Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Miss Razzmatazz

On Sunday night, upon winning the Academy Award bestowed upon this year's Best Actress in a Motion Picture (the first such win in her career) Sandra Bullock showed off her self-deprecating sense of humor. She declared that the Oscar would share a place of honor with the Razzie she had "won" a day earlier as Worst Actress in a Motion Picture. Thankfully, the awards "honored" two different starring roles Ms. Congeniality had in Aught-Nine. While it would have been funnier - at least from my somewhat jaundiced perspective - if the Razzies and the Oscars recognized her performance in the same film, I suppose having done so would have robbed at least one of the ceremonies of its appearance of legitimacy.

Either Bullock has the smartest PR flac in Tinseltown or she simply gets it. She gets that one of the things that America appreciates still is candor. There is an old cliche about the crime never being worse than the cover-up, which usually gets trotted out every time a politician gets himself/herself in legal trouble or a celebrity gets himself/herself splashed across the Enquirer's front page for doing something inane. Too often instead of simply acknowledging what was done - whether illegal or simply ill-advised - the party in question erects an incredible artifice designed to discourage inquiry and to deflect assignation. Typically, it fails on both counts.

It seems too often that the ability to laugh at ourselves for our own shortcomings has been diluted right along with our ability to accept responsibility for those very same shortcomings. In the drive to be all things to all people in this age of instant and excessive information, we lose sight of ourselves. And when we do, we run the risk of reducing ourselves from the status of a person of character to one who is a caricature.

Our "name" (reputation) may be all that we possess in this world; the one thing we have that we are willing to stake. Yet too often we see example after example of an individual besmirching his/her own reputation arising out of a misguided attempt to protect and preserve it.

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike. A lesson often forgotten these days but remembered quite publicly and candidly by Oscar's latest leading lady. Well done.


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