Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Meaningless Post

With all the talking I'm doing at school and at church, on top of the other responsibilities of life, I haven't been posting as much of late.

I've found I haven't had quite enough time to write anything meaningful.

So I'm sitting here staring at the computer asking myself, why start now?

Instead, let's talk T.V.

It pains me to admit, I watch American Idol.

Though honestly I'm a little less ashamed after reading this article by an eminent American theologian.

He's a great writer and he's much smarter than me...I love what he has to say, still after reading this particular article, I have to admit I have a bone to pick.

Just listen to his explanation why American idol is such a hit.

"I think it is the pleasure of watching others fail, of having their dreams torn down, of being crushed by the cutting comments of the English hardman on the panel, that exerts the attraction... It is the weekly spectacle of seeing more wannabes biting the dust which keeps everyone tuning in, episode after episode. Indeed, I confess it: I like nothing more than seeing the fresh faced Jessica or Mary-Lou or Brad or Chad having their hopes of stardom ripped from their hands and then being dispatched back to supermarket checkout from whence they came. Nasty, but true. To quote two sayings of the cynic’s cynic, Gore Vidal: it is not enough to succeed; others must fail; and (perhaps even more horribly honest) every time I hear of the success of a friend, a little piece of me dies. Idol plays unashamedly to such basic instincts, instincts found in all of us."

Now I believe in depravity and all that and I appreciate Trueman's honesty - plus I'm guessing he's going a little bit over the top, but still I've honestly never once thought of it like that.

In fact, to sound a little less like a theologian or a pastor and probably more like an elementary school student out at recess, I have to ask...do you really think most people are that mean?

I'm serious.

Do you really think a lot of people really think like that? That they enjoy watching something to see someone fail?

Or am I just another naive American?


Michael Riley said...

The fact that you can buy both the "Best of" and "Worst of" American Idol DVDs seems to testify that their is at least some market for watching people fail.

It would be interesting to see the sales figures for each of those products.

D. Makri said...

I think part of it also is just enjoying a good laugh when you see some of these characters who are so full of themselves get deflated. We enjoy seeing those who cannot sing but think that they can, finally be corrected and put in their place. It is a sobering warning to all of us--do what God has gifted you to do. Do not do something that God has not truly gifted you to do. Also, it teaches us to not believe our relatives when they compliment us on "how good it was" in whatever area. Seek the opinion of those who really know and will tell you the truth so that you will not have to be deflated someday when you realize that you have been wasting your time doing something that you were never gifted to do in life.

joshuamack said...

I'll buy that.

Though I think that's a bit different than enjoying seeing someone fail. To me, that's more like seeing enjoying seeing pride humbled - which in the long run will be good for the person themselves.

I guess, the point is obviously there are some who depravity expresses itself in one way when another person who is just as depraved won't struggle with the same particular sin.

In other words, I don't think it's fair to say that everyone naturally wants to see others fail. To me that's utter depravity, not total depravity.

I think what can happen if we assume everyone is like that - is that we assume some people have malicious motives because we have those malicious motives, when they actually do not.

- R said...

Josh -

Speaking just for myself and my wife, who were die-hard fans of the competition in the second and fifth (i.e. current) seasons, had vague interest in the third, but only caught a few episodes of the fourth, I can tell you what draws us to American Idol:

We enjoy watching and listening to the performances of extremely talented vocalists.

Yes, we will readily admit that there is something about a train wreck of a song or dance gone really bad that makes it hard to look away, but I don't think that's where we derive the enjoyment.

Also, I think there is something refreshingly honest about the critique that is offered by the judges, especially the meanie on the end, which helps put into perspective just what a difficult thing it is to be a star performer. It has helped me better appreciate the many artists who consistently get it right.