27/02/2013

Everyone is still talking about Seth MacFarlane so I might as well join in

Seth MacFarlane hosted the Oscars on Sunday and man oh man are people pissed off about it. Every media outlet, blog and Twitter feed is practically heaving with discussion about the 39-year-old's performance, most of which is dripping with outrage. He's been labelled racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, misogynistic and, worst of all for an Oscar host, unfunny. And while I'm not exactly bothered by people having an opinion, what does bother me is the outrage being thrown at this man when there are far worse examples of bigotry and sexism in the industry. Does that make it OK? Of course not, but judging by some reactions you'd think he was the fucking antichrist.

"Sorry Seth MacFarlane, but not everybody loved you," said CNN. "What was Seth MacFarlane thinking with his Oscars boob?," screamed The Guardian. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's hard to know where to start when almost everything that came out of his mouth has been seemingly twisted and misinterpreted by those who hate him and his cartoon canon anyway, but let's address the now infamous boob song.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the boob song was supposed to be ridiculous and offensive as Captain Kirk had returned from the future to inform MacFarlane of his badly received stint as Oscar host. Reactions from actresses mentioned were prerecorded but that didn't stop people from saying that Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts were clearly outraged. They weren't, they were in on it. It was PRERECORDED. The song has also been attacked for referencing nudity in films that involved women being raped/assaulted and Scarlett Johansson's phone hacking. Inappropriate? Sure, but I couldn't help but notice that most of the people who pointed this out are the same folk who practically broke their necks running to their laptop to get a good look at Scarlett's famous jugs. No, forget those guys who post the pictures and furiously Google to take a look and therefore keep the hackers in business, this is all MacFarlane's fault. 

The 'We Saw Your Boobs' song only got things started as Seth went on to make jokes about Clooney liking younger ladies, a woman's inability to let things go, Jennifer Aniston previously working as a stripper and the fact that most people can't understand anything Penelope Cruz says. All seemed pretty substandard to me but everyone else seems to think it's an indication of how little Seth thinks of women.

An interesting (and inaccurate) point, some might say, but if we're going to attack him for this shouldn't the rampant, longstanding sexism of the industry be in the firing line as well? The three hours that precede the Oscars are basically a chance for every shrill-voiced, malnourished idiot in LA-based entertainment to judge women's style, size, face and hair. Their "perfection" was breathily cooed over which only enforced the ridiculous body image standards set by Hollywood and made every normal girl with a normal body feel shit. I held back vomit as I watched Kelly Osbourne mentally high-five Adele for "being true to herself" (AKA staying fat) when she herself dropped 4 stone in order to be accepted by the fashion industry. And speaking of Adele, isn't it hilarious how most people misinterpreted MacFarlane's gag about Rex Reed for a jibe about her weight? For fuck sake, listen.

Why is everyone angry about MacFarlane and not about The Metro dedicating a page to Anne Hathaway's nipples? Why aren't people pissed off that actresses are only asked about their fitness regime instead of the roles that earned them a nomination in the first place? And more importantly, where are the column inches dedicated to the poor unemployed FX guys who were practically dragged off the stage for daring to thank the people they wanted to?

The Oscars may still be important but they have very little to do with films and the pressure they put on the host to deliver is ridiculous. It is not the most important night of the year; it is an award ceremony in which people wear couture and pat each other on the back. MacFarlane knew he didn't want to do it again, he knew he would be slated no matter what and guess what? So did the producers when they hired him. They knew what they were getting into and judging by the viewing figures they were successful. He probably only accepted the gig so he could raise his profile and ease the transition from tubby animator to Hollywood power player. Many have pointed out that none of his jokes were aimed at his own kind - white, rich, males - and honestly I have no comeback for that, but the producers must have noticed that too when they let him walk out in the Kodak Theatre to host the show so where is the bile being spewed at them?

Whether people want to admit it or not they're only attacking him because they hate that his immature show has made him a millionaire and his directorial debut is the biggest R-rated comedy of all time. He could've been as tame as Billy Crystal and he still would've been hammered because people who dislike him are going to dislike everything he does no matter what. And by the way, where was the outrage last year when dear old Billy blacked up and said he wanted to hug a black woman after watching The Help?

We live in a country where topless women adorn pages of newspapers, where women are encouraged to judge and hate each other, where paps shove their camera lens up girls' skirts and the "post-baby bodies" of celebrities are celebrated and criticised in equal measure. Maybe I'm naive and don't see the big problem because I've never really experienced sexism myself, or maybe I'm letting my general like for Seth MacFarlane and his shows cloud my reaction, but if we're going to talk about sexism in the film industry and the media, maybe we should look at the real issues instead of blaming a longstanding problem on a trouble-making cartoonist who has never apologised or made excuses for saying inappropriate shit for laughs.