Tuesday, November 14, 2017

And the Award Goes To....

Everyone I think. I mean isn't it chic these days to win an award? An award equates with competence right?

But doesn't everyone have at east one? Does that mean we are all competent and relevant and talented?

We are far from that.

I have won awards. I have never heard of a journalist or any writer out there out there who doesn't have one, or two or three or ten. Big S@&t.

And in other walks of life.....

Just consider all the Peace promoted and exercised by Yasser Arafat.

And what about the profile in courage that sums up the moral character of that Lion of the Senate, 2008 winner Edward M. (Blonde in the Pond) Kennedy.

And I can hear those wonderful Milli Vanilli tunes running in my head. In fact as I type this I am humming along (or is that humming triggering something else?), Oh thank you Shammys; I mean Grammy Awards.

As with elections the vast wasteland, both television and social media, are filled with award shows and mentions. It seems every few days someone wins a boat load of hardware. Such chosen winners are now winning 15, 20, 50, 100 awards at a time breaking all records upon records. And to that we attach legitimacy.

Kevin Spacey has two Oscars.

And us writers are just as pathetic with the on-line popularity contests run by every writing and reading site. And to that we attach legitimacy.

Once upon a time an actual musician who doesn't lip sync opened the American Music Awards. Once upon a time an man who actually revolutionized a field in the arts made a true statement as to the status of awards and that was in the 1980's.

Let me paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis; 'Elvis Presley and I haven't won many awards, but we all know who the Kings of Rock n Roll are.'

I put my stock in a body of work and if I have to deal with an award for the moment. I put my stock on juried awards where names are not attached and the work itself is judged for merit because it can't be judged for anything else.

But even a body of work can be bastardized.

It is a fact that the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters went to Ray Bradbury in 2000 and Arthur Miller in 2001. But in 1999 Oprah Winfrey won the award and in 1988 an editor named Jason Epstein, yes that Jason Epstein took home the prize.

For you Horror writers and readers; you should aware of the Horror Writers Association, that pay for play guild that runs their own award. You should be aware as to the questions and intrigue surrounding the Stoker Awards.

Face it, most awards are not meritorious. Cary Grant never won an Oscar.

Most awards are simply window dressing to appease a political faction or to jab another political faction.

Moral of this story, when buying the house don't pay attention to the mantle pay attention to the construction.

The continuing moral: Stop with the simple linear thinking. Get to know who Arthur Miller is. I bet a lot of people have no clue who he was.

I recently asked a clerk at Barnes and Noble for a biography of Eugene O'Neill and I was met with a blank stare as the clerk then inquired from me 'Who is Eugene O'Neill?'

Read from the past to the present. Understand and study the base of your genre. Understand that many of our top men and woman of letters of today employ writers to write their award winning crap in committees and panels under the guise of teaching writing.

Pay attention to the body of someone's work not what someone said they wrote in 2015.

There are too many awards given to too many people and the only thing over saturation accomplishes is drowning the host.

Take a step back and take a deep breath. Winning awards is nice but gold freaking stars went out in kindergarten.


EA said...

Well said, Joe. Nice to read you again. Elaine

JosephPatchen said...

Thank you.

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