Friday , 28 January 2022

EDITORIAL: Hollywood’s Virtuous Are Tackling Diversity, But The Emmys Prove It Isn’t Working

I’m so glad that at regular intervals throughout the year, the world’s bourgeois class, the elite of the elites, gather in the most elegant cities, wearing the most outrageous and expensive outfits, to address only the most critical issues happening in the world.

More than a democratic exercise, it’s unfortunately as sophisticated as Canada’s current human rights tribunals, or even the itinerary discussed at the last G7 meeting.

Of course, I’m talking about the Hollywood award show circuit.

The Emmys, which graced the silver screen for the 70th time on Monday, had a problem they wanted us in on. The address from our benevolent overlords: “diversity,” as vague a term as it gets, has still not been solved.

Easily, the underlying theme of the show, it’s no surprise considering the temperature of Hollywood for the past few years.

The issue of diversity has been the elephant whose shadow casts in every Hollywood piss-up for the past couple years. Especially since the #OscarsSoWhite controversy at the Oscars in 2016, (which Chris Rock did well with) it seems any discussion at these awards goes back to this narrative.

I think the effect is turning people off.

The latest Emmys was the least watching in its history down 11 per cent from last year.

Whatever happened to quibbling about the hot pool of Best Primetime TV Drama candidates? Can McDreamy snag Grey’s Anatomy another nod? Can The Big Bang Theory – somehow – win another comedy Emmy?

These are mere afterthoughts in the grand parliament of the Academy – where the 24/7 activist mentality is becoming nauseating.

Cue up the “We Solved It” number at the beginning of this year’s show. The joke is Hollywood has already solved its diversity issue by its improvements of award nominees made in the past year.

Wink, wink; nudge, nudge. They haven’t made any improvements.

Heck, even the New York Times piece called “The Emmys Joked About TV’s Lack of Diversity, and Then Demonstrated It” yesterday commented on the Emmys ham-fistedness.

But they might dispute the winners just as quickly.

We know Hollywood has deep-rooted problems. But can’t it also be said that Hollywood is improving in this supposed lack of diversity issue?

It’s too easy to make broad statements saying the Emmys or the Oscars or the Golden Globes are racist, or “not diverse enough,” for awarding 22 of the first 26 to white performers.

Are you going to tell any of the winners they don’t deserve to win? For what reason? That they were chosen because of their whiteness?

Unless you’re willing to breakdown each individual category and candidates, it’s an uncomfortable, and ultimately disrespectful thing to protest the results of the awards based on a person’s whiteness.

It seems to me The Emmys is too concerned with galvanizing viewers against an unnamed and elusive enemy (racism, lack of diversity) or rallying behind a cause (#metoo, #timesup)?

Perhaps the recipe for the perfect Emmys is to pick winners from every identity imaginable just to avoid the gauche problems the institution is facing.

If ensuring diversity is Hollywood’s angle, why not mimic the racial and gender quotas that are already happening in a lot of workplaces?

Simply, it’s unfair to divide nominees into racial, sexual, religious, or cultural groups in the name of diversity. It’s also unfair to ensure people are nominated for reasons other than their work.

Should Hollywood afford everyone the same opportunity to be nominated? Yes. Could that be done better? Probably.

Hopefully, the incumbent President – Oprah Winfrey – will weigh in on this diversity issue soon.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.