Blood on the red carpet: Annie Proulx at the Oscars

One of the few good things about tidying up on a Sunday morning is that it gives one an excuse to read old newspapers before they go for recycling. I’ve just come on this gem that I’d missed — Annie Proulx’s acute account of what the Oscars hoopla is like from the inside. (She wrote the story on which Brokeback Montain is based.) Sample:

The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture. Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good. And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash – excuse me – Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver….


Now there’s a woman who knows her Winnie the Pooh.

And while we’re on that subject, tech publisher Tim O’Reilly runs wonderful conferences called “FOO camps” (FOO = “Friends of O’Reilly”). Someone from Disney heard about them, and organised an analogous one for Disney staff. They called it a “POOH camp”, naturally.