Back in 1978 I didn't understand the controversy surrounding Vanessa Redgrave's acceptance speech at the Oscars -- and Paddy Chayevsky's admonishment later in the telecast. I understood the flak in 1993 when Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon ignored the script and made a plea for the people of Haiti. More people agreed with them but, just as in the former case, there was a consensus that the Academy Awards -- that award shows in general -- were not the place for political statements.
Sometimes folks were a bit more indirect. When Holly Hunter accepted an Emmy in 1990 for her role in the tv movie Roe v. Wade, she said she wanted to acknowledge people who stood up for what they believed in. (Really Holly? Like the Ku Klux Klan or Timothy McVeigh? Didn't you mean people who stand up for what you believe in?) Since she won for a role directly related, she wasn't taken to task.
But for the past few years now it has been creeping in little by little, getting more and more overt and now it's open season at award shows.
Whereas in 2004 Sean Penn made a vague reference to there being no WMDs, he accepted his SAG award last night making no apologies for his particular views. He and Tom Hanks are entitled to their opinions, but attacking those who disagree at the podium or on the red carpet has no place.
But tell that to Dana Delaney or Eva Longoria who seem to think that 1.2 million abortions per year in this country isn't enough -- we need more and we need to provide them beyond our shores as well. Don't be shy ladies, don't feel like you have to use veiled euphemisms. Tell us who you're wearing, and tell us how much money Planned Parenthood International should get.
But it's not just the stars shooting off their mouths: The SAG ceremony had a montage of "trailblazers" -- oh, how nice, I thought as they showed Lucille Ball and Gene Kelly -- oh wait, it's about those who broke the color barrier in Hollywood, ok that's cool -- but oh wait, now they have to throw in the scene from Maude where she decides to abort her baby.
Blazing a trail indeed. Just like Dr. Kevorkian.
Even though all is right with the world now that Obama is president, it apparently isn't enough. If anything, sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome have become emboldened, also coming down with Palin Derangement Syndrome and all kinds of other maladies that find them spewing political statements left and right. Everyone has an opinion and they're not afraid to tell it.
Come on folks. I want to see the pretty dresses. I want to hear about the exotic locations and the funny backstage stories. If I have to listen to a thank-you laundry list of everyone from your lawyer to your acting coach to your landscaper -- fine.
Just leave politics out of it.