Editorial: American Idol is decadent and depraved

By ├ćndrew Rininsland

Are we done yet? Please? Pretty please?

The sixth season of American Idol has just finished and Jordin Sparks took top prize: a recording and management arrangement with Sony/BMG. This means she’ll produce a single, it will be atrocious, she will fall from the limelight and the great fame machine will recycle another celebrity.

Unfortunately, this tripe has been renewed until 2009.

American Idol is occupies an especially awesome place amongst the various reality TV shows of recent years, the likes of which include Temptation Island and Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. Not only is it meaningless highly-scripted and over-produced content with no real redeeming value whatsoever, but it also produces absolute deadweight in the North American music industry due to the plastic and talentless performers it generates. Consider the only American Idol contestant of the six who has produced anything of any significance is Kelly Clarkson and it becomes apparent how utterly pointless the whole endeavor is.

On a daily basis, hundreds of incredibly dedicated musicians send in recordings to recording company executives and all but the tiniest fraction get rejected. Yet at the same time, these same people bend over backwards to sign talentless mycelium such as Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino. The result is the complete vacuum of creativity and genuineness in popular culture known as the “Early 21st Century,” a time so bereft of any actual original music that the only defining new genre of the last decade is emo for chrissakes. While perhaps reality TV is not entirely to blame for this, it is undeniable the hyper-automation of celebrity within the last decade has had something to do with it.

There are two perpetual stereotypical rants in student papers: student apathy and reality TV. Can we move on from this phenomenon already? The majority of people with a simulacre of intellect hate reality programming and it frankly sucks to write about the subject. Yet, here we are, looking forward to seasons seven and eight of American Idol, nine of Big Brother, 10 of The Bachelor and 15 of Survivor, with no reprieve in sight.

One could argue that the music and television industries are only bowing to the whims of consumers and that if people stopped buying and watching, American Idol would be cancelled. Indeed, it seems the exact opposite is occurring as evidenced by the continual increasing of that show’s viewership. Apparently there’s no accounting for taste. Thus, I submit this simple plea: please stop watching. Your grandchildren will thank you and think you’re less lame once our generation has produced something actually worth listening to four decades from now.

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