Sunday, May 25, 2008

TV: American Oh-Dull

If David wins, it means Hillary will be the nominee, but if David wins it means Barack will be the nominee. If you're confused, we were as well as, in the last few weeks -- most especially after Syesha was sent packing, a high school variety show suddenly was thought by many college students to have political implications. Ourselves, we always thought it was just an unchecked Gong Show. But we were game, we'd watch.


American Idol is the high school variety show. It is a hugely popular show on Fox. It is less popular than it once was. Like real journalists, we did our research aka working the phones. A producer explained the most ridiculous moment auditioning this year's would-be contestants came when a woman went into labor but insisted upon going through with her 15 second audition before leaving the stadium she was auditioning in.

Auditioning in? 15 seconds? We didn't know. We still can't keep it straight on whether you get a yellow flag or what. But speaking to 'judges' for the auditions and encountering two students who attempted to audition, this is what we think we know (two producers of the show say we have this right). Around the country, American Idol holds auditions in the summer.

If it comes to your city, you have a day to show up to get a wrist band. You then show up on the scheduled day to audition. People begin lining up as early as five o'clock in the morning even though the doors don't open until much later. There's no reason to do that. When the doors open, things move very slowly. The people are bunched into groups. Then bunched down further and further. Your audition will be you stepping up before two judges (they are required to wear the American Idol t-shirts -- they tend to wear shorts due to the heat) with three other people. Your group of four will sing -- one at a time -- for fifteen seconds each. During your fifteen seconds, if you blow them away, you'll be asked to continue singing. If not, you're done right there. If your next 15 seconds is strong enough, you may be moved on to a second round at that day's audition.

Now pay attention because the producers we spoke with wanted this cleared up. Apparently, in the past, you could miss out in Savannah and show up in Chicago and audition again. The rules are that you are supposed to wait a year if you don't make the cut. That rule is enforced and "if you include nothing else, even if you trash us as I know you will, could you just include that?" We're including it. But what we described in the previous paragraph? If you fail then, you can go to another city. That's because you're not signing in, they're not asking you your name. If you flop in your first 15 seconds, you can move on to any other city. It's only if you make it to later rounds that day that information is requested.

The season finale (which we watched) reached a record number of viewers and has many with the show excited that it signals a turn around in the ratings that will be evident next season. We questioned that. Next year will be the eighth season of the show and, having spoken with two who tried out, we were aware that both felt the process was unfair and had stopped watching the show as a result. What if these auditions were contributing to the decline in ratings?

We were told that was possible but they didn't think it likely. Still how many millions of people across the country have participated in those first 15 seconds of a song audition? They said that they weren't aware of any concrete figure. Each year, more and more participate which means, each year, more and more are rejected. Some compare American Idol to Ed Sullivan's show but Ed wasn't running a talent show contest.

We had a complaint that we broached with one of the two. You're allowed to bring in one bottle of water to that first audition. That's it. At a stadium, Gatorade and water were selling for three dollars a bottle and people were there from five a.m. until very late. (The person making the complaint finally did their 15 seconds after four o'clock.) It was the summer, it was hot, they were packed in and it's really not a 'fun' moment for some. Large venues are a must, we were told, due to the number of people wanting to audition and the long delays result from the large number of participants. That response was presented in a nothing-you-can-do manner but if American Idol's ratings do not improve next season, they might want to consider taking that complaint a little more seriously.

We've been immune and uninterested in the Idol 'magic' all these years so Wednesday night was the first episode we caught. It was the night a winner would be declared and we assumed people would be voting during it and we'd see a competition. We were wrong. The last competition had been the previous night and this was nothing but a pageant.

One of our happiest moments was realizing how young Valerie Curtain looked -- it's been years since Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (approximately 34). Then, to our shock, Valerie was called Jason Castro and we realized it was a young man we had been watching. Who knew? With Curtain performing "Hallelujah," we were willing to make allowances for her since she's an actress and a screenwriter but for someone wanting to be a singer . . .

Watching the two hours and approximately five minute broadcast was very strange viewing indeed but doesn't that describe 'unscripted' TV these days? Last week, we noted that FAIR's radio program CounterSpin is happy to ignore sexism and, at the top of Friday's show, they appeared bound and determined to prove us wrong.

Peter Hart: One of the most disturbing features of the media coverage of the Democratic presidential race is the way racism and sexism have been expressed. CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because well isn't that just what some women are. Not everyone's so out in the open. MSNBC host Chris Matthews opened his May 18th show wondering how Barack Obama would connect with regular Democrats? Obviously code for working class Whites. This would seem to make the millions of Obama voters so far irregular. But then consider the May 14th op-ed by Washington Post Writers Group Kathleen Parker. She wrote about 'full bloodness' and the patriot divide between Obama and John McCain offering that there is "different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines through generations of sacrifice." This makes Obama less American than his likely Republican rival and his success part of a larger threat "There is a very real sense that once upon a time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity." Well thanks to The Washington Post, Parker's rant appeared in newspapers around the country including the Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune. We're not sure what those papers used for a headline but one blogger suggest [nonsense] would do. Parker's attack wasn't even new. Before in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan wondered if Obama had ever gotten misty thinking about his country's rich heritage. John McCain by contrast "carries it in his bones." There's an appetite in corporate media for such repellent ideas as Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell recalled, Noonan's column was praised by NBC's anchor Brian Williams as Pulitzer worthy.

If you paid attention, Peter only proved us right. The first time this year CounterSpin can note any of the sexism, it's when Hillary's called a bitch and it produces a single sentence in which the 'pundit' isn't even named. We'll get back to that sentence but, like CounterSpin, let's focus on race. You'll notice the construct of Hart's opening sentence. We don't read Kathleen Parker, we don't know her, we can't even picture what she looks like. We haven't read her column and have no interest in doing so. We say all that as a preface because someone might be able to offer a defense of her and it might be valid. As Hart summarized and quoted what Parker wrote, it sure sounded like racism. But what of the other two examples? Yes, there are three examples of racism (real or imagined, we'll get to it) and only one of sexism. The sexism is clearly sexism and what Parker's credited with writing seems like racism.

Is Chris Matthews expressing racism? As noted awhile back, we're not fans of Chris Matthews. Is asking if Barack can connect with "regular people" racism? Barack Obama's support in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination (nomination, Peter, nomination) has come from African-Americans (a segment of the working class but statistically a sub-set of the working class due to demography) and from those with 'advanced education' as his surrogates love to trumpet. The latter group is the group that was the earliest and biggest supporter of Barack and remains such. (South Carolina is where Barack sews up the African-American vote.) So is Chris Matthews making a racist remark to note that "regular people" -- if defined as working class -- and Barack have a barrier? No. And everyone needs to stop being so fluttery around demographics. (And Peter Hart needs to grasp that "regular people" can also include Latinos and Latinas in the working class -- a group Barack, outside of his home state, has failed to connect with.) This is a political campaign and it needs to appeal to all. Besides, isn't the media narrative that Barack healed racism and tingling leg syndrome in all but Chris Matthews?

Based on what Hart provides, there's no proof that the statement or intent was racist. A successful campaign has to identify strengths and weaknesses. It has to figure out how to shore up the strengths and how to improve the weaknesses. That's the reason for demography in politics races. It's not as if Mary Matalin or James Carville or David Axelrod or Howard Wolfson are racists or sexists. They need to know where the votes are coming from and where they aren't. And the party, when deciding on a nominee needs to know that as well.

So that's one we can agree with Peter on and one we can't. That brings us to Peggy Noonan. We're not fans of Peggy at Noon Time or Peggy After Dark. And we avoid her writing and don't intend to locate the column nor should we have to. Peter should have made his own case. But Peggy Noons is playing the Peggy Noon card she plays every election cycle and it's not race. Patriotism. Her head was already flapping in the wind like many a flag while she was speech writing for Poppy Bush but since America loudly said "NO!" to a second term, it's gotten even more so. She questions every living Democrat's patriotism. Dead ones that speak to her from the grave encourage her in that and she loves them for it. Consider her The Patriot Whisperer and Roger Ailes will no doubt bring her to MyTV at some point. She questioned John Kerry's patriotism, she questioned every Democrat at Paul Wellstone's memorial service, that's her bit, that's what she does. It's not about racism and she'll do it in 2012 and she'll do it in 2016 and she'll probably find another 'sensitive to the spirit world' kindred soul to send vibrations to after she passes. Nothing Peter summarized or quoted suggested that Peggy Noons was doing anything different than she does almost every column (insult living Democrats, question their patriotism).

It's shocking that Peter's remarks were allowed to pass for media criticism because FAIR -- for all of its current problems -- is usually a bit more grounded than that. Repeating, Peggy Noons would be writing the same column regardless of the skin color of her Democratic target and has done so repeatedly. There is no difference in what she's writing, there is a difference in that the person she's writing about happens to be bi-racial. If FAIR's planning to scream racism every time a GOP operative works the same standard shtick that they trot out every election cycle, it's going to be a long summer.

As for Brian Williams praising Pegs column, Brian Williams is someone we've called out many times before. Perhaps had CounterSpin focused more on him and less on the ratings of the The CBS Evening News, the fact that he's a Republican mouthpiece wouldn't be a shock to so many?

We'll come back to CounterSpin but let's go to the CNN moment that Peter's talking about -- or, rather, alluding to. One sentence isn't really talking about anything, now is it? He doesn't even identify the pundit in question or the program which really underscores how little CounterSpin was interested in it, now doesn't it?

Peter is commenting on GOP operative Alex Castellanos' comments on the May 20th broadcast of The Situation Room. Gloria Borger (US World News & Reports and frequent target here) declared that Hillary Clinton's criticism of the sexism in the media was probably accurate ("And so I'm sure there is.") and Jeffrey Toobin thought she was "dead right" and noted Maureen Dowd (unnamed) retelling a 'joke' in a column where Hillary is called a "white bitch." Castellanos wanted to disagree ("you're dead wrong. She's dead wrong.") On the term, Castella declared, "And some women, by the way, are named that and it's accurate." Media Matters has transcript and audio here.

It's amazing when you think about it, Hart has one solid case of racism and one solid case of sexism. Sexism is reduced to one sentence with no direct quote and neither the program or pundit is named. However, Kathleen Parker is named and quoted and it's six sentences of commentary. Hart also includes a Chris Matthews citation that may have nothing to do with racism and a Peggy Noonan citation that is only racist if we live in a world where Peggy's forced to stop recycling her usual garbage because the person she's targeting is bi-racial. Again, Peggy hates all living Democrats equally.

This was CounterSpin's initial 'foray' into sexism. The one time they've noted it in all of 2008. How proud they must be and how, well, fair they must feel that just once, for one non-specific, fleeting sentence they realized that sexism existed. By contrast, Media Matters has 19 items listed this year. Of course, both outlets refuse to call out Keith Olbermann -- can't get rough with Katty-van-van's friends.

CounterSpin then offered Janine Jackson in a ludicrous interview with Rob Richie of the group entitled FairVote. Peter's nonsense and this interview inflamed The Common Ills community and a note was added to a Friday entry that CounterSpin would be addressed here. FairVote claims that they believe in "universal access to participation" and many of the reports they have released seem to favor the counting of all votes (such as 2007's "A Survey and Analysis of Statewide Election Recounts: 1980-2006"). They favor such things as all states allowing 17-year-olds who will have turned 18 by election day to vote. They support eliminating the electoral college which would also seem to suggest that the group favors the counting of votes and the popular vote.

So it was astounding for many community members to hear Richie wrongly express that Barack Obama was leading in the popular vote and for Jackson to not challenge that. (Well, not so surprising for Jackson who is an Obama supporter.) Realizing how appalling such a statement was, Richie was contacted on our behalf. His response, in full follows:

Thanks for writing. You can see that conclusion in various places, including Real Clear Politics. See its useful rundown here.

The only way Obama is not ahead in the popular vote is if you count Michigan like a real contest even though Clinton was the one major candidate on the ballot (saying it didn't matter) and no one campaigned there. Florida of course is controversial to include as well.

By the way, we think the schedule has done a real disservice to the Democrats. The natural way a nomination fight like this would be ending is with a series of major contests that would really determine the election. We're hoping that partisans in both the Obama and Clinton camps (and we of course have no stance on their relative merits) recognize this and work for change before 2012.

We took out the link he provided after here and made it linkable on "here" and added a period after "here," otherwise that's his full response. We were on our way to Puerto Rico and didn't have time to respond so if he'd like to respond to any of the following comments, we'll include it in next week's edition. (And we just received a call that Krist is part of the organization. So, disclosure, we know Krist Novoselic.) The "here" goes to Real Clear Politics. Hillary is ahead there and you can refer to Jeralyn (TalkLeft) explaing that here.

"The only way Obama is not ahead is if you count Michigan like a real contest". Why wouldn't you count them? That they voted is not in question. The delegates are in question. The popular vote is not. Hillary won and Barack and John Edwards urging supporters to vote "UNCOMMITTED" didn't manage to beat her. Barack took his name off the ballot and did that (a) because his own internal polling showed him coming in third in Michigan and (b) because he was using that to woo Iowa and New Hampshire. Nobody forced him to remove his name. Saying Hillary was the only "major candidate" on the ballot is either an endorsement of the media determining the race or looking back in hindsight. Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were on the ballot. (Bill Richardson and Joe Biden, along with Edwards and Barack, pulled their names off the ballot. There was no rule that required them to do so.)

Michigan and Florida voted. The nonsense that they didn't campaign in the state so it doesn't count is nonsense. Most voters never meet people they vote for. A lot of voters, voting in their local elections, puzzle over the names listed. And that's in a general election. Anyone going to vote in a primary can make the time to figure out who they want to vote for and, in fact, national debates had already been televised featuring all the candidates. This isn't a new position for us. In terms of the popular vote this year, you can check here, here and here and you will see that we have argued that consistently, argued that the popular vote is the popular vote. Michigan and Florida's vote is certified. It is what it is. You can find that argument in pieces here (written by all) in 2007 as well as all other community sites that were around in 2007 (Marcia started her site in 2008). This is not a new position for this community. We have community members in Florida and Michigan. We called out the nonsense of disenfranchisement in 2007 repeatedly and you can especially pay attention to the 2007 work done jointly by Cedric and Wally. Why wouldn't you count the vote?

FairVote is Richie's organization and our question to him would be, "Are you arguing that FairVote is allowing someone who decides not to run in an election to decide whether or not it was a real election? Shouldn't a state's certification override the wishes of a candidate who removed his name from a ballot by his own choice?"

This is nonsense. Of course Michigan counts. For the record, we called out caucuses at this site beginning in 2005. We have called out the Iowa caucuses repeatedly each year. We have noted the corruption and how the only way anyone gets in trouble is doing what Dan Savage did and writing about it for The New York Times. For those whining, "What about the popular vote in the caucuses!" -- you're late to the party. In 2007 we were addressing how the Democratic Party in Iowa -- each presidential cycle -- refused to release their breakdowns. In 2007, that was also called out on the pages of The New York Times. This isn't a new issue to us and it's not one we've tailored to put Hillary ahead. We have been consistent with our positions on caucuses since 2005 and we have been consistent that Michigan and Florida must be counted since 2007. It's only the ones who don't value the will of the people that shift back and forth in their arguments depending upon a candidate. Can FairVote claim the same?

So, first, let's throw it back to you, Rob Richie. In your written response to our question, you state that Barack only leads if you don't include in Michigan. That's a fact that you left out in your appearance on CounterSpin where you declared, with no qualifier, as fact that Barack leads in the popular vote. Feel free to respond. (And we'll feel free to respond with what we learned from the phone call that came in while we were writing this.)

From his fantasy to reality, Florida is no longer in the no-way-ever column. We don't know if you've noticed that but even the press has had to acknowledge Florida (at least somewhat) in recent coverage. That's because the people across America are pushing back. The same needs to happen on Michigan. If you caught Washington Week on Friday, you know that Gwen's operating as if the primary is over and Barack has been declared the nominee. As we noted last week, he couldn't declare himself the nominee (and, indeed, he backed away from doing that) because to do so in a contested primary would result in the DNC having to correct him (which would make him the new Dan Quayle) or their staying silent allowing the GOP to argue that by declaring himself the nominee in a speech while the race was contested, Barack had entered the general election cycle and spending guidelines would then apply. (A friend with the Barack campaing thanked us for the "heads up." We noted it's pretty disgusting that the supposedly smart campaign required a "heads up.")

What you're seeing is a rush to declare a winner when the race is a tie in terms of delegates (super delegates vote at the convention and any pledge they make is non-binding until the final vote). (As Mario Cumo pointed out last Sunday on Face The Nation, they really aren't supposed to be endorsing in the middle of a race to begin with.) Neither Hillary or Barack will end the primary contest with the needed number of delegates awarded by states and territories. To the convention, as Mike said. Instead, the media continues to push for a coronation.

A coronation? A pageant? We're back to American Idol. If, like us, you didn't watch, you might be confused how David winning could be seen as an indicator that Hillary would win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination while David winning could also be seen as indicating Barack would win it. The answer to that is because, Welcome To The Boomtown, there are two Davids. They are David Cook and David Archuleta. Cook, we were told, was older and represented experience, so his winning would mean Hillary had the nomination (as American Idol goes, so goes the nation, apparently). While Archuleta was younger (we were told 16, but he was 17 in December) and, if he won, it meant Barack would be nominated.

Who won?

If you didn't watch, you may be asking that question. The entire two hour and five minute broadcast was supposed to lead up to that answer and it was like watching Who Shot J.R. all over again or, at least, it wanted to be.

Mike Myers did a goofy bit promoting his new film. It probably will help ticket sales. There was also, in the first minutes, a really bad performance of the Motown song (that is not aging well) "Get Ready." The two Davids sing the love song "Hero" -- we're not joking. Syesha takes the stage and watching her you understand why she was eliminated. Someone needs to teach her some basics on presentation. The dress was all wrong and had mean folds and edges. Might look great in the shop but it's not stage wear and the color made it look even worse. Her hair conveyed that the show was nothing but a pageant and she should have cut about two inches off or straightened it because even Miss America pageants dropped that look around 1988. Onstage the outfit and the hair needs to flow. It doesn't need to blunt the spotlight or look pinned back. That was Syesha's look. She then started to sing. Someone will get ahold of her and give her the look she needs but, as she demonstrated with Seal, she's already got the talent to sing. In fact, she has more talent than either of the Davids (or both combined).

Then you got Jason Castro's homage to Valerie Curtain and Jeff Buckley which is where we started. You might think things couldn't get worse but, if this decade's taught us anything, things can always get worse.

Worse was six female contestants -- now eliminated -- attempting to sing from the Donna Summer canon. "She Works Hard For The Money" was first up and singing isn't about choreography (sorry, Madonna) but if you're going to dance, do it well. Collectively, they didn't with their shoulder movements and it was off putting at best. They went into "Bad Girls" and, to really hit the bottom of the barrel, Donna Summer descended as if she was Teen Angel in a high school production of Grease (soon to be played on Broadway by American Idol winner Taylor Hicks). She had circles under her eyes and the 'hair' looked vinyl. She also had a real problem with "Stamp Your Feet." We think most people would. But her new single's shortcomings weren't the problem, the fact that she apparently wasn't ready to sing was. She went through the entire first verse hitting pretty much the same note and trying to disguise that by switching resonators and registers. Only after the first chorus had ended, did her voice open up and allow her to show a range. By then it may have been too late but she offered vocal gymnastics and that's really all American Idol can do.

That is the problem with the show, by the way, and why it has produced so few stars. Years and years ago, a similar contest resulted in Sheena Easton having a career. Easton could and can sing and we're not pretending she couldn't. We are noting that a sameness set in quickly. To Easton's credit, she was smart enough the first time to realize that and revamp her image. When that got old, she waited too late for the revamp and was driven from the airwaves.

On American Idol, nothing matters as much as vocal gymnastics. Can you sing a song? That's of no interest. George Michael would show up (the males performed his "Father Figure" and "Faith") to sing "Praying For Time." He would note he had a cold. He would perform that simple ballad (with a cold) with more artistry than anything else you'd see on the show. ("Teach Your Children Well" was a close second and one of the few celeb-contestant match ups in which both sang in the same key.) How did he do that? By bringing meaning to the song.

Meaning is completely lost on American Idol and you realized that every time Archuleta went hopping around the stage with a grin recalling not an "American idol" but Michael Damien, the one-hit wonder. Chart's gone. Ooooh, your soul. Boogie too. Chart's gone.

That's because careers aren't built on gymanstics. Careers really aren't built on singers either. Haven't been since around the time Leslie Gore fell of the charts. That was the lesson of Sheena Easton if anyone bothered to pay attention. You can notch up a few hits but that's going to be it for most. (Easton got more than a few.) The reason is: Who are you?

Singer-songwriters know who they are. They're not dependent upon outside material each album to help them find the way. And they're not recording the same corny ballad over and over (written by someone else) because they can't create their own material and statement. It goes to authenticity. You might get a few hits, but you won't get a career. Kelly Clarkson, who won the first year, attempted to mature and did it in a half-assed way with her last CD thereby alienating her fan base and being so lame she didn't pull in any new listeners. You can't grow if you're a created "idol." That conjures up Frankie Avalon, Fabian and so many more molded by others who fell apart from sameness.

If the show is remember a decade from now as anything but a source of ridicule (remember Star Search?), it'll most likely be for Fantasia, Jennifer Holiday or Carrie Underwood (who does country which is it's own world). There's a lot of hype about the 'rocker.' That will wear off shortly. Rockers don't spring from American Idol.

The 'idols' are expected to be all things to all people. On the sad songs, they tried to over emote -- all of them pretty much. On peppy songs, they skipped around with no understanding of the lyric but bound and determined to sparkle. They should have grabbed their hair brushes and headed for the mirror, it would have been more productive.

As David Archuleta repeatedly appeared on stage, we started thinking, "If this crackpot theory is true, this is good news for Hillary." That was due to the fact that his 'performances' never inspired. They actually bored -- so much so that we wondered about child labor laws and how a sixteen-year-old, non-home schooled child could miss so much school but apparently not paying contestants allows them to skirt child labor laws? He decided to enter an adult contest and made it to the finals so we're dropping our rule about not commenting on those under 18 for the now seventeneen-year-old.

His all time worst moment had to be during "Father Figure" where he underscored what he demonstrated through out -- his idea of sex is a Pepsodent commercial. We haven't mentioned race thus far in the commentary in terms of American Idol but we'll note that both of the Davids are White. We'll further note that White men trying to have popular music careers would be well advised to not dance around as much as Archuleta did or flutter the fingers. You're going for the top forty, not the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. But the reality is there's no career for a male vocalist who depends on others songs these days. Name one that's emerged in the last years with a career. We'll give you a little longer. Still no one? No surprise.

You can be Rick Astley for a hit or two, that's really it. You're a temporary diversion, not a career. We couldn't believe Archuleta made it to the final two. If the format was really honest, they'd be strictly female because those are the only ones with a chance of a career while singing outside material. Whether it's Natalie Cole (seventies and again in the eighties) or Diana Ross or Whitney Houston or . . . Women can still sing outside material and have a chance of a career with it.

They can also sing sappy material and have a career with it. Guys? Hasn't proven to be the case. You're always having to prove you're tougher than the next guy and that pre-dates the rapper wars for those too young to know.

But American Idol exists in a world where you can still be Ricky Nelson or Leslie Gore or Brenda Lee or any other number of pin ups popular with "Young America." You can still be The Sound Of Young America. It seems completely unaware of how much the world has changed but the reality is they're aware, they're just selling nostalgia.

That's why they make the contestants sing a bad ballad and a bad fast song, week after week. As if most singers with careers are really associated with both. (Most aren't. Most are known for doing one better than other.) It's rooted in a time that disappeared many decades ago.

And maybe then David Archuleta would have stood a chance. He's like all the male extras in West Side Story blended together. Most of all, he's a performer who never moves you because he never lets you forget that he's performing. He's never caught up in a moment or lyric, he's just saying, "Look at me! I'm on stage! Isn't it enough!" No, it's really not.

The show paraded out Bryan Adams, Jimmy Kimmel, ZZ Top and about the time you were expecting them to pull Stacy Q. out of the mothballs, Ryan Seacrest finally showed up with the envelope and thought he was playing cute by saying the winner is . . . David . . .

It was Cook. He cried and then he cried some more. He bowed his head. He raised his chin and widened his eyes as if to stop the tears. He used his fingers on his left hand to wipe away a tear. He smiled and spoke and started crying again. His brother and mother joined him on stage and he cried some more. We kept waiting for the "you really, really like me" words or maybe "This is Mrs. Norman Maine!"

We couldn't picture Tom Jones doing that (a non-writing singer who has had a career). We couldn't really picture anyone doing that outside a few of divas. A few students watching with us told us that he wrote songs. We pointed to the one he was singing onscreen, "magic rainbow"? And doesn't your name have to be Elaine Stritch to get away with a chorus that includes: "So I'll taste every moment/ And live it out loud/ I know this is the time/ This is the time to be/ More than a name/ Or a face in the crowd"?

They explained he didn't write that (bad) song. It was written by someone who won the American Idol Songwriting Contest? The songwriting contest?

Yeah, that's the group who should be up on stage, who the show should follow. According to the theory, David Cook's win means Hillary wins the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. We'll wait for other tea leaves but will note that the focus on the show ponies as opposed to the work horses completely mirrors the media coverage in the other 'unscripted,' 'reality' shows -- you know, the ones that pass themselves off as informed and focused.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }