Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol: "That's YOUR Opinion"--UPDATE

UPDATE: Talked to my mom today. She thinks that American Idol is heartless and she "can't stand to watch that show". I sighed indulgently (you know how moms can be--kidding, only kidding) and told her that I take the bigger view than any individual dopey kid looking for his big break that's never going to happen. Well, yes, some of the comments are mean. And yes, shows like American Idol are the modern gladitorial matches where the winner survives rounds with more vicious opponents. These shows bring out the base and degrading animal in all of us. I wrote about that here, before.

My point about last night's display, was not to heap more shame on disturbingly non-talented performances. My point was to bring up the fact that many contestents actually believed that they had a chance and would do ANYTHING to become famous. Like the one boy who cried into his mothers arms:

"I just want to be famous. I just want to be famous." (Boo hoo, crocodile tears, anguished sobs.)

And his mother retorted, "Oh, you'll be famous honey. You'll be famous."

Um, mom, no he won't--unless you consider a public display of lack of emotional control famous. Mom's indulging of her little no-talent will spawn a lot of therapy and/or jail-time in the future. How is he going to handle disappointment when he is so convinced of his own super-great awesomeness? Imagine the disappointment to find out he's meant to be....a middle manager.

One of these days, a contestent who is equally stunned to find he or she doesn't have what it takes will hang himself in despair. The show and Simon will be blamed, of course. No one will think to ask Mommy and Daddy what kind of celebrity gruel they fed their beaming ray of sunshine for eighteen years. But the answer would be this from a cooing mother,"Oooo, honey. You're so talented. I just know you'll make it in Hollywood. You sing great! You're the best ever."

Of course, mom and dad don't have to contribute to the completely delusional thinking. The popular culture is so infected with all things celebrity that an average family life looks dull and boring--and yet, that's how most people live. Happily, I might add.


Randy: "No."

Paula: "No."

Simon: "Do you really think you can win American idol?"

Contestent: "Yes."

Simon: "But you kan't sing."

Contestent: "That's YOUR opinion."

We have a problem in America. Thanks to post-modern deconstructionism, where every person's own unique experience is as important as every other persons, a no-talent-ass-clown with no pitch, no tone, who can't sing, can't even hear the tune, has the looks of a Tolkien troll and the I.Q. of a slice of Spam, believes he is talented and has a future musical career and all the fame, glory and filthy luchre, not to mention hot blond babes, in his future all evidence to the contrary.

Heaven forbid the truth is spoken. It's not nice to state the obvious. The amount of vitriol spewed at Simon was shocking. Most of the time, I thought he was nice. He was certainly nicer than he could rightfully have been. Some of the offense was comical in it's delusion. "You don't know anything about music!" spat one wounded "artist". 30 million buys a lot of patience and Coca Cola, evidently. My head hurt.

It's not just the screeching. It's the full-throated belief in personal greatness. Is this what the self-esteem movement hath wrought? Everyone is special in his or her own way--and there is no such thing as "bad" singing--only "different" singing.

Well, there is such thing as bad singing. There is such a thing as ugliness. There is also such a thing as beauty. We know it when we see it, right? It's admitting to the notion of objective truth we have trouble with these days. And worst of all, we're deluding ourselves--staying trapped in a fantasy land of wasted time, wasted energy and wasted gifts trying to make something happen that just isn't happening.

And let me tell you, clueless contestent: It. Is. Not. Happening.

Oh, and there's this: Paula Abdul is either on muscle relaxants and pain meds or is drinking Rum-n-Cokes during the tedious process of listening to thousands of no-talents. I feel for her. I think I'd be hitting the sauce after listening to that garbage, too.


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't watch these shows so I don't know of whom you speak, but as a former musician I could see this coming with the advent of karaoke, and talent shows long before that. Everyone is a star in his own mind now. The worse you are, the more the drunks love you. Real talent is boring and threatening.

And yet..think back, back in the 1940s when bebop was the newest jazz craze, or when black blues shouters were first being heard on the radio. People thought these developments were the Ruin of Civilization also. But I love that music--now--and I'm not the only one. So I can see how things get so twisted around to where you really wonder what's good and what isn't.

And often some of the best artists are also the most self-centered, solipsistic, manipulative, megalomaniacal people that you just can't stand in real life...but then they become famous.

So sometimes I don't know what to think. I wonder even if some of th better rap won't be viewed in a much more favorable light 50 years hence. The sheer prolificness of some of these *artists* amazes me, not to mention the alliteration, meter, internal rhyme etc.

Who knows.

Dr. Melissa said...


I actually like some rap now. For all his crimalness, Snoop Doggy Dog works his way around a beat with the same finesse of Frank Sinatra. Eminem channels rage and angst into staccato beats. His lyrics are challenging and speak for many young teen boys (for better or for worse).

These guys actually have talent. Most of those trying out on American Idol do not. American Idol is not trying to put forth a new music genre. It's trying to find the next Pop Idol. The kids trying out actually believe they have a chance.

Who put those insane ideas in their heads? No, if you look at the MTV shows and so-called reality TV, young people and their parents seek celebrity and delude themselves into believing they have what it takes.

It's not about talent or ability it's about "belief". If I believe, I can achieve. Well, you know what? I want to be a NBA star, but that ain't happenin' either.

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