Thursday, January 25, 2007
I've watched a few episodes of the new season of American Idol. I've come to the conclusion that this television show, perhaps even reality TV in general is a symptom of something very cool, something very disturbingly right about the world. In the first season or two, it wasn't immediately apparent. It was just something kind of funny, but now that it's become a mainstay of the winter primetime lineup on Fox, it's something more. Where before it was fun to laugh at the bad singers, and Simon being cruel to them, and those same bad singers verbally abusing Simon, saying things like, "He don't know what he's missing. He'll be sorry," that stuff is just expected now. It's the subtleties that now become apparent.
Simon remains blissfully diffident in regards to these comments. I mean, it's all for ratings. Anyway, now that AI has gotten old, stale, and become a symbol of America, something indispensible, something that we simply can't do without, something that we can't imagine ever not seeing on the television, we can really understand what the show is about.
And I think it's good. I think it's important that we see clearly in a way that is almost too visceral, almost nausea inducing, how horrible we are to other people. It's not just that British asshat telling them how much they suck in very unfriendly terms, it's all of America agreeing with him. The only one who's still in denial is the poor girl or guy who has broken down in wretched sobs on the floor outside the audition room. "I was born to sing," they say. Instead of treating AI as just an audition, perhaps one of many, they have decided, willingly, to invest their entire future emotional wellbeing on whether or not they get into American Idol. And when it doesn't work out, it's like their entire world has crashed to a halt. Suicide might be the only answer.
Do we feel bad as viewers? As Americans watching this filth? Of course not! We don't give two flying fucks about this person who was so convinced that he was it! Maybe a moment's empathy, an uncomfortable, sad little hesitation before just laughing at or ridiculing (we are arm-chair ridiculers here in America) these poor wretched souls. I'm fine with it. It's Darwinian. If that person decides it's too much tonight and eats a bottle of sleeping pills and doesn't wake up, it's not going to affect me on an emotional level. I will not care. If it's on the news, maybe some people will be like, "Oh, that's terrible! Why would anyone do that?" Even though we already know why. American Idol yesterday (Wednesday, January 24, 2007) blew away the competition, according to Nielsen. How can a nobody compete with all of America? How can a nobody get America to love him? He can't unless he actually has talent. Otherwise, all he gets is the utter scorn of the literally millions of Americans watching him (or her) put their heart on the line.
The bottom line is, these people deserve to be made fun of. Because despite the fact that they don't actually know that they are bad singers, it's their own fault for putting it all on the line for something that hasn't been proven. It's their own fault for not looking around at the world, listening to themselves and realizing that they can't sing or perform or be anything in the music world, especially, the notoriously brutal and callous pop music industry. Setting all of your William Hung's aside, we find that there are two people who get featured on the auditions for American Idol: the very best, and the very worst. And that's how it should be. That's what America wants to see.
AI is not ruining America. It is not a cause of anything. It is a symbol, a symptom, of what America stands for. I think it's important that we crush people's hopes and dreams in as callous and inhumane way imaginable. I even think it's something we ought to do. What do you think?