Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dave Barry's take on American Idol

As silly and flippant as Dave Barry can be, he often gives a more truthful and enlightened view of things than you'll get anywhere else. In fact, for so many things we are supposed to be so excited about according to our instructors in the media (like the Beckhams...could anyone care as much as they seem to think we do?), his approach is the only sane one.

Here's Dave's glimpse of the cattle call to stardom that "American Idol" has become. You can't work in the music industry long before you have at least one story about the people for whom the phrase "chasing the dream" is said with rolling eyes.

I'm one of those people that enjoys the first few shows for the freak-show appeal and the psychological box of chocolates ("you never know what you're gonna get") that the auditions can be. Of course, as a music-lover and a music-doer, I also get interested in comparing my opinions to those of the judges, and like to see the diamonds in the rough succeed. I lose interest after those first few, though.

On last year's first show the comments seemed especially nasty and the "reality" unnecessarily brutal, especially for the girl who was a Jewel fan and had attempted a Jewel song and was clearly devastated by the actual confrontation with Jewel's inability to respond as a human to her performance or to herself. It seemed a line had been crossed, and the balance had tipped past the point of no return, toward corporately sponsored exploitation and downright cruelty. The show that raised money for charity was an excellent thing, and God bless the winners and the losers. But the shine is off for me.

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