I don’t have a television, but DVDs and streaming are adequate. Besides, there’s no place in my 391 square foot, rectangular-shaped studio where I can keep a TV and watch it comfortably. If I ever change my mind about that, I’ll rearrange the furniture and then find a space for a television. The apartment is adaptable.
Be that as it may (my favorite arty-farty expression), I saw one online clip from Sunday’s Emmy Awards presentation. It was the same clip a lot of people saw.
A link to Frank Bruni’s New York Times commentary appears at the end of this post. I agree completely with what he has to say, but would like to add something:
Allowing Sean Spicer to make an appearance had potential as a ratings winner. It was cheap, dangerous and stupid, and not the first ratings “Hail Mary” to fit that description.
I understand Mr. Spicer’s appearance occurred early in the program. It was bound to motivate some people to tune in, and that may have been the main reason he was allowed on the show.
The formula involved in this strategy uses the internet to enforce something local commercial newscast producers have been doing for years. Local newscasts often air the sleaziest stories first, and the station that does it best gets the most viewers.
It takes time for a station to win a news ratings competition. However, with a once-per-year broadcast, the internet creates an opportunity for flash trash marketing.
(Note: I don’t know if the expression “flash trash marketing” is original, or if someone else has coined the term. The “fungus among us” part of the heading on this post has been around for a long time, and I won’t try to take credit for it.)
Flash trash marketing is good for a onetime burst, and I’ll admit I haven’t looked carefully for Sunday night’s Nielsen results. We should be alert to the intention, though. Sean Spicer was allowed on that show so his appearance could go viral on the internet and attract viewers.
The next time you turn on the local news and see a story about a gravely ill or injured child (in-hospital video sometimes included) at the beginning of the sleazecast, think of this: Exploiting tragedy appeals to voyeuristic sensibilities. Donald Trump’s administration is a national tragedy, and on Sunday night the public was the proverbial bunch of flies drawn to potato salad — or whatever.
In fairness, there’s more to add. When Mr. Spicer arrived on stage with the wheeled podium, the audience reaction was depicted as positive. Close-ups of Kevin Spacey and Melissa McCarthy showed them laughing, although Ms. McCarthy also looked mildly distressed.
I won’t attempt to speak for people I haven’t even met. However, when audience members recovered from the shock and thought about it later, some of them may have decided it wasn’t funny.
Please don’t write off all of them as airheads, but do consider one more angle to this disgusting spectacle. If Sean Spicer had been greeted with a horrified gasp followed by boos, many of those people in the audience might never have worked in Hollywood again.
Dalton Trumbo is no longer with us. We still need him, though. We need him to put personal consequences on the back burner and tell corrupt power players to go eff themselves.
Sadly, there aren’t enough people in Hollywood willing to follow Dalton Trumbo’s example, which makes him the legend he is. A real legend. Not a Hollywood insider/reality star/ratings prostitute/sycophant. A legend.