An Oscar Shipwreck with Captains Far too Young
By: Mary Fran Bontempo
(Warning–Today’s column is a bit of a rant, just so you know!)

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Am I happy that they were, in the words of some, a “disaster?” Well, no. That would be mean.
But am I secretly relieved that they weren’t a rousing success? Kind of.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco took over Oscar’s hosting duties last week and the reviews were unanimous. It was pretty awful.

The producers, actively seeking a younger demographic, figured the lovely Hathaway and the way cool Franco would be just the ticket to lure younger viewers and enthrall the rest of us with the glamour of young Hollywood. To say the experiment fell flat would be an understatement.

Franco was cool, all right, to the point where you wanted to take his pulse. For her part, Hathaway overcompensated with cute—giggling and (hopefully) forgetting she was miked when she “Woo Hoo’d” loudly at every big name performer who walked onto the stage.

The bottom line? They were simply too young for the job.

America has always had a love affair with youth. And it’s no more obvious than in Hollywood, where every actor over the age of thirty has a plastic surgeon on speed dial.

In truth, the chasm between the generations has never been more pronounced, and we have technology to thank. I can personally attest to feeling like a Neanderthal next to a generation that takes to the latest technological developments like ducks to water. (Did I just use that analogy? I really am old.)

Those of us over a certain age often feel dismissed by a younger generation that has no time to drag us along with them, especially when, with advancements coming at the speed of light, they can barely keep up themselves.

So they want us out of the way. Witness the cover of the current issue of Philadelphia Magazine, sporting the headline “Just Die Already” with a lead story announcing the impatience of a younger generation that wants control now and wants us “old heads” (my daughter’s charming term) out of the way.

But they’re not ready. Because life is never about one thing. As I tell my kids ad nauseum, it’s about balance.

Life takes skill, on more fronts than just the technological—which seems to be the primary focus of the younger generation’s assertion that they’re so much smarter than us. Um, sorry, but we “old heads” invented the technology of which you are so enamored. That is, we invented the technology that actually provides valuable information, i.e. the internet. I will rightly give you credit for inventing the mindless, self-involved nonsense that is Facebook and Twitter.

Life takes diplomacy (not so easy to achieve in 140 characters), wisdom (which comes from life experiences that require looking up from a mobile device), calm, intuition and confidence. Not the casual confidence that comes from a little knowledge, but from the solid foundation borne of experience.

The bravado of youth tends to fade quickly when up against a true challenge. Better, smarter, faster are simply glib, two syllable words that mean little without thoughtful action to back them up.

And though it’s hardly a weighty example, the crumbling of two young, talented actors on the shipwreck that was the Oscars serves to illustrate the point. Sure they’re talented. Of course they shine within a carefully controlled environment. But are they ready to run the show? Not hardly.

Which brings us to the final and likely, most important life skill the younger generation needs to learn from us: patience. No one wants to wait their turn. We didn’t either. In fact, it’s the job of youth to be impatient. But a true sign of maturity is the acknowledgement that one still has important things to learn, and that takes time.

So to all of you youngsters who can’t wait for us to “Just Die, Already,” first, I apologize for my crankiness. I’m just not ready to sit my butt in a rocking chair or a coffin yet. Heck, I’m finally getting to the point where every cent I earn isn’t going to support your generation because you can’t find a job, don’t know what you want to do, etc., etc.

Second, might I suggest you turn your somewhat narcissistic noses away from the mirror and your iPhones and pay attention to what we’re trying to teach you.

Who knows, maybe in ten years you’ll be ready to host the Oscars.

Well, now I feel better. Care to share your own rant? Click “comments” below, and vent away!

Article first published as An Oscar Disaster the Proves the Youngsters Need More Time on Technorati.