Last Sunday an estimated 32.9 million people tuned in to watch the annual spectacle known as the Academy Awards. Essentially it was a four hour self-congratulatory pat on the back for the Hollywood elite. Actors and actresses alike come together to applaud themselves for another year of blockbuster entertainment. Sunday marked the award show’s 89th year, and despite the millions of viewers it was the second lowest rating in its history. If you are like me you couldn’t care less about the Oscars. There are very few things I would sit down to watch for four hours, but the Oscars takes my care level to its all-time low. So why spend the time talking about it? Well, despite my disdain for most things Hollywood I do believe it is important to examine this cultural obsession. The implications surrounding such an event tells us much about our current culture and gives us an honest glimpse into the worldview that birthed and sustains it.
Spectator or Worshipper?
Despite the low viewer ratings there was still over 30 million people who watched the Oscars, that is a lot of eyes and ears. We must keep in mind that most of the folks that have any real, tangible investment in the award show were actually in attendance, these would include actors, directors, and a host of media personnel. On the other hand the average person watching the Oscars from home are just that, average people with zero investment on the outcomes and with no chips on the table whatsoever. So why then waste your time? Some might say they are genuinely interested in the artistry of it all, others might be honest enough to admit that they were merely spectators waiting to watch a train wreck. It’s like watching a Nascar race or boxing, most watch to see the big wreck or the hellish knockout. This years award show definitely delivered in terms of blunder when it awarded the years “Best Picture” to the wrong movie, needless to say it was ripe with drama. But is that the real reason people actually tune in? If so I would say it would be a small percentage. The largest driving force that brings people to flip on their television to watch such an event is simply worship, celebrity worship to be exact.
Celebrity worship is nothing new and it can masquerade behind many names, whether some call it being “star struck” or even assuming the title of fanboy/fangirl. Whatever name it goes by it can be boiled down to one simple thing, idolatry, something that commands worship in our lives, something that consumes (steals) our time and attention. Our culture is simply obsessed with celebrities and all things shiny. Again, this is nothing new. Since the birth of humanity mankind has had problems with idolatry, whether in the form of bigger than life thespians, statues made of gold, or forbidden fruit on a tree. Idolatry is the root of sin. Ultimately it is a search for fulfillment, a fulfillment that can only be satisfied in God. Celebrity worship is unique in today’s time, never before have we lived in a time where people can have influence over a vast amount of others with nothing more than a tweet, a post, or a 30-second video clip. The media world, with all its advantages, has allowed the power of influence to invade every area of life, through multiple mediums.
Their End is Destruction
Power and influence have never been easier to obtain than it is today. Humanism has found a faithful ally in the realm of stardom, knowing that through Hollywood they can have access into the hearts and homes of the masses. Over the past few decades we have seen an explosion in terms of activism headed by the Hollywood elite, they act as pawns in the advancement of the moral revolution. If Leo DiCaprio approves shouldn’t I? If Madonna condemns this shouldn’t I? I mean aren’t they extraordinary people, don’t they know better than the average Joe? To get a flavor of this one needs to look no further than this past year’s Presidential Election. Celebrities took to the streets as well as to social media to protest the thought of a man like Donald Trump from ever assuming presidential power. Perhaps their perceived influence was not as powerful as they thought, at least not according to the election results. We are still witnessing the shock waves every time we turn on the television, Hollywood is still at the forefront of this never ending temper tantrum. But witnessing the continued protests gives me hope, it isn’t so much about controlling their influence as it is about actually staying relevant and keeping that influence. The low ratings from Sunday’s Academy Awards demonstrates a slight shift in the state of the liberal influence. People simply don’t care as much what Hollywood has to say. I’m not convinced that they are in full fledge desperation mode quite yet but the tide is certainly turning. The average person is realizing that the Hollywood elite that sit atop their ivory towers has no relevancy to their own life, this disconnection from reality is finally starting to come to light. Hollywood as a social brand is becoming a dying breed, the louder they cry the more their hypocrisy is revealed. This doesn’t mean people will stop going to the movies or stop buying the latest album but what it does mean is that the control beyond that is starting to erode. To counter this movies will become increasingly more political over the next few years and liberal ideology with be woven more and more into music and movies, leaving no demographic unturned, including children.
The Slow Death…
Liberalism is dying too, it will be a slow death but a death nonetheless. It is always ironic to me that the people that most often appear on the silver screen hold to such an ideology, it is certainly fitting that those who adhere to such fiction love to portray fiction on screen, to pretend to be something or someone else. That is all that liberalism is, a fictional product of humanism that pretends to be something it is not. In his 1983 book Idols For Destruction, Herbert Schlossberg said that “humanist idolatry, which begins by elevating humans to the status of gods, ends by pouring hatred and scorn on them.” That is the endgame for such worship, what was elevated to the top will be brought down, eventually. A celebrity’s life is constantly viewed underneath a microscope, with myriads of people waiting for a slip up, a wrong move, or an uncalculated word, and ultimately to see them fall to ruin. This is the end of all things that put themselves in high places they ought not to be. Our worship is reserved for only one, the God who created all things, who by the power of His word holds all things together. Any attempt to relocate the worship only due to Him will bring with it destruction, for others and ultimately ourselves.