Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The "HFPA," and why you shouldn't care...
Unless you've been living under an overpass (or is it over an underpass?), you've heard ad nauseum about Meryl Streep's decision to use her Lifetime Achievement Award presentation at the Golden Globes to excoriate Donald J. Trump.
Why this icon of acting decided to use her moment in the sun to bash Trump is beyond me. Maybe the urge to "preach to the choir" was just too strong. Maybe she just couldn't resist. These smarmy, self-congratulatory, pat-each-other-on-the-back, inside-the-bubble get-togethers by the Hollywood "swells" is growing very old, in my opinion. It's as if they get all dressed up to show off to each other, and oh, by the way, the camera is rolling so that all the Great Unwashed in Nebraska and Georgia and Idaho get to peek in over the transom and watch them get feted. Lucky us.
And just exactly who is the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association" that threw this little awards show, anyway? I wanted to know. Perhaps you do as well. I mean, it's the first of maybe 35 or so awards shows each year, so I wanted to know who they are and why they care. So I, your humble scribe, did a little research. Would you expect any less of me? Didn't think so...
Turns out that the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association" (HFPA) is a little bit less than some huge international organization that serves to figure out which movies and TV shows are the most terrific, and to then present awards to the lucky actors and actresses who proved to be so very special that being singled out for notice was just absolutely essential. Long sentence, I know. But hey, it's my blog.
The HFPA is quite the opposite, in fact. It is so small, so very, very small, that it's almost invisible! I mean, these bozos could throw their annual meeting in the back room of your local Denny's. It turns out that there are - ready for it? - a total of 90 - that's Nine O - members of the HFPA!
Yes, my friends, and you are my friends, there are only a total of 90 members of the HFPA, from 55 different countries. They are sent to Hollywood by newspapers around the world to vacuum up tidbits of info about the glittering stars that populate this enclave just up the street from that toilet known as Los Angeles. Newspapers such as the Jerusalem Gazette, and the Ivory Coast Tribune, the Venezuelan Communist Today, and the Manila Sun Times, send lucky reporters to Tinseltown to report back on the comings and goings of Brad and Kim and Bruce and all the others. Boy, are they lucky.
By the way, I just made up the name of those newspapers, but if they want to use my names, they're welcome to them.
Except that these "journalists" must be actually published back in their home papers in order to retain membership in this august body. If they don't put forth enough work product in order to be considered "worthy," they are then summarily removed from the "active" membership of the HFPA and reduced to an "associate" status. Perish the thought.
So, these guys and gals spend their spare time trying to gather up scoops between their jobs waiting tables at tony restaurants in Brentwood, or parking cars at the Beverly Hilton. We know that to be true because it's been reported in the Hollywood Reporter that they do. You see, the Ivory Coast Today probably doesn't pay enough to cover the costs of living in that sort of rarefied air.
Yet, even though they're almost invisible in terms of gravitas, this tiny group manages to sell the rights to this annual extravaganza to the TV networks for an average of $Ten Million Dollars. Imagine. A bunch of waiters sell an awards show for $10MM and hand out a bunch of statues. There are literally more award recipients than there are award issuers. How do I get this gig?
Oh yeah, I should have given you a bit of background on this scam. It was started back in 1943 as a non-profit organization in order to make the foreign reporters more important and more in-demand. They only admit a maximum of 5 new members each year, and only if the applicant can prove how cool and wonderful they are. And what do they do with the excess from the $10MM after they pay for a few statues? They say they give monetary awards to struggling reporters (?) and provide grants and other benefits to worthy causes. I believe that, don't you? Riiiiiiigggtt!
And so, boys and girls, and, as a result of B. Hussein Obama's hard-fought efforts to demand "gender-fluidity," "others," an organization that could have its annual meeting in a semi-trailer gives out little awards and permits an icon like Meryl Streep to trash our incoming President of the United States without any consideration at all as to how those poor toothless rubes out there in the "Great Flyover" feels about it.
Something about this kind of smells, doesn't it?