Friday, January 26, 2007

Okay, I admit it I am an American Idol junkie. I am not proud of it. I only confess it here to my real friends. Supporting this “Idol secret habit” requires me to Tivo the show and watch it in the dead of night when none of my family is around. If they see me watching, they snicker and question my masculinity.

As with any abuse the relationship between the abuser/addict and the substance abused is complicated. My son claims viewing American Idol is actually destroying my aged brain cells. But, I see it as my continuing study to increase my knowledge.

It is a little known fact that for one semester of college I was a Sociology major. American Idol is for me a study of scientific human social and mental behavior. I am fascinated to see how people perceive themselves, competition, their talent, their self-consciousness and career.

Wednesday night there was an example of a classic Bipolar, manic/depressive right out of the textbook. I am looking forward to studying the schizophrenic, narcissistic and sociopathic behavior on next week’s telecast. I’ll bet Dr. Phil is also glued to his television set trying to learn tips on dealing with the dysfunctional and unbalanced from Simon Cowell.

Like a wreck on the Freeway, I can’t turn away from watching people who have totally disconnected from reality. I have known plenty of people who don’t realized how talented they are, but how do you get to be a person who can flaunt a talent that doesn’t exist? Bravura and manic over-confidence is not enough on its own.

I think the first few American Idol shows, before they pick the final 20, should be required watching for anyone going into psychology, sociology, law enforcement and especially show business. The clip of the bipolar audition should be played for every Psyche 101 student. In later episodes the Idol machine takes over and you don’t get a chance to see raw emotional humanity. The show then becomes just the modern day version of an amateur talent contest.

Some think this is voyeurism at its worst; making fun of others and judging their behavior. But no one is forcing people to audition. Everyone knows the pointed and hurtful remarks the panel of judges can hurl. By auditioning they have agreed to be filmed and judged. If you willingly jump into doo doo, you can't complain about the smell.

The truly sad part is the implausible value our society has placed on fame. The one thing all the contestants, talented winners and hopeless dreamers, have in common is the desire to be famous. Andy Worhol had it right when he said, ”some day everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” What disturbs me is the incredible price people willingly pay for those 15 minutes. Based on the average Jerry Springer guest people are willing to give up dignity, shame, pride and privacy.

The quantum physicist Heisenberg says the experiment is changed to the same degree that we observe it. So by my watching American Idol as an experiment, I am actually creating the problem that I am observing. With out observers there can be no fame. Okay, I’ll stop watching so this stupid experiment called American Idol will vanish. Just let me get all the way through this season.
As you were,
Jay

2 comments:

the other one said...

It takes a big man to admit to such shameful behavior. But as Dr. Phil would say; you can't change what you don't acknowledge. You've taken the first step in the long journey towards healing. We're all here for ya buddy and we'll continue to love you just the same.

I have a confession as well but I'm not going to put it here...no one will ever speak to me again. Oh the shame...

Anonymous said...

From one AI junkie to another I salute you!