Why I’m sitting out the Oscars

1. I have a cold.

2. I want to watch Bob’s Burgers instead.

3. I have a seven-month-old son. Zach came into our lives last July, putting an end to my theatrical moviegoing for a long time. The last film I saw, the day before we got the call about the adoption, was Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, and in retrospect I’m glad it was this and not something good that marked the close of this particular chapter in my life — like getting food poisoning the day before going on a diet. Since then, my media tastes have confined themselves to brief engagements of casual gaming on the iPad and half-hour television series like Arrested Development. I simply haven’t seen most of the nominated films, and after sitting through Billy Crystal’s opening monologue/medley and missing most of the jokes, I realized what a festival of intertextuality the Oscars are. When I’m properly prepared for it, as in most years past, the ceremony is a fusillade of allusions and inside jokes (though the oxymoronic nature of an “inside joke” told to a mass audience is not lost on me). This year, though, the horizon of my attention has contracted, the protocols of Hollywood pageantry becoming nearly illegible, a broadcast from an alien world. Maybe next year.