This May 22, 2018 file photo shows Stephen King at the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York. King, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says he cares only about "quality," not "diversity" when deciding on awards. The best-selling author's comments came shortly after the announcement of this year's nominees for the Academy Awards, widely criticized for only choosing male directors and for an almost entirely white group of acting finalists. King wrote that he had been allowed to nominate people for best picture, best screenplay and best original screenplay, and that for him "the diversity issue _ as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway _ did not come up." (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The Oscar finalists were announced this week. It was a field that represented a diverse range of interests.

There were movies from online entities and the traditional blockbusters. There were war stories and cover-your-eyes films about homicidal clowns. There were car movies and rabbit movies and retold classics from literature from days gone by.

Simply put, there feels like there's something for almost everyone.

Well, that is there was something for everyone unless everyone does not mind their word choice properly.

Less than a day after the nominations were announced, Stephen King tried to explain his voting and nominating position in terms of the Academy Awards.

"As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. For me, the diversity issue — as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway — did not come up. That said ... " the greatest horror writer of all-time posted to Twitter.

He followed that with, " ... I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong."

Of course the outrage ensued. Because, well, you know. We can't have a day without lunch, a commercial with Flo from Progressive and outrage.

We spoke in this space about the echo chamber that Twitter has become.

Well, now it apparently it comes with a boomerang effect that your last Tweet is the only Tweet that matters.

Of course King speaking with common sense has been completely lost in the discourse because the word 'diversity' is used.

What, you value merit over diversity? We'd rather fill boxes or please groups than, you know, reward the deserving nominees for the best work? How dare you.

And to be even more clear, King said the "diversity issue ... did not come" into play, before being more clear — and correct — that "Only quality" matters.

Putting emphasis on diversity in terms of opportunity is understandably important. Putting diversity as the top line item on awards of merit is akin to participation trophies.

Because when it comes to honors and awards, shouldn't we strive to honor the best, regardless of color, sex, religion, et al?

Of course, thankfully, King is a well-renowned Trump hater, otherwise he likely would have been tarred and feathered and walked out of Hollywood with a shame ceremony like Cersei Lannister.

Imagine if someone like Vince Vaughn had offered the simple wisdom of awards honoring the best, regardless of demographic. Because we all saw the social blowback Vaughn got for simply shaking President Trump's hand this week at the national championship game.

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Jay Greeson

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