Moving Humanity Forward (At the Oscars)

I got really worked up—inspired!—watching the Oscars this year. And I want to preserve that feeling.

This was the first thing I took notes on last night, this clip introducing the movie Roma, a nominee for Best Picture. Actor Diego Luna speaks in Spanish (and I loved all the Spanish spoken last night! Loved it!) and then chef Jose Andres makes some comments about the “recipe” that creates humanity never turns out the same—we’re each unique—altho the ingredients in that recipe are universally the same. So. Very. Special. You can just hear him say “are universal” where this clip begins. You’ll then see exactly where I leapt to my feet and started shouting …

Yes, immigrants and women move humanity forward. There are plenty of conservative old white men (say, my brother) who were probably annoyed by this little bit of politics, but piss on them. They are the past. The future is on the way, and some of it speaks Spanish.

Speaking of the future, I saw a one-minute version of this ad last night too. “Dear Tech.” Brilliant. And thank you. Let’s do make a difference in government. Let’s keep our voting data secure, for one thing. Conservatives probably hated this too.

And you know I’m an old softy when I can get inspired by a television ad. Looooooove this. You go, ladies. Show them what crazy can do, indeed.

It made me really happy to see Spike Lee get an Oscar after all these years. Some years ago (and yes, I’ve probably told this story before) Spike Lee and I were waiting for an early morning flight to New York from Nashville. He was studiously ignoring people who tried or even looked like they might try to talk to him by keeping himself buried in a Kindle. I’d noticed him as soon as I got to the gate, and I’m well-schooled in “Nashville Rules”: don’t bother celebrities, we say, let them have their privacy. And I sat there and fought with myself about it, because I have strong feelings about Spike Lee. But right before boarding, I broke the rule. I spoke really fast: “Mr. Lee. I just want you to know that Do the Right Thing is one of the best and most important movies I’ve ever seen in my life, and 25th Hour was pretty stunning too. Keep up the good work.” He looked up at this chubby middle-aged woman, set his book down, stood up, and shook my hand and thanked me for saying so. It made my day.

So I’m glad for Spike Lee, and I’m glad Americans saw Spanish spoken at the Oscars, and I hope maybe the hearts of other folks were touched too. Immigrants, women … crazy, man.