First of all, sorry for the hiatus again, passover and school work have been eating up my time. However, I am back with a political post! (DISCLAIMER: This post is not designed to insult Republicans or be a partisan post in any way)
Answer the following question wisely, pick what you believe is the Republican savior:
If you answered any of the above you are wrong.
In this bloggers opinion, and again it is just me, I firmly believe the Republican Party needs a make over, not one thing to change. There is no Republican savior because there can be no “magic bullet” (one thing fixes all).
The Republican party needs to incorporate everything above and more if they want to win. This is not a post bashing conservatives or right leaning people in any way. This post is simply to say THERE IS NO ONE THING ANYONE CAN CHANGE!
In order to fix the party and make it more inviting and electable, the Republican Party has to re-frame their issues, capture the growing demographic votes (aka not the old white vote that is dying out but the young vote and minority vote), brush up on their technology, and nominate electable candidates (sorry Tea Party-ers). If they do all of that they have got a better chance of running against the Democrats. This is of course dependent on the fact that the Dems ‘t nominate someone worth electing, if they nominate an old white male who has no charisma…bets may be off.
I am as non-partisan as you can be in this post, in my opinion these are facts. I purposely have not said my political views on this blog because I am still growing and learning. However, I feel frustrated with all these people saying “Rubio will save the Republican Party.” No, he really wont unless the party does some substantial re-branding/framing and conducts the PR campaign of the century which I believe they should.
One possible frame they could use I read when researching a paper I just talked about the idea that Republicans are compassionate by Gary Bauer. The article you can read here talks about how Conservatives should be concerned and the champion of life, from the unborn fetus to the 85-year-old and their Medicare. This would be a very interesting frame to take and I would love to see Republicans middle of the road it a little more along with showing their sensitive side.
What do you think? Is there a magic bullet?
So Obama is on his first Presidential trip to Israel (ok, I had to read it twice also when I saw it was his first Presidential trip to Israel, but lets not hold it against him) as many great (see Bill Clinton) and not so great (see Jimmy Carter) Presidents have also done. However, the questions that many people are asking is “what is the significance of this trip?” Why is Obama doing it now? What does the region look like as Obama pops in for a hello? What is the significance of where he is going and where he is not going on this trip? What is the big hubub about the speech he gave right on the tarmac? So yeah, that is a lot of questions, but I think we can get em’ all (like Pokemon).
Lets start with the first three questions which are tied together. What is the significance of this trip/ why is Obama doing it now/ what does the region look like? Thankfully we can answer all 3 of those questions at once (#3birds1stone). At least some of the significance for this trip comes from the fact that the Syria regime continues to wage war against its on people and may or may not have already used chemical weapons on its own people. In that same vein the rebels, partially made up by the Islamic extremist factions, are rumored to have gotten some of the chemical weapons into their possession. Jordan grows ever closer to the Arab Spring (some call the Islamic Winter) with a majority of National Palestinians and over 500,000 Syrian refugees and an out dated monarchy (hence the name The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). In the south the Sinai desert is still the “wild west.” Egypt is run by the Muslim Brotherhood who are frightening yet are still “stable” for now. Hezbollah in Lebanon is helping Asad (Syria) murder his citizens and trying to get some of the arms from the Syrian regime to get ready for their next attack on Israel. Hamas in Gaza has just started launching rockets back into Israel (yesterday a rocket hit Sderot…welcome to Israel President Obama). Now we can move past what the neighborhood looks like and talk about the significance for the relationship between Israel and America.
Obama and Netanyahu have what some would define as a “strained relationship” (though I bet you couldn’t tell from all these pictures of them bro-ing out with their jackets over their shoulders). But in Obama’s defense, any professional relationship with an Israeli can be taxing, however, that does not excuse his hot mic problems at the UN or the comment he made to Goldberg (no relation to me) last month where he said “not only is Netanyahu moving his country toward international isolation, but the Israeli public itself ‘doesn’t know what its best interests are.'” (This was taken from Rule #3 “Thou Shall Not Diss They Counterpart” in The Ten Commandments of Visiting Israel from Foreignpolicy.com writer Oren Kessler. However, I am going to assume that both leaders are adult enough to get past the personal disagreements and they are clearly making a show of their friendship so lets not get too tied up in this issue. This issue of the significance of the friendship brings me to one of the major questions, where is he visiting and why?
Based on the question in the Times of Israel post Where Obama’s visiting in Israel where he isn’t and why by Raphael Ahren the locations of where Obama’s trip hits can help define what his visit symbolizes. I am not going to restate the whole article but it is an important article to read and here I will list a couple of highlights of the visit: visiting an Iron Dome battery (the foreign aid manifestation and how US saves Israeli lives), Netanyahu’s House (can you say house party?), The Israel Museum (where he will see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the technological developments Israel is leading the world with), Ramallah (lunch and press conference and you can check out the update from that here – Meeting Abbas, Obama says 2-state deal is ‘still possible’ by NY Times writers Mark Landler and Alan Cowell). Obama will also be giving a speech to the students of Israel. In addition he is going to Yad Vashem (on right)…and you can look at all the rest of his stops in Israel. The stops indicate a look to the future of the State of Israel, its partnership with America, but acknowledging Israels past. By visiting Yad Vashem and the Dead Sea Scrolls some say that Obama is presenting the image that the Jews were here before, and they will remain here. Israel is the Jewish homeland and I could not be prouder of his itinerary.
Finally it is important to look at the speeches he gave while in Israel. I would like to look at the short but sweet speech Obama delivered on the runway at Ben Gurion Airport. The text of speech is here and you can watch the actual speech clicking here. The important aspects to think about in this speech include where he spoke and what he said.
Why did Obama speak on the runway? What is the significance of that? I would guess there could be any number of ways to interpret it. Whether it was that Obama wanted to speak as soon as he got to Israel, or the fact that he is giving a speech about the historic ties to Israel on the tarmac of the modern Israeli city. No matter how you interpret the location of the speech, it is food for thought.
Finally the actual speech. There is not much I can say about the speech other than fantastic! He touches on the Jewish roots in Israel, assures the country that he stands with them (a statement of suspect for some though not for me), he makes a point this is his FIRST foreign trip…or his second term, he articulates the reasons for why Israel and America stand together concisely and articulately. His repetitive line “we stand together” is brilliantly placed and not overly done but still emotional. It is a great speech and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Yesterday Hillary Clinton announced her unflinching support for gay marriage in this video. The video shows the ex-Secretary of State/ ex-FLOTUS calm and composed making her emotional yet logical argument for equal marriage rights and the role it plays in shaping modern America. Now, I very seriously doubt that anyone is shocked that Clinton supports equal marriage opportunity, and I am not going to write about whether gay marriage is “good” or “bad” (I am trying to remain unbiased in this blog…who knows if I will be successful). However, I do want to look at a few things within this topic: Clinton’s statement itself, this statement as a Clinton PR move, and her front running for 2016.
Hillary Clinton, who was the frontrunner for the Democratic party at one point in 2008, knows how to speak. While she may not be as good of an orator as her husband Bill, her old boss Obama, or Coach Jimmy V (he will be the feature of the next blog post), she is still an incredible speaker. In the video linked to above, Hillary uses her soft yet stern yet soothing voice to explain her reasons for supporting gay marriage. She framed the speech with the human rights campaign banner seen on the right. That carefully placed banner portrayed this issue, in Hilary’s eyes, as about something more than a disagreement in religion or politics, about basic human rights. She says in her video “human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights” drawing the parallel. She then begins using her experience to show what she means.
She delves deep into the fights and “pretty tough conversations” she has had with foreign leaders who do not agree with her, but she, as the ex- Secretary of State (mentioned probably three or four times in the video…showing her credentials), knows what it means for America to be a leader in human rights and specifically gay rights. She says that the United States has to be the leader in defending gay rights, and that “America is best when we champion freedom and dignity…it’s in our DNA” (who can argue with that?). She continues showing her experience by talking about a young Tunisian who approached her after their uprising (sort of a pat on the back, “we got through that one America, you’re welcome”) who asked about gay rights which showed her that the world views America as the leader and as an example. She talks about how these experiences “deepened her pride in our country and the ideas we stand for.” She also makes a clear that she has now “left public office,” I don’t want to say hinting but she is in a way proclaiming her ability to speak freely and consider new public office roles (hint hint keep reading). Then we get to where the speech writer takes over.
The language in the second half of the address is flowery, colorful, and over all moving. Is it too much? I like to think that people should be able to be expressive so no, I would not say it is too much, but if you think so that is totally valid. She begins the emotional pull with “there is work we must do at home.” To no surprise she builds a connection between the civil rights and the fight for gay rights, but what was tactful was the way she layered the foundation for this partnership. She uses the words “march” and “perfect union” along with “full and equal citizens.” These words are emotional ones for the black civil rights movement. The word “march” reminds people of the Washington Mall, “perfect union” of the speeches given describing what America could be, and full and equal citizens showcasing that we cannot segregate or differentiate. Later she uses the example of the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movements by name, but her subtle image planting from earlier is successful, we already know she is going there. She also gives a small, possibly unintentional (I read into things) nod to immigration reform saying that gay and lesbian people “deserve the rights of citizenship… that includes marriage.”
Finally she points to her “experience, devotion and faith,” as to why she supports gay marriage and equal rights. She talks about marriage (the first time I listened to the speech I laughed a bit) saying “marriage is a building block, great joy and great responsibility” and then uses an anecdote about going to their daughter’s wedding to bring it closer to home. Finally she ends on a good note saying that we can “move closer and closer to that more perfect union promised to us all.” Overall, very good speech. (my rating would be an A-). However, moving past the speech it is important to think about the reasons for Clinton’s statement, as a public relations move. Why now? Why in this way? How is it framed by the media?
Clinton’s views were not a secret before she came out with this. To quote a Politico article written by Maggie Heberman entitled “Hillary Clinton stays in the game with gay marriage move” (when was Hillary out of the game?) she writes “Coming less than three months after she departed the State Department, Clinton’s move was about as surprising as a setting sun. Her party, not to mention her husband and daughter, was already on record as backing gay marriage.” (Check out the whole article here: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/hillary-clinton-stays-in-game-with-gay-marriage-move-89033.html#ixzz2O1Losy7p).
While Hilary never actually left the game (her name has been on the tongue of everyone talking about the 2016 election), the image that she may not be a politician right now but is still concerned with human rights, dignity for all, and can use her powers and experience to help. This is a very clever move and I applaud it, as long as she is out of office she can use it with the old “together we can reform Washington” (see Obama back in 08). In addition, she could kind of leak this video because…well she is Hillary Clinton, if she leaked where she was eating lunch Politico would pick it up and run it front page (nothing wrong with that Politico, you guys are on top of your game). As far as a PR move, there was no downside to what she just did, only up and keeping her name in the minds and hearts of so many out there. Which brings us to the last point, Hilary 2016.
I know, I know, Joe Bidden or something or other about how someone else might get the nomination. No. She can take a little time off because she just finished up a pretty major job, but you better believe she will keep her name on the top of the list. I won’t be surprised if we see videos like this coming out every 3-6 months as part of her build up strategy. Whether we recognize it or not, this was Hillary campaign speech. If you ask me, a Clinton v. Christie ticket would be the most entertaining Presidential race I have ever seen. All we can do is wait and see what happens.
Did I get your attention? The words free, sex, and Harvard are known as the most attention grabbing words in the English language. Our eyes are drawn to these words like ants to a picnic, like children to Playspace, or like middle age moms to book clubs. These words may get more views and interaction than any other singular words and so this post is a (no longer) secret experiment. I want to see if I get more hits on this post than any other because of my title that combines the power of the words (to quote Captain Planet: “with our powers combined!”). However, as long as I am discussing the power of words it is a topic that I have many thoughts about.
Words are used by marketers, writers, advertisers, and every other person who works in the world (except a few math people, who do use words when they publish). In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to live in modern society without communicating. Communication and more specifically words are used for many purposes though the most basic of them is to relay an idea from one party to another. Usually words are used to convince a person or multiple people to do something or buy something or think something. This means that words generally have an objective. This objective, however, can only be accomplished if people notice the words that you use. Hence, the often use of Harvard, sex, and free.
Words are used in a multitude of ways in different jobs. I recognize that in marketing and advertising, words are used both consciously and sub-consciously received to convince consumers to purchase their product or service. One example where advertisers and marketers use words cleverly in ad or marketing campaigns is Budweiser. Someone who drinks Budweiser is not more American than another citizen of the United States, yet Budweiser = America. To be able to make something about an idea, a word, that sparks emotion is the true beauty of their craft for all these workers. I know more about the use of words in political framing and in public relations.
In public relations, as opposed to advertising and marketing, words are used to portray a perspective. The main difference is that the words used by PR practitioners (note the word choice) are more subtle. They are not shoving anything down the throat of the consumers, rather suggesting a new perspective on an issue. The issue can be new or timeless, but a new frame can be provided by the PR practitioner.
In addition, the phrase “framing” has recently become the political hot-word (an example of the power each word can hold). “Framers,” in the political sphere, are people who know which words are the right ones to use. For example, the famous Republican Party Guru Frank Lutz (http://www.luntzglobal.com/) and counter part Democratic Party Guru George Lakoff (http://georgelakoff.com/) are framers. These men and women who frame political issues are able to create and change the public perception. It is exposed in this article by Matt Bai of the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/magazine/17DEMOCRATS.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0http://. This article pretty much says that both parties are starting to realize that what matters more than what you say, is what the public hears.
Being able to change someones perspective is unique to the use of words and communication. Words can change the way we think about abortion (pro-life vs. pro-choice), filibuster (“abuse of power”), and Presidential candidates (“outsourcer-in-cheif”).
Finally, the last thing I want to touch on is the use of framing in speeches. Speeches have the ability to change peoples’ perspectives, shape passions, and create an emotional tie to the topic. Speeches have the unique ability to give a voice to an issue and a cause. This can be seen, specifically, in Obama’s most recent State of the Union. It was the only part worth watching, where he eloquently and passionately spoke about gun control and the “one vote” (frame alert). He framed it carefully in a way which allowed him to maximize his goal – to create a vote in Congress, by using a distinct emotional voice. Speeches allow great orators (Churchill, King, and others) to frame their issues in a uber-personal way. They can frame issues using their own distinct voice with well chose words and repetition. (HINT: for those who never realized what they were doing when they repeat themselves in a speech, they are often (not always) framing a position).
If I use the word Harvard, sex and free and it gets me an incredible amount of hits on my blog then this experiment has been a success. If not, it was fun to write about.
Side point: here is a fantastic rap song by Caskey (weird video) about the power of words – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBfWapATFjk
(DISCLAIMER: This post only includes SOME of the reasons I love AIPAC, Israel, and Politics. Do not be surprised when you see others).
First of all I am sorry. This weekend I went to the AIPAC Policy Conference and have not posted in a while. I have been learning incredible facts, re-kindling friendships and giving extra-ordinarily loud hugs to some of the most amazing people. These are people who will be working in the next generation of pro-Israel politics whether it is through AIPAC or on capital Hill. The conference itself was an incredible with world-class speakers (the greatest political minds in Middle East policy giving panel discussions, it is like triple the fun). I spent from Friday-Tuesday night in D.C. doing everything from hearing what 13,000 people sound like applauding the partnership between Israel and America, lobbying my Representatives and Senators, and sitting in one on one informational interviews.
I was able to set up 10 informational interviews over the four-day (Ain’t gona’ work on Saturday) period. I met with spokespeople for both Senators and Congressman, people from PR agencies, and also issue advocacy. I was trying to get an understanding of what it means to work on the Hill vs.PR Agency vs. on an issue. I now understand not only the obvious differences but also the subtle nuanced differences. However, I will save that for a later blog post. Being in D.C. was incredible but it also meant that I had to make up roughly, a million mid terms so I am working on that now (in the process of writing a paper on the use of TV in U.S. elections).
Was it worth all the added stress and craziness of what I am now facing? YES! AIPAC is in my eyes is the most important organization in America (not including the government). There are many reasons I love AIPAC, not just because I am Jewish, or because I love Israel. Of the many things about Israel I love, I love Israel because it is the physical representation of the words that I hold very dear: never again.
When I was about 13 until currently (I still want to) I wanted to join the Israeli Army (in the picture my close friend is the one in the middle, she is an American who fought to be put into a unit and I am still so proud). I did not want to join the army because I played with GI Joe man-dolls (I did not get GI Joe…thanks mom) and I did not want to join because I thought that the it would be fun, I wanted to join because I know that there is one army in the world that will not let the Holocaust happen again. My grandfather, Sam Goldberg, died when I was 13 after surviving one of the worst places on earth, Treblinka. Treblinka was a Nazi death camp where the Nazis did not bother putting numbers on their arms, they simply murdered Jews. Close to 1,000,000 Jews died (I believe the number is about 850,000) and roughly 60 survived. That is not 60,000 or even 600, it is 60. He helped lead the escape and made it out where he met my grandmother. My grandmother had her own version of hell to live through, running through the woods and hiding in shrubs. They met in the woods and got married. Fast forward about 50 years and there I am. I wanted to join Zahal (Israeli Defense Forces) so that no one ever said “wipe the Jews from the pages of history.” Unfortunately certain people are saying that now, however standing on American soil (and proud of that) there is something I can do to stop them.
That is why I got involved in AIPAC. My mom raised me as a pro-Israel child and my dad raised me as a Holocaust weary child (I got holocaust stories and Israel’s war of independence stories before bed…they took turns). When I came down to AIPAC Policy Conference last year I did not really know what to expect. I knew it was pro-Israel and I was excited to spend some time with my mom. What I saw blew me away. Total bi-partisan support for the US-Israel alliance and it was not only Jews. It was everyone, African-Americans, Hispanic people, Christians, gay and straight alike, everyone was supporting the alliance. I realized something that changed my life: there is more than one way to serve both the State of Israel and the Jewish people. In addition, it was a way that let me serve the United States of America. The strategic partnership does not only help Israel by getting the country aid. It helps America by supplying technology, energy technology, and military intelligence (Israel’s is the best in the world). It allowed me to not declare a political side because despite what people claim, AIPAC is as bi-partisan as you can possibly get. AIPAC is my way to help not only my people (Israelis and Jews) but my country (United States of America). What was strange was that last year, after getting back from AIPAC on March 5 2012, my political fancy had been tickled. I now wanted to learn everything I could about politics because now I had a reason to be interested.
From there, as they say, it was history. I began working on understanding politics, political communications, and speech writing. I started looking at where I fall on issues and what I want to do with my life (political communications in case anyone was wondering/hiring). I began looking at the types of jobs and realizing this is indeed what I want to do with the rest of my life. Once I found out I was not going to be a fireman (that is a different blog post also) I realized, working in politics or AIPAC is the next best thing for what I am passionate about.
In addition, AIPAC introduced me not only to the world of politics but the people of the politics of the future. This December I met some of the most incredible young people I have ever met on a trip to Israel called the AIPAC Advanced Advocacy trip (picture of a few of us on the left). I made friends that I expect I will have for life. When I hear their names associated with some large push through Congress or running for the White House, I will text them and say “I knew you would make it”…or I will be running their communications.In addition, it got me more involved in politics on campus and I am currently the head of the BU Advocates for Israel, a completely political based group working to support the US-Israel relationship through politics.
I know that this blog post was a little bit all over the place but I promise to come at it with more of a focus next post!
The word sequester was not often muttered in the English language. That is not until a few weeks ago when the White House started their latest branding campaign. After convincing everyone that we are headed for a “cliff” back in the winter, sequester takes over. Now, I am not bashing the White House, I think both parties in this situation (Hill leadership and the President) are to blame for the current situation. But I do not want to address the current situation. I want to address the word sequester. However, to address the word I must first explain what the situation is just a little bit.
First of all, what is the sequester? This is a question that many are asking and these are people who did read the financial times and also, just don’t seem to care. The sequester is “85 billion across-the-board spending cuts” as explained in Jake Sherman and Donovan Slack’s Politico article Sequester countdown: Obama summons Hill leaders.
The cuts will deal with everything from National Parks to vaccines for children (and how can you be against those!). These cuts are scheduled to go into effect at midnight Thursday night. I am going to D.C. on Friday morning; perfect timing for what Jon Stewart called the Sequester Apocalypses on his program last night. The President has asked the leadership on the Hill to come to his house (that is the White House) on Friday to meet about it but I agree with Sherman and Slack (article is linked above), this is a move to use his leverage of the spending cuts, already in place by the time the meeting happens, to re-program the system. Brilliant move. But I digress into politics, back to the most boring word in the English language!
If either the Congress or the President wanted anyone at all to pay attention to this, at all, why would they use the word that sounds like it came directly out of an accounting book. At least with the “fiscal cliff” journalists could write headlines like “we are heading towards the cliff.” Those caught our eye. With sequester, making it sound interesting is virtually impossible. There are no images for sequester. Sequester does not sound cool, even though there is a Q in the word! Words with Q get so much traction. So why did both party agree to this terrible branding?
At first when I heard the word all I could think of was the line from the Will Farrell Blades of Glory “no one knows what it means but its provocative, gets people going”(see the line here.) According to Dictionary.com, the word sequester means: “to remove or withdraw into solitude or retirement; or to seclude to remove or separate.” But there are so many more fun ways to say those words. Why use a word that, if said more than 20 times, will make me nod off to sleep? Because that is the point.
My theory is that the branding lords of the Obama administration (and yes I do mean lords, these guys are legit the very best) used this so that they could pull a classic “Obama-narrative-re-frame.” Let me clear something up before I explain. I am not insulting the Obama administration or saying “shame on them for framing an issue so well,” what I am saying is they did it very successfully and I am impressed as a student of political communications.
Now for the understanding. By the Obama administration framing this spending cut screw up as “the sequester,” the most boring word in the English language, to all of the media they are able to control the narrative that follows it. Therefore, Obama has been able to do a “don’t cut our spending” tour where he showed all the things we were going to cut, like: battle ships, teachers, vaccines, airport workers, FBI agents, and other terribly important things. I am not going to go into why all these things are important: but they are. Obama knows this. By having the press report on sequester like a boring class which no one wants to hear, he neutralizes the first round of media coverage between him and the House leadership (AKA Republicans). Obama can then come in during the second wave of media and make it about Mrs. Ashley (I made the name up), a teacher in Louisville who will have to be cut because Republicans can’t let the President do his job or do their own job.
Obama neutralizes the Republican response by flooding the media with the word sequester. He then picks up the second news cycle and (to continue the boxing metaphor) K.O.’s the Republicans in the second round. Brilliant.
Can we please move on because I have bored myself to death saying the word sequester so many times.
Confession: I love the Oscars. From the age of 7 until I realized that I need a steady job (20) I wanted to be a film director. In addition, I wrote film reviews for about three years at the Examiner. I own over 250 DVDs (yeah I know, I am old school). I still try to see every film that is nominated, that I have an interest in. There is no substitute for a great movie. This years Oscars were a bit surprising (when Michelle Obama came up on-screen I was a little shocked, and proceeded to boldly claim that Zero Dark Thirty would win because Michelle as a political statement was an interesting card to play with US Military personnel behind her, I can write about that later though). I was surprised that Argo beat Zero Dark Thirty (and secretly hoped for Beasts of the Southern Wild to win everything). Rooting for someone in itself is an interesting phenomenon. It is one of the many reasons I love the Oscars, because it exploits the most basic emotional ties.
All too often actors and actresses can reach out and touch a person’s life and make them feel as though they completely capture what ever experience that audience member is feeling. All too often that actor/actress is the one that above mentioned audience member is rooting for when the awards come around. This is a fascinating use of emotions but I do not want to get into the psychology of how movies relate to people. Rather, something more in my field. I want to write about how the Oscars were invited for, and still are some of, the best PR ever.
To understand the beauty of creating the Oscars it is important to understand the beauty of lists. We all make lists, whether they are grocery lists, things to do before noon (which I never get accomplished), or lists of web pages to check out, we love lists. One reason is that we love crossing things off of lists. That triumphant feeling when you cross something off the list is a great feeling (rivaled only by when you accomplish something really great, like finish an entire pizza by yourself). The Oscars are Hollywood’s glorified way to make us feel we are missing a list, a list of the greatest movies this year. The Oscars themselves are pretty meaningless, sorry to those who feel like I just told Santa is fake, but they are. They get to say the word “this was the best picture of 2012.” Because a movie won the Oscar for X Y or Z category (usually not set direction or costume) it will get added revenue because everyone assumes “oh it won an Oscar.” It is a brilliant plan. Hollywood has, somewhat arbitrarily, listed out the movies that you HAVE TO SEE. Why? Because a made up award ceremony where people fret over dresses and how raunchy the host will be (I was disappointed Mr. MacFarlane), tell you to.
The Oscars mean something because we give them meaning. We assign meaning to things that we feel we understand to be important and in turn we feel rewarded when that meaning pays off. When you go see Argo (assuming you have not yet; it was fantastic), there will be a part of you, be it small, that will feel great because you just saw the Best Picture. These lists that we are told, but should not necessarily trust, dictate our movie watching habits to no end. It is absurd but when they tell us, “these are the cream of the crop” we listen and tune in.
I worked in TV PR for a semester as an Account Executive at BUTV10 (our student run TV station) through BU PRLab, the oldest student run PR agency in the country. They had won multiple awards (and they were prestigious even) but no one cared. Why did no one care that they won these awards? They deserved the awards for the shows! Why wouldn’t anyone care? Because the awards themselves need credibility. Credibility is given by the people who watch awards. There is no other way to get that credibility. Circular logic at its finest.
It is crucial, however, to tell you all that the highlight of my night was none of the speeches (all sub par though Affleck’s tears seemed legit). The highlight of my night/ the reason I watched the show was for Adele. To paraphrase one of my favorite graphic novels (Sin City) “she sounds like angels ought to sound.” Bellow I have included the link to her performance because, yes, it was that good.
Adele video – my highlight http://www.mediaite.com/tv/watch-adele-performs-skyfall-at-the-oscars/