I'd like to thank God - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Before we get too far into this column, I’d like to be clear that it’s not going to be some sort of uber-religious story about my Catholic upbringing. This, rather, is more of a reference to much-parodied Oscar speeches, in which God, most certainly will be thanked at some point. (However, upon further research, that doesn’t seem to be the case. As of 2018, the most-thanked person in Oscars history was Steven Spielberg, who received official Oscar gratitude 42 times. Next was disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein with 34, though his numbers have cooled off in recent years, followed by Canadian director James Cameron with 28, George Lucas with 23 and Peter Jackson with 22 before we get all the way down to God with a respectable 19.)
This is a real roundabout way to get into this column, but I recently got thinking about the way the “money men” get a disproportionate amount of praise when a project is successful.
At the Oscars, for example, there are all the creative awards. Actors are honoured for their excellent performances, directors for their direction, writers for their scripts, etc. But, when the biggest award of the night, Best Picture, is handed out, the first person to grab that gold is someone most of us have never heard of or seen before: the film’s producer.
For a fan of the movie, familiar with, say, the stars, the director or maybe even the writers, it must be a bit anticlimactic then to see someone you don’t know make an acceptance speech at what will no doubt be the biggest moment in a movie’s lifespan.
The same is true in some sports. In the National Football League and Major League Baseball, when a team wins the Super Bowl or the World Series, respectively, after plenty of pomp and circumstance and a gruelling contest between two teams comprised of some of the world’s best athletes, two of sports’ most celebrated trophies are handed over to... the owners of the teams, wearing a suit, fresh off a vigorous walk down from the owner’s suite.
The National Hockey League is better about this. When a team wins the Stanley Cup, the first person to get their hands on it is the captain of the winning team. It makes for a fitting celebration and release of excitement, whereas, in those earlier celebrations, you can often hear fans clapping politely, waiting for players and coaches to celebrate, so they can really be happy.
I’ve thought about this at home a bit recently. About a year ago, I spoke with Blyth-based artist Scott Ramsay about a few ideas I had for some paintings at the house. After batting some ideas around, I commissioned him for a handful of paintings, two of which are now hanging on the walls of the Loughlin home. Since they’ve gone up, I’ve received a steady stream of compliments from anyone who’s seen them. (They’ve come by way of texts, e-mail and social media, of course, as I wonder if we’ll ever have visitors to the house again. Remind me why I’m putting so much effort into decorating the house in a pandemic again.)
Anyway, as I’ve fielded compliment after compliment - quite graciously, might I add - I can’t help but feel like a bit of a fraud. After all, I didn’t paint the art. Scott did. He should be flooded with compliments, not me.
Maybe this is just me earning my living in a creative industry, but, while the money will always be important - and creators need to be paid for their work in order to normalize creative endeavours as worthy pursuits, not hobbies for spare time - the creators out there need to be recognized for all that they do.