I went to sleep before
Reading Twitter the next morning, it took a while to figure out what happened. It sounded like
But it turns out they weren't crazy, they were victims of the greatest screw-up in Academy Awards history.
The first thing to say is that Sunday night's bizarreness fits into a more general trend of universal weirdness. It's as if at some point we took the wrong exit into a parallel universe, and the bungled Oscars are just the latest example that we're strangers in a strange land (as
Maybe there's some weird version of the Beetlejuice curse, where if you say "that'll never happen" three times, it happens.
This certainly seems true in sports, where decades-long rules of the universe have been rescinded. The
In politics, the first obvious sign that the world was off its axis was the
Maybe the experts aren't clueless; they just don't realize that for some reason we live on Earth 2, where these things are normal.
But there is an explanation that doesn't rely on parallel universes, magic or someone poisoning the water with crazy pills.
Perhaps the second law of thermodynamics explains it. Well, not the sports victories, but the political and institutional screw-ups.
"The Second Law of Thermodynamics," he adds, "is acknowledged in everyday life" whenever we say things like "Ashes to ashes," "Things fall apart" or "Rust never sleeps."
Complicated things are ... complicated. If you don't work hard at keeping them running, the natural order of the universe is for them to break down. Planes don't "want" to fly, bikes don't "want" to stay upright, and people, markets and institutions don't always "want" to behave the way experts in
This is a particularly useful lesson for
There is the occasional concession to reality. In "Wag the Dog," the government is hapless -- but
The real-life producers dispelled that myth. As they say on the internet, the accountants in charge of the envelopes had only one job -- and they butchered it. And the producers of one of the most watched, most important (and self-important) cultural events in American life never thought to have a protocol in place in the event that someone hands a presenter the wrong envelope.
I guess someone said, "That'll never happen."