Last night I watched the Academy Awards. The movies were politically charged, but the evening was, for the most part, pleasantly tame (I was braced for a good bit of Bush-bashing). The dresses were beautiful, Jon Stewart was funny, Reese Witherspoon was charming--all in all, an entertaining evening. But George Clooney's acceptance speech, in which he proudly reveled in being "out of touch" with main-stream America, got me thinking.
The Oscars, while fun to watch, are really nothing more than a chance for Hollywood to proclaim to a billion viewers how "important" their work is, how they're changing the world with their art. And that never sits right with me. The reality is, out here in middle-America, we know who the world-changers really are, don't we? The kindergarten teachers and firefighters, the foster parents and basketball coaches, the nurses and the police offers--these are the heroes. Folks in the real world who cook their own meals and wash their own cars. Families who are pinching pennies so a parent can stay home and raise the kids. People who have to deal with broken washing machines, dead-beat dads, lines at the grocery store and car trouble. And at the end of the day there are no fancy dresses, no photographers--instead there is dinner to cook and homework to check and a bed to fall into so you can get up and do it all again tomorrow. Those are the world-changers.
So, Hollywood, make your movies and entertain us every now and then, but know that the real heroes don't require award ceremonies to tell them how they're doing. They're too busy making the car payment and coaching soccer. And to those of you out there fighting the good fight, you may not get an Oscar, but you have the respect of those of us in the trenches with you.