(Toledo, OH) I have never watched an episode of "American Idol," nor do I ever care to watch this program.
There. My bias is out front and center.
I abhor almost everything that this show stands for: the corporatization of music, the glorification of using sex as a tool, the promotion of self-exploitation, and the relentless consumerism inherent in a concept that preaches people are worthless unless they are stars.
I do not begrudge the contestants and the fact that they have bought into the lie of stardom, even the sort of manufactured stardom that "American Idol" offers. There was a time when I, too, believed that I could achieve happiness and satisfaction in the music industry; the dream of fame and fortune is a pleasant, though destructive, narcotic.
Nor do I lay the blame for this culture of decay solely at the feet of the producers of "American Idol," as the widespread fascination with "reality" television predates this program. The show, however, is by far the most popular of the surreality genre, and thus is the focus of my ire.
We are becoming a nation of mind-numbed imbeciles who spend countless hours drooling in front of the 50" plasma screen seeking to feed our addiction to the meaningless pap that "American Idol" doles out. When the show is not being broadcast, or when we have watched the TiVo recordings ad nauseum, it is time to visit one of the millions of websites dedicated to the blatherings of the hosts and contestants.
Television news shows devote more time to "Idol" controversies than many pressing social, political, and economic issues. The "drama" of Chris Daughtry being voted off yesterday's broadcast was one of the top four news items on the networks this morning. Over half of Americans cannot find New York or Israel on a map, but I would wager that those same people would have no problem naming the remaining 10 contestants on "American Idol."
I am an admitted curmudgeon and iconoclast, and I recognize that my distaste for what passes for most "entertainment" on television, in movies, and in music puts me in a distinct minority.
But do we really want to live in a world where the main goals of our children are to one day compete - or be able to compete - in unreality shows such as "American Idol," or where this fabricated universe is the focus of so much of our energies?