime and have to wake up and go back to their jobs on an hour less sleep. Some folks ripped me apart for being moved by Chris Pine’s reaction to Common and John Legend’s performance of “Glory” and their brilliant Oscar speech because I didn’t also mention that David Oyelowo was crying. Of course, Oyelowo was crying! It was the song from his film, a film in which he gave a magnificent performance (for which he wasn’t appropriately recognized) and he was standing with Oprah and Stedman. I’d have been weeping my hair out, too! It was a huge moment.
But Chris Pine was, like, a random dude out in the audience who had no relationship with the film — who didn’t even come with a date, as best I could tell — standing among a throng of celebrities shedding that single tear like a teenager at a Taylor Swift concert while the dude from Mad Men standing next to him was like, “Yeah. OK. That’s cool. Can I sit down now?” It was notable because it was so random, because the dude from Star Trek was like the single-tear Native America from the Keep America Beautiful commercial.
I was having a conversation with my wife over the weekend, in fact, about how terrifying it can be to write for the Internet these days, because you have to anticipate the reaction to every single word you write. It used to be that I could simply write for this audience — the readers of Pajiba who know us, who know our politics, who know what we stand for — without the constant fear of reproach, without being worried that someone will do to us what the Internet did to Justine Sacco — take an out-of-context, ironic tweet about white privilege among her small group of friends and ruined her life with it.
It is scary times, and you guys are our rock. Our place of sanity. Our escape from irrational hair pulling, and the place just went nuts yesterday (mostly outside of this web space, but it seeped in here some, as well). It used to be that the question about the Oscars was why they mattered — it was an empty ceremony belittled for being too congratulatory. And now it’s the thing that matters more than anything else. Hell, people we’re suggesting that Howard Dean’s meltdown speech be synced to Meryl Streep’s reaction GIF because her enthusiasm for Patricia Arquette’s political message should’ve been mocked for being too over-the-top?
That’s a suggestion I actually saw yesterday. On the Internet. That’s Meryl Streep, people. She’s goddamn Hollywood royalty, and if she wants to lose her shit publicly, I’m not going to mock her for it. I’m going to pump my goddamn fist right along with her.
Anyway, I leave you all with this, a clip from last night’s The Late Show, where David Letterman sits on the chair next to Helen Mirren (cause he’s all out of fucks these days), and reminds everyone that — no matter what movie a bunch of rich white dudes vote for come Oscar time — the real significance of Selma is not the awards it takes home, but “as a reminder of that particular story, and … you cannot be reminded of this story often enough … a lot of people don’t remember things that we take for granted because they were in our lives, so we have to keep reminding them of things, of events, that allow people to live the lives they are living now.”