I confess, I confess I watched the Golden Globes. Even worse, I watched the red carpet run-up shows to the Golden Globes. While my son went out to fetch us dinner, my daughter-in-law and I, glued to the tube, switched from Isaac Mizrahi’s squeals on E! to Joan and Melissa Rivers’s mother-and -daughter squealfest on the TV Guide Channel. We decided we preferred E!, not because of Mizrahi, who pawed Scarlett Johanson and managed to be even more tactless than Joan, but because it split its screen three ways. There you could see Mariah Carey, looking trashy, while contrasting her with Keira Knightley looking elegant, and Gwyneth Paltrow, looking very flushed. Paltrow is very pregnant.
And, yes, I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that now are stuck in my head in the space that should be used for more important matters like worrying about the growing threat from Iran facts that I really don’t need to know . Like, for instance, that the dress Reese Witherspoon was wearing and told both Isaac and Melissa was vintage Chanel was really only two years old . And, even worse, it has been reported, was worn by Kirsten Dunst to the Globes after-parties in 2003. Reese, even though she won the Golden Globe for her performance in Walk the Line, must be really, really mad.
The other touch of scandal was the fact that Drew Barrymore, in an ugly, see-through, green gown, seemed to have left her bra at home. The camera at first , showed her from the waist-up and then, obviously after the director got an eyeful, from the neck up. Funny, that was the only part of the show that my son showed some interest in. .
To prepare for their red-carpet stroll, stars spend weeks and weeks getting ready and hundreds of thousand of dollars are invested in how they look. The top designers–Valentino, Chanel, Armani, Ralph Lauren–make them an array of gowns which they may or may not chose to wear. (Memo to the duplicitous French: Don’t expect to see Reese back in Chanel any time soon.) They also are loaned hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of jewelry. And they spend hours and hours in preparation on the big day. Eva Longoria, a “Desperate Housewife,” whose outfit included a $500,000 H. Stern bracelet laughed about her personal “tan man” who came to her house to spray her all over with a self-tanner. Surely it takes quite a while for an all-over even tan to be applied and to dry. “A tan man who delivers! Wow!” My daughter-in-law was more impressed by that than her half-a-million-dollars worth of bling.
Now let’s also note that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which each winner dutifully thanks, is not the most august group of journalists. In fact, it has only 85 members, and its membership does not represent internationally known publications such as the Times of London or Le Monde. Some of its members are freelancers whose work is published in, well, Bangladesh and South Korea.
Lately the organization has even been beset by some unpleasant little scandals. Recently, a member who was disciplined and suspended for selling a photo of himself and Tom Selleck to a tabloid newspaper returned home to Northern Ireland and, unable to find work as an entertainment journalist, committed suicide. In 2003 the organization’s head, Philip Berk, introduced the other night as “the hunk” of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association wrote a letter of apology to an actor who claimed his bottom had been grabbed during a ceremony. Mr. Berk said he had done no such thing but had written only to mollify the actor.
The show brings in over five million dollars for the organization and is the third-most-watched award program. NBC which broadcasts the show and the cable channels that do the red carpet run-ups makes millions more, of course, in advertising.
Now I ask you: Is watching with rapt attention this piece of tinsel proof that women are really shallower or dumber than men? Or is it more akin to the over-hyped competition of an obscure bowl game: Who can get it together best?
I asked a group of smart women, who all watched, why we all watched, and they had several answers. Keeping up with pop culture was necessary. Since high fashion and celebrity have merged, it helps one know what is “in style.”
But, the truth is, women don’t need any reason to enjoy the eye candy of award shows. It is just mindless fun and, darn it, we like it. So, thank you, Drew for giving us someone to dish about the other night. And, call me really shallow, if you really want to–I don’t care. Nothing will stop my daughter-in-law and me from tuning into the Academy Awards.
–Myrna Blyth, former long-time editor of Ladies Home Journal and founding editor of More, is author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness–and Liberalism–to the Women of America. Blyth is also an NRO contributor.