If you like the Oscars, check out politics

Watching the Oscars is always fun, but we can’t let pop culture get in the way of important news.

Martha Pietruszewski

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Academy Award this Sunday. The fifth time’s the charm.
 
 
But why do I even care? Why did I Snapchat my entire reaction to Leo winning? To be honest with you, I don’t even know. I personally watch the Oscars because I enjoy the films and the fashion. (And of course, what if I miss a meme?)
 
 
But as a society, we place far more emphasis on popular culture than is necessary. The Oscars only matter because we let them. Seeing who wore what outfit doesn’t help us make informed decisions on which political candidate to support, for example. 
 
 
There are dozens of other things that we could care about more than who’s onscreen. We could focus on climate change, women’s health care and equal pay, just to start.
 
 
But I understand that kind of stuff can be really boring. Pop culture is exciting.
 
 
There’s a lot going on in our world. I try to be as informed as possible, but I often feel overwhelmed. That’s why there need to be better resources to help us easily digest complex information and help us learn to value current events just as much as  current celebrity relationships.
 
 
Two women working to make the news less overwhelming are Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg. They’re the founders of theSkimm, a daily newsletter that brings you news of top events (in manageable paragraphs) every morning. 
 
 
Zakin and Weisberg understand that humor and pop culture go a long way to get through to people, and they do their best to make their newsletter entertaining as well as informative. For example, they often include drinking games in their newsletter if there is a debate coming up.
 
 
The newsletter is also is a way for you to quickly digest the news if you don’t have time to slog through the New York Times every morning. 
 
 
Apart from resources like theSkimm, celebrities themselves can encourage us to focus on current events. Leo, if you’re reading this, thank you for making your acceptance speech about climate change. You understood that you’re an influential person in the world and that people will probably listen to you. 
 
 
A few notable celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson, are truly passionate about a cause. However, if more celebrities used their influence to encourage us to pay attention to important events, I bet we would start caring more about political causes than red carpet dresses. 
 
 
It’s important that all citizens get informed about what matters. This is the world we live in, and leaving informed decisions to other people is dangerous. I’m not saying that you can’t be up on the latest celebrity trends, but it’s important that we all spend a bit of time reading up on the events of the world.
 
 
After all, you’ll sound a lot more knowledgeable at your award speech if you know what you’re talking about. I’m looking at you, Sam Smith. 
 
 
Martha Pietruszewski welcomes comments at [email protected].