And The Winner Is...
H O L L Y W O O D !
And The Winner Is...
H O L L Y W O O D !
A V I R T U A L R E A L I T Y P A R A B L E
Scene: Oscar Awards Ceremony at the cavernous theater rumored to be a secretly funded prototype of NASA’s earth-life colony on Mars. Having delivered the de rigueur f-word Trump jokes, the MC has turned the podium over to the featured presenter, a shamefully expensively if shamelessly un-dressed, surgically refurbished virtual female of time-warped age. For all of that and much more she has been commissioned to present an unusually long and heart-felt foray into Hollywood culture and heritage. From her preprogrammed cortical augmented intelligence implant (some wags call it enhanced lip sync), she delivers the climactic panegyric, as follows:
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, the single award we’ve all been waiting for, the award never before granted, the newest and most cosmically crucial award ever: Hollywood’s crowning award, the award for most awesome double-jointed self-back-patting, Hollywood’s award to itself – to HOLLYWOOD. To Hollywood and its culture, the crowning culture of all cultures! Athens, Machu Picchu, eat your hearts out! Hollywood, whip out your iphones and snap those selfies!”
Cannonades of guffaws, applause, selfies!
“And to represent Hollywood and everything it is, this never-before-offered award is to be presented to the one person whose lifetime career has unquestionably best created, empowered, caricaturized and characterized Hollywood and Hollywood Culture.
“So let the world behold the Hollywoodean culture, the wonder of the world: the spurting synthetic blood, enough to fill 58 Olympic size swimming pools every day; enough, if oil, to put Saudi Arabia and OPEC out of business in a week, or if real, to depopulate Machu Picchu of human sacrifices in a day. [Actual nano-clips of award-winning gore flicks are being holo-projected onto unnumbered aircraft carrier-size screens around the theater and the world while the presenter speaks.] The cutting-edge algorithms and wavelet turbulence special effects machines erupting mushroom and computer-generated odd-shaped explosions which make Kim Jong-un’s hydrogen bombs look like fire crackers, just ahead of which expertly coiffed celebrities scamper smack into the camera’s void. Behold in awe those hyper-tech 1-ton comic book machine guns that super heroes bandy like chop sticks, gunning down untold numbers of rock concert goers to rock and roll background music, and its Lowe’s-tech chain saws whirling through femoral and carotid arteries; adorably dripping severed heads and dripping limbs, and the dripping hand-gouged out hearts and livers and bashed mushy brains. Oh, sing of our special effects costing more than the Manhattan Project and Obamacare combined and more terrifying than ISIS.”
Genuine, real clapping of real hands! Applause! Applause! Ha-ha-ha!
“Ours is passionate adulation of creativity and yoga and mind-altering drugs and acid treatment of the human condition’s doleful condition. We gaily celebrate homosexuality and the closet it once occupied we have declared a national shrine, and the sea-to-shining-sea adultery and fornication, rape, perversions of all stripes and slashings yet to be released as pixels, the creative alcoholism and abuse of just synthesized substances and those of extinct civilizations, all with award categories and captions for the deaf. The happy little lies that Fred Astaire tapped out faster than tap dances and big time disinformation maxed out in documentaries!"
Applause! Applause! Applause! Guffaws galore!
“But for real live award-winning prevarication – in this town it’s not deceit – behold our awesomely Oscared, extremely made-over and pawed-over, ultra-talented actors and actresses who have been so trained by our best universities and coaches and gurus to act out what they aren’t and what isn’t real. People just don’t realize the talent and years and years of coaching and training and grinding practice, and harassment, you fantastic people have endured to so convincingly and apparently naturally project what you aren’t. Heart surgeons, rocket scientists, eat your hearts out! The lives and souls and livers and vaginas of these devoted people have been given to the altar of Hollywood. Once long ago merely stars, they are CELEBRITIES, larger than life, larger than mere kings, larger than reality. Being a pro forger doesn't absolve you, but being a pro thespian apotheosizes you. They are the new role models, they and filmmakers, not prophets, professors, nor mere mothers. Down with patriarchal society, up with celebrity society. In tweets, rallies, or press conferences or Barbara Walters interviews their voices are louder and more heeded than Trump’s or the pope’s. What we are seeing are beings more ardently worshiped than are Buddha or St. Bernardino. More idolized than Baal. Their asses are kissed but not their feet, which, while OK for a Mother Mary statue in a cathedral alcove, would be big bucks sexual harassment this week. Celebrities are what make Hollywood work and the world go round!”
Applause! Applause! Applause! Hurrah Hurrah! All of it heartfelt, genuine!
“And we must not forget our talented and creative ‘critics’ – that’s another Hollywood mutated word, they’re really sycophantic parasitic circus hucksters -- who write reviews and thumbs-up of our products, rhapsodizing what through history had been the most unthinkable immoralities and crimes. But to hear our ‘critics,’ all this is admirable and awardable, made so by the abracadabra of calling it Art, the true art, inspiring fans to don joker costumes and zombie masks and paint their faces and shoot up theater audiences, school kids, concert goers, or pedestrians, whereupon forests of votive candles are lit and the movie version rushed to a theater near you, thus completing the glittering cycle. Art! Blessed Art, award winning Art, transcendent, transmogrifying Art! Art as only Hollywood can create it. Picasso, eat your heart out.”
Applause! Applause! Applause! Applause! Knee-slapping laughter!
“And all this chaff is miraculously choreographed and stroboscoped into wham-zoomed confetti perceived not consciously but subconsciously. If in the pioneer days Hollywood’s crude film projectors flickered, such sad slow-motion flickering, now digital projection is a seamless stream but chopped and minced, stroboscoped into nano-confetti pixels. These nano-pulsating whams are conducted from the viewer’s eyeballs directly south to the primitive brain stem short-circuiting the conscious brain, rendering virtual reality more overwhelmingly real than conscious real literal reality could hope to be!
“Virtual reality is more real, even more spiritual in ways that are no surprise to you there on your yoga mat, than real literal reality, more real than your mother, all the better to crash your motherboards. It’s not just virtual reality, it’s surreal reality, in 3D, and, coming soon to a screen near you, holography and augmented reality. Virtual will be so yesterday. And that's how Hollywood wants it!
“We make virtual reality so beyond the merely real you can’t actually compartmentalize it and leave it at the theater with your empty popcorn bags and chewing gum stuck under your seat. You assume you can walk away as you came in. Our ‘critics’ schmooze you into thinking so. In the theater, you weep, sob (that old sobbing organ background gets you by the lump in your throat.) On the way home, laugh your head off. In the theater, the adulteries involving the same or some other gender that you see happening in bed are Oscar-winning art as artfully performed as a ballet. At home if you caught your wife imitating art, you wouldn’t think of applauding, unless you are an advanced lover of virtual art. Then you’d award the guy, or the girl, for his or her expertise and put the uTube online. If you’re old-fashioned you’d more likely shoot him but not her (you’re still too much a gentleman, or you might just get in bed with her), or get a lawyer, for a divorce if you are old school. Or an agent. Or, especially in Hollywood, go to a shrink for expensive sympathy, not for sorting it all out. That’s not why you go to him. Or her. ”
“Old Plato figured nothing is really real. What seems to be is what your eyeball imperfectly perceived, not what was actually out there. Now that’s a super award-winning idea which popped into Plato’s head while he was just sitting in his chair. But that was 3000 years ago. Now we call it virtual reality, and it still isn’t what’s out there but what comes to you from your screen, while, like Plato, you are just sitting in your chair, only you’re not thinking at all but chewing pop corn. Pre-Hollywood Hegel brought in dialectic contradictions even if Sam Goldwin never heard the term but flipped them off like dandruff. But now we have award-winning postmodernism, a really today philosophy which says that not only is nothing real but also that the award yesterday’s virtual reality got is dis-awarded today. What was awarded yesterday is today’s outrage. Hollywood is the top banana of vanities.
“Would you believe that some sour old psychologists and preachers once petitioned the surgeon general to declare virtual reality, certainly in the heavy doses we throw at you, bad for your brain. That’s so yesterday! So who cares! Reality, eat your heart out! Surgeon general, eat your heart out.”
Ear-splitting demented applause, drowning out 8 full-decibels rock bands!
“I love your Applause, and Hollywood deserves every bit of it, but, ladies and gentlemen, we need to get serious for a moment. And seriously, all this awarded faux blood, awarded lies, art for award’s sake, all this award-winning virtual reality is just the trailer to the main attraction -- the reversal, the repudiation of every value known to man or God, or the dictionary. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s creativity. We don’t tell lies, we give fiction twice (the screen scenario isn't much like the book) and call it imagination. It’s not prevarication, it’s playfulness, and we all need to play, do we not? What was once the soul of evil is award-winning ecstasy, we aim for the g-spot, and art to boot! Every old adjective for evil is replaced with ‘award-winning,’ that’s a great leap forward, now isn’t it? If being burned at the stake didn’t force one to recant, Hollywood’s fake conflagrations tickle us into scoffing at what we once would die for. May I have an amen? Hollywood has brought not only the suspension of disbelief – don’t you love that phrase? – but total abolition of belief in anything, certainly God. God is gone; super heroes are here, leaping over tall buildings. Nothing is black or white. A full 250,000,000 shades of shifting dishwater gray exceeding the pixel gamut.”
Gaffaws! Gaffaws! Applause! Applause! Applause! Standing ovation for the pixel gamut!
“But that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the start. There’s so much more. Before Hollywood, humanity had always been shackled in guilt. Hollywood has brought not only entertainment but liberation! Hollywood liberation means doing whatever you damn please, anything, as long as it’s award-winning degradation. You’ll know that you are truly liberated if you and everybody – your pastor and the whole massive media too – are in lock step. Everybody is in sync. Yesterday’s outrage or hurrah will be today’s hurrah or outrage, and you jolly well had better get what’s hurrah and what’s outrage straight. Right now outrage is in, hurray is out. Got that? But beyond that, you don’t even try to keep anything straight. Liberation means not knowing whether you’re being liberated or mutated. It means going gaily every which way but up. And not caring.”
Applause! Applause! Applause! Hurray Hurray! Outrage Outrage! In exquisite choreographed carefree sync.
The presenter raises her arms and gestures to the audience to ease up on the uproar. Finally she proceeds: “I could go on. And on. There’s so much to say about Hollywood culture. But, NOW, I have the honor of presenting this century’s lifetime career award to the one person best manufacturing, idealizing, and personifying Hollywood Culture, the one person on the planet who, for a whole week, 7 days, could focus the media’s whole attention squarely on Hollywood and himself, oblivious to Kim Jong-un’s blowing up Seattle and the fires consuming Napa Valley’s wineries, just a week after that other famous Harvey created a problem for Houston, we couldn’t have arranged a better build-up! But that's just the beginning, friends! Our winner turns out to be this week's absolute outrage. How could an award be given to such an outrageous, such a despicable person! He is this weeks typical MAN -- men are the bane of mankind, er womenkind! He should have his awards withdrawn, not given! He takes the cake, not the award, surely! Ah, that's this week talk. Anyway, he's being given a lifetime career award, not a This Week award And as to his this-week's outrageousness, is it itself not parabolic of what Hollywood so strives to do -- create virtual reality and liberate us all from old time morals? All the more timely a reason to heap upon our nominee award upon award! May I have the envelope, please”
Engineered pin-drop silence, nary a cough in that whole cavernous theater or the whole galaxy, nary a breath! ---
“…and the winner IS [strategic pause; transcendent smile] “… is Harvey WEINSTEIN! Our own HARVEY! Harvey Hollywood Weinstein! This week's Outrage to end all Outrages. Maybe even next week's!"
The audience roars a seismic 3-minute storm of claps and applause until the preternatural ESP that mysterously governs Hollywood's behavior informs one and all that a big boo-boo has just be committed, whereupon real boos swallow up the claps. And out come the ugly-noisemakers, and each person glances at the other and winks or shakes his or her fist, fanning up a heat wave that begins to melt the ice sculpture. The golden idol is handed to Harvey, whereupon it seems to balloon and burgeon until it nearly takes over the whole auditorium. On cue a choreographed conga line of extras and interns, each with one hand on the shoulder of the next and the other waving signs saying “TO HECK WITH HOLLYWOOD HARVEY!” dances down the isles and up the podium, halts and en masse shakes the signs exactly three times in protest, then U turns and dances back the other isle, amidst unabated hissing.
As the conga line disappears into the shadows at the back of the auditorium, Harvey, his trade-mark grungy face beaming, sprints to the podium like Obama always does, then waits for the roar to peak and fade. When the timing is right, Harvey bows and says: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, you beautiful people, all of you! I can’t thank you enough. I am virtually humbled."
Applause! Boos! Catcalls! Subpoenas! Champaign! Shaking of fists, clapping of hands.
“But most of all I must thank my supporting cast of adorable ladies who made it all possible. I could just love them to pieces, every one -- more! One minute they’re flashing their boobs at me, the next a subpoena! Isn’t that awesome? Hey, they're actresses. Highly trained acctresses. That's what we pay them to be, actresses. They never go off duty. Such devotion to duty, award-winning, settlement-winning. So it is my honor and privilege – the least I can do here! (they've already got $35 million dollars in settlements) -- to humbly introduce them as they perform the really big extravaganza, the real high point of this evening of evenings! Please welcome Ashley Judd, Katherine Kendall, Dawn Dunning, Judith Godrèche, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Mira Sorvino, Jessica Barth, Emma de Caunes, Asia Argento, and former aspiring actress Lucia Evans. Hmmm, that's an incomplete list.” A voice from somewhere, Monica Lewinski’s, cries, “What about me?”
Applause! Boos! Applause! Boos! Applause! Tears! Gaffaws, Sneezes.
As each name is called, the ladies, joining arms, form a line and in lock step stride up to the stage, where, in perfect Rockette sync every shapely leg is kicked a la can-can into the air while every right hand twirls a sequined cane and every left hand gives Harvey the finger. Suddenly, as in the legendary MGM dance movies of the thirties, a gaggle of tuxedoed gentlemen materialize, each sporting a top hat like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, each with a big yellow label that says “lawyer,” and they all tango intimately with the willing girls. Then right on cue, the line breaks in the middle and there in the gap pops Harvey Hollywood himself, doing a little tap dance, whereupon the line of dancing ladies and lawyers in square dance rhythm exchange and accumulate partners, finally ganging around Harvey who disappears behind them and then is seen being hoisted above them all as a hero, then dropped, the creep, kerplunk onto the floor as the dancers stomp all over him while shaking their fists at him and showering rose pedals upon him.
At that very moment the banks of Klieg lights, hanging like bats on the ceiling, and the Buddha candles in wells of thousands upon thousands of seat arm-rests are suddenly extinguished. A sense of unscripted alien cosmic reality freezes the audience. From somewhere in the heavens a shaft of light more blinding than the sun blazes upon a disembodied but all too real fist which smashes the huge grungy golden idol into seared smithereens, ringing the audio system deafeningly. A finger is then seen writing high on the wall in fiery letters: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.
You are at IesSAYTHERE.com, a cache (not a blog) of mostly essays.
Start clicking here