Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

The Expat Oscar Experience


Watching the Oscars in Europe is pretty tricky. The time difference is the main obstacle since the show starts at 5pm Pacific which is 2am in Spain and France. If you can manage to stay awake, which I generally can, the next issue is access which isn’t at all easy to manage. The couple years I had cable TV in Spain, we didn’t have the extra subscription channels that may have broadcast the ceremony live and since I’ve been in France, I’ve been TV-less, so it’s always a struggle.

Ways I’ve managed to “see” the show include:

→ Listening to ABC’s “back-stage mic” via a speaker plugged into my computer next to my pillow.

→ Watching some Scandinavian show where the people were dressed in tuxes and evening gowns, sitting on a set, watching the actual Oscars on a TV in the background.

→ Listening to the NYT’s David Carr and A. O. Scott do basically the same thing, but in English via the NYT’s iPhone app.

→ Toggling between live-blogs on sites like Entertainment Weekly, The AV Club and Television Without Pity.

This year, I kind of gave up after thirty minutes of trying to find some way around all the restrictions and country-blocking that seem in vogue online now and just followed the whole thing on Twitter. I’d never done anything like this before since I don’t care about most of the “events” that are big enough to warrant much action on Twitter (singing competition shows, the Super Bowl), but I have to say that it was a better substitute than some of the other ridiculous things I’ve tried (and certainly less dangerous than having electronics in bed). Lots of people actually posted Vines of the best moments, blurry snippets recorded directly off TV screens, but they were better than overhearing what was happening or watching a screen within another screen.

And if I had found some way to watch live, I would surely have missed Rolling Stone Magazine proving that PC-culture is a dangerous thing to impose upon people who don’t use their brains.



In case it’s not clear

Not all black people are African-American. Certainly British director / artist Steve McQueen (no relation) is not any kind of American. Black people can be from the Caribbean or Africa or Europe or anywhere really, not just the US, a possibility which is lost on many Americans trying their hardest not offend anyone, ever.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

8 thoughts on “The Expat Oscar Experience

  1. I don’t care enough about the Oscars to even attempt to watch it. We didn’t even watch all of it when we lived in Toronto. But your solution seems quite innovative and the quote from Rolling Stone is the best ever…so typical! (Suzanne)

    P.S. I like your new design. Works well.

  2. The Rolling Stone quote reminds me of working in London in the 1980s. My employer took the new Race Relations Act very seriously, and among other actions, sent all employees a quesionaire about ethnic origins. My office was very, very mixed, and the tick boxes did not offer sufficient choice. One black girl complained that she was neither “black-African”, nor “black- Carribean”. She had been born in Neasden (a London suburb, often mocked for being very bland and middle-class) and had never been outside England. So she drew her own tick box, and labelled it “black-English”.
    I like to think that things have moved on since then, but I’m not always sure that is true .(sigh).

    • Ooooh, I like this story! I will look into this RRA of which you speak since the Brit attitude toward race is fraught in a totally different way than the American. And your co-worker was totally right; I think we should all get to choose our own damn boxes to tick.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Oh, Rolling Stone, never change.

    I definitely stayed up too late a few years ago when we were in Spain and I was going to miss the Emmys, and I think I ended up following most of the action via Tumblr/Twitter which wasn’t that bad. (I’m far more invested in television awards than movie awards, only because it’s easier to follow all of the shows than go out and see every movie by the time the Oscars roll around.)

    • This year, I had to force myself to see all the big contenders since I do kind of care who wins, though, as I get older, the Academy’s selections are significantly different from my own. I just like to think of the Oscars as prom + graduation for the high school that is Hollywood where they all come together for one last big party. (Plus, it really gets my brain working to figure out all the relationships between everyone, like when Denzel announced that the Oscar went to “my girl, Julia Roberts!” I had to quickly recall that they co-starred in THE PELICAN BRIEF and that she kind of fought for him to get the part — though the romantic relationship was cut.)

      And also, the little moments, when the technical / below the line people accept awards and you can tell that it’s the most amazing that’s ever happened to them.

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