Monday, April 9, 2007
American Idol's Pitch to Destroy Celebrity
It seems each cable talk show is required to have an American Idol segment in which commentators, critics and erstwhile political hacks try to assess the impacat of that show on American Culture, and more importantly, why such a mewling, tuneless, graceless ham like Sanjaya Malakar on the show. The subtext, if there is one, is who do we blame, producers, advertisers, network execs? Who is tampering with the voiting protocols?
Actually, one may as well blame the people who are voting for Sanjaya; the wise man noted that no ever lost money underestimating the intelligence (or the taste) of the American public. Sanjaya is this generation's Mrs.Miller or Tiny Tim, and what people seem to be responding isn't his courage, or even his "heart", that vague, schmaltzy quality the gullible will use to euphemize the lack of talent. Sanjay, in fact, seems heartless, even calculated--his wretchedness is put forth by design, for a purpose. What he does have is an unslakeable thirst for fame, wealth, the desire for center stage. He's that guy in drama class who was smitten with his porno doll looks whom we've all seen leering at himself in each mirror he passes; Sanjay wants to be stared at, adored. Every musical genre he deforests, each ballad he abuses, each uptempo song he ties to chair and takes a rubber sap to are all means to keep him on the air, under the spotlight, on the blogs and the cable talk shows no matter what is being said about his presence. It's about this fool attaining fame, no matter the cost.
His audience adores his singular ambition to be larger than life, and with the fact of there now being scads of famous people without a trace of measurable, observable talent might well be the End of Celebrity As We Know It.
That, of course, may not be a bad thing, since the alternative to watching pointless famed folks on TV is to pay attention to one another instead.