Friday, January 21, 2005

American Idol and the Downfall of the Red State

Once again I have realized that I am a poor excuse for an American.

I do not look at car crashes when I drive by them.

I do not like television shows which show people in conflict (real people), such as Crossfire, Jerry Springer, Judge Judy, Fox News, most reality television, etc. (why would I turn on the TV to be "entertained" by people yelling at each other). I do suspend this conviction for Sports (I love watching people yell at each other about sports teams- i.e. The Sports Reporters, PTI, etc.).

I do not like Reality Television in general (I have made exceptions for Survivor 4 seasons, enjoyed Extreme Makeover: Home Edition when I saw it twice and watched 1 episode of Rebel Billionaire- actually 30 minutes). Okay, I have seen it 3 or 4 times, but Jackass was the funniest television show I ever saw (EVER).

I do not like American Idol.

I saw the vestiges of a train wreck once. I averted my eyes.

I have always found shows such as America's Funniest Home Videos distasteful. Yes, I have laughed, but I needed a shower afterwards. If my idea of funny is watching others in pain, I need to expand my understanding of humor. I think that is the difference between Jackass and AFHV (in Jackass they do it to themselves- intentionally, in AFHV someone gets hurt on camera and we find their pain funny).

I am just not interested in seeing other people's "stuff" in my living room. I live in the real world and do not need to entertain myself by watching how others would react in a "real" situation. I do not think, as a Christian, I should find pleasure in watching the suffering of others, even if they are seemingly moronic, arrogant or clueless.

I bring this up because I have noticed on a few friends blogs the wonders of American Idol's season premiere on Tuesday. Due to the fact that we were at the home of family and the show was on in 2 separate rooms, I had no choice but to watch a few minutes of the opening show (by the way I have never seen an entire episode- part of it once when a friend was over during season 2).

I had the opportunity to see 4 judges (a new one being Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray- a truly horrible band) make fun of poor singers and dancers on national television. I was attempting to read Bill Hull's Choose the Life, a book about Discipleship while this sick display of American Humor was in front of me. Yes, some of these people had large egos, but it was no excuse for the pleasure America takes in seeing people make fools of themselves.

We watch it to make ourselves feel good about how miserable our lives are. At least, we can sing better than that guy. At least we did not make a fool of ourselves on national television.

In horror I watched a poor former drug addict from the streets of DC who had been misinformed that he could sing only 3 weeks prior. He attempted a warbled version of a Marvin Gaye classic before being told by Simon (what an ass- I mean, the schtick is old- I can be an incorrigible crumrudgeon and contrarian with the best of them, but at least it is not my "schtick" and I know when to temper it for the need of others) that he was the worst singer ever.

This guy had just gotten out of drug rehab and was attempting, with the help of Jesus, to change his life. Should he have been at an audition for AI? No. Should he get honest feedback? Yes. Should I see it on my television? No. Don't worry, like with Fox News, I will change my channel from now on.

This episode was as disheartening to my Christian decorum as anything put out by Queer Eye, CBS News, Fear Factor or Will and Grace is to the Christian right. Once again, I must be must more conservative than all of the Red Staters that go on and on about family values and enjoy drivel like this. It will not be gays marrying that destroys this great nation of ours. It will be crappy music and reality television.

Everyone who watched this and enjoyed it is a rubber necker on the highway.

Sorry for the rant, but c'mon, we can do better than this.

Plus, the music sucks.


james said...

Awesome, man just awesome. I was rooting with you all the way as I read through this. I posted recently regarding the phenomena of reality TV, and borrowed from Marx; "Reality Television is the opiate of the masses."

By the way, is Balaam's Ass still around?

Anonymous said...

Calling me (and millions of other people) "rubberneckers" are ye? Sounds like you're the pompous ass, Rick. The downfall of the nation will be "crappy music and reality television"? You've got to be joking. This isn't a rant, it's a satire piece, right?

I don't think the terrorists want to destroy us because of "American Idol." The show has been syndicated in just about every country around the world, including Islamic nations like Indonesia -- where a devout Christian happened to win last season -- and it is not just watched but *loved* by millions of people worldwide. Aren't you interested in why that might be? Your simplistic critique of AI (and all reality TV) is, well, too simplistic.

I don't gawk at car crashes either, Rick, but I really enjoy reality television -- certainly not all of it, but "American Idol" is certainly a high point (not a low point, as you suggest). I certainly don't think you need to watch any reality TV if you don't want, but don't think you're better than the rest of us who do.

Steve K.

kidpositive said...

Damn, Rick! I can't believe that YOU, of all people, are expressing YOUR opinions. How dare you! And on your OWN blog of all places! what a pompous ass! Next time, why don't you just not say anything, so that when I come by to read what's happening on your blog, I won't get offended! How dare you think you're better than me!!! And by the way, American Idol RULES!