Maybe this is why we’re a little awarded-out. In today’s LA Times, Patrick Goldstein has a tiresome piece on how, while he likes bloggers, mind you, he thinks that constant blogging about awards, and the whole idea of Oscar prognosticating in general, is hurting America. Or something. He conflagrates a couple issues in what seem like an exercise in how to bait colleagues and infuriate people.
We’ll be the first to say he has a point â€” last year, awards were discussed for essentially all twelve months (and all for what was one of the most boring Oscars anyone can remember). But Goldstein goes on to hate on David Poland, Jeffrey Wells ("the Lewis Black of Oscar bloggers"), Sasha Stone and the LA Times‘ very own Tom O’Neil ("a master of the breathless overstatement"), all the while declaiming that he’s not one of those bitter print types angry about the erosion of his audience to the web:
Before I go any further I should make it clear that I’m not one of these MSM (mainstream media, for the uninitiated) guys who resent my Internet brethren. Bloggers are the best thing to happen to journalism in years. They have not only broken innumerable stories but served as much-needed critics of lumbering old-school journalism, bringing a new energy and irreverence to what’s become a very staid, conventional-wisdom-bound profession.
But nowhere are the limitations of blogging more evident than in the inane shoot-from-the-lip world of Oscar punditry. While Jeff Jarvis’ Buzz Machine is wrestling with media bias and objectivity, while Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish is criticizing Donald Rumsfeld’s ego and intransigence, while Daily Kos is debating an alleged Bush administration plan to bomb Al Jazeera, the Web’s Oscar dingbats are bickering over supporting actor nominations and movies they haven’t even seen yet.
We’re still feeling a little punch drunk from Richard Schickel‘s love tap aimed at the general blog world in the same paper last week, but we’d like to say that, yes, the Oscar obsession goes too far, and yes, print journalists are just as guilty as obsessing over the Oscars as web journalists. The bloggers that Goldstein mentioned write pretty much every day â€” if they’re often consumed with awards jockeying, well, it’s that time of year. O’Neil may be inflating everything he can think of into a "scoop," but hell, the LA Times hired him to blog about awards, and there’s only so much real news out there day to day â€” should he be coming up with dissertations on Camus? The real problem here may be the whole "must have constant content" idea, but that’s a problem for another day.
Anyway, David Poland certainly doesn’t need us to leap into our defense. Such is the power and immediacy of the internet that he’s already got a snarky, equally tiresome response up on his The Hot Blog. He hits some home, though:
You are one of those guys who doesnâ€™t understand that the web is a niche business and that the sites that highlight Oscar are embracing a specific demographicâ€¦ people who want to read about it all too much. Are they not allowed to discuss what they want? Or perhaps they should be discussing how great This Weekâ€™s Producer Who You Went To Lunch With is?
I guess if I want to compete with your paper, I better start online Summer Sneaks, Fall Sneaks, and Holiday Sneaks sections in order to suck more money out of studios that feel they need features and ads if everyone else is in. And I’ll call you when I give away $50,000 in ads and "infomercial" space to Harvey Weinstein.
S-N-A-P. Seriously, though, all of this makes us want to devote this blog exclusively to reviews of only obscure and wonderful out-of-print or undistributed films, or something similar that would, one, remove us from ever again encountering self-defensive, territorial media infighting, and two, remind us that many out there, including most of our fellow bloggers, read and write about film because they actually love film.