Thursday, February 21, 2008
Idolizing the Single Mother and other thoughts on American Idol
Ok, I admit it...I enjoy watching American Idol. I've been watching it regularly for the past several seasons, and there are more than a few reasons as to why I found myself getting hooked on the show:
1) I'm a musician myself, so I do enjoy watching and listening to musical performance. I appreciate expressions of artistic talent, even if I don't particularly like the style or genre of music being performed.
2) Simon Cowell is a beacon of unashamed, brazen masculinity starring in prime time, network broadcast TV. There is no better example of the masculine, straight-line, logically based, in-your-face brutal honesty of Mr. Cowell; especially when it is contrast to Paula Abdul's(and to some extent, Randy Jackson's) emotive, feminine, feel-good, attempts to "soften the blow" of honest criticism.
3) It is certainly entertaining for it's "freak show" aspect of the auditions...to see how clueless, narcissistic and self-centered to the point of delusion so many people are in todays society is almost frightening. But it's even more entertaining to see such clueless delusion shattered by the unapologetic critique by Cowell.
I can sing on key and carry a tune. I have performed with a live band on more than a few occasions...in fact, I used to be in a band that got paid to play Hawaiian music for Weddings and Birthday Parties. But I KNOW that I DO NOT possess the kind of dynamic vocal talent necessary to even be competitive with the other contestants, let alone win. I cannot believe how clueless so many people are when it comes to the self assessment of their own talent and abilities.
Needless to say, as much as I enjoy the competition of American Idol, there are a couple of things that drive me bonkers about the show - and it mainly has to do with the 'production' and 'marketing' of certain contestants by giving an "in-depth" look into the lives of the contestants and hopefuls. Some of the stories are certainly touching and do create emotional attachments to these personalities, inspiring viewers to root for them.
One can certainly feel moved when watching the contestant who's Father passed away 2 days before her audition choke up while singing. It's blatant emotional manipulation to drive ratings...but I'm fine with it when we do have a legitimate reason to sympathize with a "humanizing" story like that.
But what drives me insane is how so many of the contestants proclaim their single mother hood as a badge of honor...as if it one of the biggest achievements for young women today to achieve! They are to be admired and worshiped for their courage! Their strength! Their bravery! Afterall, it's so admirable in todays day and age to breed out of wedlock bastards without Fathers in their lives!
Worse yet, the "in depth" features that often depict the day to day struggles of life ALWAYS place the single mother in the role of victim of the "deadbeat boyfriend."
There is no better indication of proof that our modern day society is Matriarchal and not the "Patriarchal Hegemony" the feminists constantly whine about. When Single Motherhood is celebrated, lionized and glamourized by media and society-at-large, it's safe to say the so-called "Patriarchy" is either dead or in it's last throes.