Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And The Award For the Biggest Bullshit Self-Congratulatory Gesture Ever Goes To ...

This is from an AP story about the IRS, taxes, and the Emmy gift bags this year, but the taxes part isn't the point here. Read it, and I'll meet you at the bottom.

"Meanwhile, here's a complete rundown of the final list of goodies heading into the ultra-swank 2006 Primetime Emmy Presenter Gift Bags:

* Five-day stay at Old Bahama Bay on Grand Bahama Island, plus access to all water sports;
* One-year bicoastal membership to the Sports Club/LA (which, contrary to its name, has locations in San Francisco, Miami, New York and various other hotspots);
* Sprint Fusic mobile phone, retails for $329;
* Two nights at the US Grant in San Diego, including spa treatments;
* One-year bicoastal membership to YogaWorks;
* Five-day golf or ski getaway at the Adara Hotel in Whistler;
* Six days at the Wharekauhau Country Estate in Featherston, New Zealand;
* Four days at the Dolphin Bay Hotel & Residences in Pismo Beach, California;
* Six days at The Lodge at Molokai Ranch on Molokai, Hawaii;
* Babystyle gift card, Lulu the Lamb original stuffed kids' chair and personal shopping consult;
* Gift certificate for two-day "Emmy Crush Camp" wine appreciation at the Napa Valley Hotel;
* Food & wine pairing for six people from the Crustacean Restaurant in Beverly Hills;
* Spa gift certificate and products from Fresh;
* Gingi skincare products;
* Ike Behar silk tie, button-down shirt and lapis cufflinks;
* Morton's Steakhouse gift certificate (last year's was for $1,500);
* String of pearls from Pearl Paradise;
* Prive and Ona Spa gift certificate;
* Dooney & Bourke leather roller luggage;
* "365 Days of Dove" chocolate assortment;
* Gift certificate for linens from DreamSleep Studio;
* Instructions on how to donate gowns, tuxes and other Emmy goodies to the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation to benefit relief efforts in Darfur, Sudan, the Children's Defense Fund and Cure Autism Now."

When L.A. Dave read that list to my yesterday, I nearly jumped out of my skin when he rattled off the last item. Are you fucking kidding me?

I think the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is a fabulous thing. But I'm guessing that "other Emmy goodies" doesn't refer to all of the swag that's included in the gift bags.

The thing that pisses me off is every single person who will be receving said bag can well-afford every single thing on the list. Even those poor underpaid schlubs who are only making $50,000 an episode.

The value of this year's gift bag, given as an inducement for people to show up and hand out awards, even if they're not nominated, is around $33,000. Thirty-three THOUSAND dollars in swag for the trouble of having to show up at a glamorous awards show and say 12 words? Oh, the poor babies. How about just making it part of the deal: Hey, you're lucky enough to be a well-paid actor with a regular gig. So in exchange for your hugely inflated paycheck, we're gonna expect you to show up at the industry awards show once a year and fill a seat, OK?

George Clooney, one of the people in Hollywood (who doesn't live in Hollywood) who has his head screwed on straight about all this insanity, auctioned off his Oscar swag last year and raised $45,100 toward the United Way's Hurricane Response and Recovery Fund.

Every year, one of my clients sends me a Christmas card that's imprinted with a message that a donation has been made in my name to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. I used to work for him full time and he did the same thing instead of giving us Christmas gifts. Well, the first year I worked for him, he gave everyone a gift certificate for an hour-long massage, to the tune of $80 or so. But nobody balked when he started donating that money instead. All of us recognized that it was more important for families to have food on the table.

I find it sickening that included in these Emmy gift bags are instructions on how to donate to Clothes Off Our Backs. Here, they're saying, here's a bunch of stuff that you don't need and could afford anyway, but we'll give to you just for showing up, and because we're all so special and we deserve lavish gifts, but oh, won't you consider doing a little something, you know, for the starving children in Darfur?

How about donating $33,000 in each person's name directly to the charity and letting them pick up their own tab at Morton's?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when your screenplay makes it big, and you're invited to an awards ceremony with lot's of swag; will you donate it? Or will we have to send out Christopher to take it from you?

9:49 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, screenwriters are hardly considered human in Hollywood most of the time, but yes, if I'm ever in a position to be gifted with swag, I'll donate it/auction it/whatever. (I heard somewhere that the hotel stays and such are reserved in the giftee's name and aren't transferable, but there must be a way to get around that.)
Christopher won't have to swipe it. Funny, though.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

I'd donate everything but:* "365 Days of Dove" chocolate assortment;

mmm, chocolate...

my word: ffeeii - dyslexic beanstalk giant

10:55 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Good point, Jeff. Because the chocolate, it might get melty, and that would just be a shame.
My word: tlltlpp. What's with the pairs of consonants today?

11:05 AM  

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