I took a blissful little break today and played in the new snow atop Schweitzer, coming in to work in the evening because my work is awesome like that, and because my e-mail dings around the clock anyway due to the multinational nature of my job. Apparently by doing so, I had missed 24 hours of internet gossip, which in that field is basically a lifetime.
The subject: the rescinding of Alone Yet Not Alone‘s Oscar nomination for best original song. The suspect: Bruce Broughton, a former Academy governor and current executive committee member in its music branch. The charge: that Bruce violated Oscar rules by e-mailing voters. The response from the American public: varied, as usual.
Alone Yet Not Alone‘s Facebook page is awash with comments blaming Satan, “Godless Hollywood,” and the nebulous destroyers of traditional family. However, my favorite comment is probably “It would have been very nice to see something with good morals win,” from one Brian Merrick.
Brian, I agree with you. I’m all for good morals in Oscar wins. As such, I cannot support someone who breaks the voting rules to get ahead, even if he justifies it as “the simplest grassroots campaign.” The thing is, the composer has produced great work before, the kind that really gives you chills. But the other thing is, there is no way this particular song could have been nominated based on its musical merits alone. It’s just not that good. It sounds like most songs you’d hear flipping to the Christian radio station — long in the inspirational lyrics department, and short on musical genius. I say this as someone whose musical diet up to age 18 consisted of Christian contemporary, hymns, classical, and country. Mash all that together into an all-too-familiar package, and you’ve got what is supposed to be one of the year’s five most original songs.
So from here, the story will diverge. Many Christians will no doubt overlook the fact that Bruce broke the rules, and claim that somehow, disqualifying the nomination is a slap in the face of all good moralists. Meanwhile, the rest of America cringes and reminds themselves: this is why we think conservative Christians are hypocrites who’d rather assume the rules don’t apply to them (and then claim persecution when they’re caught) than produce true artistry.