The Other Charlotte hailed Oscar night, with its sweep for ‘Return of the King’ and relatively subdued behavior (nobody disrobed!), as the return of civilization.

I mostly agreed with Char, though I had to ‘fess up that I did sorta miss watching the stars make fools of themselves.

Now comes columnist Tina Brown to show why Char and I will never make it as members of the cultural elite.

‘Everyone [?] has trashed the soporific Oscar show this year, but what can you expect from the new tippy-toe culture in which no one can risk being controversial,’ asks Ms. Brown.

‘One false move and you might unleash a fiery ‘Eventoid’,’ she notes.

An Eventoid is like when Janet Jackson shows her breast on Super Bowl Sunday and unsophisticated folks like me find it distasteful. Ms. Brown refers to this as ‘the Janet Jackson scare.’

Gossip-maven Tina did, however, hit on one thing I think is both fascinating and highly significant’the behind-the-scenes chatter at this year’s Oscar night was all about Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion,’ which Ms. Brown describes as a ‘holy horror scourge-and-snuff flick [that] has stormed the box office with $125 million in a five-day opening.’ (I think now it’s up to about $144 million.)

In a Hollywood ‘that a year ago would have heard the phrase ‘Vatican II’ and assumed it was a sequel”you gotta hand it to Tina for this bon mot!’the success of Mad Mel’s movie is upsetting.

I have been distressed by those who try to relate this movie to current politics. That does a gross disservice to a movie that is not about Bush v. Kerry. But I’m going to quote Tina on this very subject anyhoo:

‘The Gibson phenomenon makes Hollywood denizens nervous because it brings home the scary power of what they fear most: Bush country.’

She concludes something similar to what I noted a few days ago (‘Inkwell thanks the Academy’maybe”):

‘Maybe that’s all the good behavior at the Oscars was really about. Hollywood Democrats think that John Kerry’s candidacy is going really well and they don’t want to screw it up by being boorish or nasty and giving Bill O’Really and Rush Limbaugh a lot of new material for their next flattening Eventoid.

‘In that sense, the boredom of the Oscars this year was a function not so much of repression or despair as of cautious political hope.’