1. Entertainment is Totally Decentralised
Before the advent of television, people would see big Hollywood films in cinemas and at the end of every Oscar year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would award the ones they thought were the best…or the ones their friends made, or the ones whose makers bribed them, or the ones whose stars ate and drank in the same restaurants and bars as Academy voters.
In the 1950s, the popularity of television panicked the film industry, but new technology like wide-screen films and surround sound saved the industry.
Today, the pictures aren’t getting bigger but smaller and more mobile. When one can watch films both legally and otherwise on mobile phones and other portable devices, the mystique is gone. Entertainment has gone from gourmet to cheap fast food. There is no going back. People have other priorities. Watching a long boring ceremony where celebrities gush over films people view in bits and pieces as they ride the bus, is no longer essential viewing.
2. The Democratisation of Celebrity
Whether it be Paul Joseph Watson ranting about his hatred of liberals, PewDiePie talking about video games, football experts debating the last game or a cat being frightened of a cucumber, the DIY model of celebrity is becoming ever more pervasive.
What’s more is that anyone can now make their own on-line video and some of them command the kind of numbers via subscription that Hollywood filmmakers could only dream of.
Whether watching your uncle get drunk at wedding or watching independently funded commentators on everything from sport to politics, video games to music, the idea of celebrity is less about how many kids you can adopt in your Beverly Hills home and more about your number of views on YouTube.
3. Preaching Is For Church–Entertainment Is For Hollywood
Many seem to not have received this particular memo. Whether cowboys and Indians, mafia gangsters, space aliens or clowns, Hollywood used to be primarily about escapism. Now, from the films Hollywood promotes to the Oscar ceremony itself, Tinseltown has become like CNN with slightly better plastic surgery.
If people wanted hours of anti-Trump rhetoric they could indeed turn on CNN or read the New York Times. If inversely they wanted pro-Trump rhetoric they could turn on InfoWars or Michael Savage.
The Oscars isn’t supposed to be a political grandstand. Indeed, when Marlon Brando tried to make it so in 1973 by having a Native American women accept his Oscar and giving a speech condemning the treatment of Native Americans, he was roundly criticised.
In 2017, the entire thing was like being at a Hillary Clinton rally. Frank Zappa said that ‘politics is show business for ugly people’. By the standards of this years Oscars, it is now the other way round.
4. America’s Declining Living Standards
At a time when many working class people had stable jobs that could lead to easy home ownership and a decent quantity of modern material goods, one looked to wealthy celebrities with a combination of awe and intrigue, but rarely outright jealousy.
Now though, the of collapse of well paying industrial jobs that both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders talked about endlessly during their campaigns, is making overpaid celebrities appear as though they live in a parallel universe vis-a-vis ordinary people. When entire towns in America’s so-called ‘rust belt’ are destitute, these people won’t want to spend their time gazing at people whose shoes cost more than three months of their former wages.
5. Truth Is More Entertaining Than Fiction
Many people deride Donald Trump for being the former star of a reality TV show, The Apprentice. But The Donald has a knack for keeping people entertained. Growing up, many people I knew thought that ‘politics was boring’. In many ways it was, in hindsight.
But it is hardly boring anymore. With President Trump Tweeting away and his enemies attacking him left and right, it would be hard for even the best screenwriter to come up with something as fast paced.
So yes, I suppose the Hollywood elite do have some cause to be angry with Donald Trump. He’s outdone them in the light entertainment division.
If none of those explanations are satisfactory just remember that the actual Oscar ratings were very high. The low numbers are the result of Putin personally hacking the numbers. John McCain is all ready on the case.