I don’t usually write about things such as the Oscars, as the topic leaves me supremely uninterested. However, it is hard to avoid it if you watch, listen to, or read the news. And I suddenly realized something, one of the reasons why I consider awards like the Oscars so irrelevant.
I probably wasn’t even in grade school yet (my guess is that it was the summer of 1968 and my family was watching the Mexico City Olympics) when I observed that there really are two types of sports. The results of sprinters, jumpers or weightlifters are measured by an objective standard: the reading from a scale, a ruler, or the face of a clock. But others, like gymnasts, are judged entirely differently: by a panel of experts who make subjective judgments of their performance. The ranking of a weightlifter doesn’t depend on which scale was used, as all are calibrated to the same standard; the ranking of a gymnast, on the other hand, depends heavily on the constitution of the panel of judges supervising the competition.
But what bothered me most is not that these differences exist, but that the world of adults did not seem to take notice. Grownups all talked about the Olympic gold of a weightlifter the same way as they did about the gold of a gymnast, as if there was no difference.
My disconnect with the world of grownups began around this time, I think. And, as my misgivings about the Oscars demonstrate, it has not ended.