Wednesday 26 April 2017

Radio: And the award for biggest Oscar grouch goes to...

Warren Beatty holds up an envelope revealing Moonlight as winner of best picture at the Oscars (AP)
Warren Beatty holds up an envelope revealing Moonlight as winner of best picture at the Oscars (AP)
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

It was, apparently, the greatest cock-up in Oscars history: Warren Beatty reading out the wrong winner of Best Picture. And such is the enormous reach and heft of the hydra-headed beast that is Hollywood - this glitzy ICBM fired straight at us by the Entertainment-Industrial Complex - that coverage of Warren's snafu was all over the shop.

From ponderous current affairs to news shows to those stupid programmes where a clatter of eejits pretend to find each other funnier than they really are, Oscargate was the thing that nobody could, or at least would, shut the hell up about.

Yet none of these good people, to my knowledge, asked the most pertinent - indeed, the only - question. To wit: the Oscars? Seriously - who cares, really?

It's a fun night on the telly, yeah, and a bit of craic, and I don't object to the Oscars per se, way down in the heart, the way I object to war, slavery or the failure of Western society to adopt the wonderful Japanese innovation of producing pizza-flavoured crisps.

But still. It's an awards ceremony, and the only thing worse than award ceremonies is giving awards for the arts in the first place.

Art is meant to be about changing the world, delving into the deepest mysteries of the universe, somehow expressing the inexpressible. Not handing out prizes like it's the bleedin' school sports day.

Well done, Casey Affleck! Here you go, good boy. Your mammy and daddy are over there, run off now.

In actual sport, the big story of the week was, of course, the decision at GAA Congress to introduce a Super 8 round-robin stage for the football championship, beginning in 2018.

This, too, was discussed all over the airwaves, from national level down to the provincials. My local station Clare FM's flagship Morning Focus (Mon-Fri 9am) was among them, host Gavin Grace chewing it over with colleague Derek Lynch, Clare Champion journalist Peter O'Connell and the county's football manager, Colm Collins.

There was, we heard, an incredible disconnect between players' wishes and the Congress vote. It still doesn't address the main problem - club players getting no games all summer. And it will make the strong stronger and the weak weaker, though that's arguably the proper order of things in the Darwinian ecosystem of competition.

Normally I have no opinion on such things - essentially, this is just another form of politics, the most dismal thing in the chartered universe. I'd sooner we were all talking about the actual skill and deeds of those on the field.

But here, I do have a beef. You might call it my main one.

And it is this: they're moving the All-Ireland finals out of September. This is cultural sacrilege, akin to daubing the Mona Lisa with graffiti. September in Ireland means All-Ireland final month, full stop.

On High Noon (Newstalk, Mon-Fri), George and criminologist John O'Keeffe had an entertaining look at the last in their series on the seven deadly sins: pride. O'Keeffe described it as "an excessive belief in your own abilities", but there's more to the little beggar than that.

Pride is the "gateway drug" of sins, he added, because it's all about yourself. And that's not even mentioning the more extreme forms of it: narcissistic personality disorder, malignant narcissistic personality disorder, and even Machiavellian narcissistic personality disorder.

All of which, I might add, are not exactly in short supply on radio, or indeed, in the media as a whole. What, you think we don't have an evil ulterior motive for all of this?

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