Getting The Globes to think globally

As he wrapped up the 2012 Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais light-heartedly but quite pointedly told the room full of glitterati:  “I hope you enjoyed your goodie-bags, your champagne and your gold. I hope they took your mind off the recession for a little while!”  This was a shocking remark. Who could expect less of Mr. Gervais?  It was also a pro-American thing to say, so on the heartbeat of what’s going on.

There on the Golden Globes you see a room full of deserving artists dressed in the finest coutures, excited by this occasion hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press. Yet apart from George Clooney, who praised Brad Pitt for his charitable contributions to worthy causes, the outside world was almost entirely unacknowledged. Nobody talked about what was going on in the recession, or the civil unrest that has awakened places as far apart as Egypt and Wall Street.

You could argue that a glittering celebration is not the right place for preaching. Ricky Gervais can pull off a barbed social comment and get away with it precisely because he’s so funny. But I’m convinced that the second-most watched awards show in the world would only benefit by making some explicit acknowledgement of what’s really going on in the world, however brief that might be. Such a thing need only take a minute.
At the outset of the show, it was mentioned that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is non-profit and contributes to a number of charities. This is wonderful to know, but it was mentioned only in passing. How much better would it be, such as when they introduce the association’s President mid-show, to give 60 seconds to promote a particular charity the group is supporting?
Because they are foreign nationals who have thrived here in the U.S., it might ideally be an American charity – new computers for a set of impoverished schools, or a venue to help the homeless. The many talents present could be invited to match the gift in their own time, in their own ways. To do so would at least balance out the extremity of this exuberant event. There isn’t an actor I know that wouldn’t go all out to help people in impoverished conditions. Many already do throughout the year.
In a world saturated with media shock waves and vulgar reality shows filled with profanity, Seth Rogan joking about his erection comes off as cheap shtick. Of course, it’s only natural that professional funny men should try to compete with the raucous humor of Ricky Gervais, but that’s a trap in the end for the comedians and for us. It would be a wonderful elevation of the Golden Globe Awards if its backers counterbalanced the fun with just a moment to acknowledge our souls, and our deeper connection to the world outside the context of the fancier prizes we wish on ourselves and one another.