Can we stop pretending the envelope snafu at the Oscars was a tragedy? In fact, can we stop pretending it was even a negative? While we’re at it, can we admit what it really was: An incredible several hours of social media fun.
There’s a common theme in the way social media memes and moments are perceived over time. Something happens. People — often on their couches and usually in their underpants — go berserk on Twitter, Facebook, and whatever the young people are using. Then, somehow, that silly, meaningless madness evolves into a series of thinkpieces — and before you know it someone is apologizing, or losing a job, or worse, writing a thinkpiece.
Look, if you worked on La La Land, the envelope moment was a major drag. If you worked on what was a pretty good Oscars telecast, you’re probably frustrated that the reviews of the show have been dominated by a single gaffe. And if you work for PriceWaterhouse Coopers, you’re probably really sick of the one-liners by now.
But the rest of us are just joking around. In the era of closed doors and open laptops, we long for moments when we’re all talking about the same thing at the same time. It’s all the better, if that thing is unrelated to American society’s devolution into a authoritarian state.
You know how many hours of television you have to watch to come across something memorable?
No one owes us an apology. A usually boring and forgettable TV moment was transformed into a remarkable event that gave us all something fun to talk about around water coolers, both real and virtual.
As is so often the case, our outrage is faux. Our fixation is driven by fun. And applying false layers of meaning to such moments is sometimes silly, often damaging, and always a major buzzkill.