Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Of heartbreak, true confessions, and the moment of living unironically

I'm not a big fan of public confessions, but since this blog isn't all that public, and since I can't write about what I really want to write about without first making this confession, here goes. . .

For the past two television "seasons," I have watched American Idol with my children. I won't get into the details of how it began; let's just say I was, at first, dragged into it, and spent the greater part of the sixth season feeling that I was making a small but saintly sacrifice for the sake of my children. Heck, I was even fostering their feeling of connection with their peers and with a relatively harmless expression of popular culture.

I began this season with the same self-aggrandizing sense of maternal sacrifice, and I thought I'd throw in a little hipster irony for good measure. That way I could enjoy the pleasure of talking about it with other adults without losing my self-respect. I'm doing it for the children, I told myself. I'm really just there to fast forward through the commercials. Anyway, it's such a spectacular display of everything that's vulgar about American culture, isn't it?

I wasn't prepared for what happened next. There was this kid, see. He had a beautiful smile and cheeks you could pinch until kingdom come, and a clear, pure, voice with a gorgeous tone. He seemed slightly awkward and uncomfortable when he wasn't singing, unsure about how to handle all the screaming girls, the canned comments, and the glitzy insincerity. He sometimes laughed nervously and said "Gosh!" He was from Utah. He was just seventeen.

He killed me, this kid. The exact moment he killed me can be heard at about the 1:35 mark of this clip. That was the moment of my epiphany, the moment I said to myself, This is why people love American Idol! To watch the charmingly awkward kid with the great smile and the achingly lovely voice come into his own. To appreciate the unabashed sincerity of it, the way he seems to love just to stand on the stage and sing, goshdarnit, sing for all he's worth. I get it. Finally, I get it! God bless America!

That's when America kicked me in the gut. Just when I was ready to jettison the jaded pose, America went all ironic on me. America chose the earnest, growling "rocker," the one who did "edgy" versions -- with borrowed arrangements -- of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and Lionel Richie's Hello.

Not only that. America made my six year old cry for a good five minutes. She even put a pillow over her face and refused to be consoled, explaining tearfully that she just didn't want to be reminded of it.

That's what I get for attempting -- for one, brief, shining, you're-killing-me-kid moment -- to live un-ironically.

I have the proper attitude now.

God bless America?? Heck, no!

[Cover your ears, David A.] Gosh darn America!


Blogger stewdog said...

There is no sin in enjoying American Idol. It is a throwback show with roots in Ed Sullivan and Star Search.
But thank God that little urchin you have canonized didn't win. I couldn't stand to see that child trying to act like an adult. What next? Mylie Cyrus as Lady MacBeth? I skipped most of the final because I couldn't stand the thought of watching that little weasel again. Goliath slew David. Go Missouri Boy!

May 25, 2008 7:12 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

The beauty of adorable little David A. was that he didn't try to act like an adult. When he sang, however, he acted like a *singer.* Which is more than I can say for that balding rooster with the constipated expression, the off-pitch growl, and the faux humility who appeared to think that shouting out "borrowed" arrangements of *Lionel Richie,* for gosh sakes, made him some sort of artiste.

May 25, 2008 7:21 AM  
Blogger stewdog said...

Adorable? Yeah. . . like those posters of cute kids with big eyes. Sorry that the other David couldn't comb his hair like you want and sing sweet inane Neil Diamond songs. Stick to obscure literature and history stuff and stay away from important subjects, like modern popular music!
Justice prevailed! America got it right. The troll and his obnoxious stage father are history!

May 25, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

The sweet, adorable kid is going to ride his runner-up status all the way to the bank -- and to a bigger record deal than the growly rooster.

By the way, the rooster *could* sing sweet, inane Neil Diamond lyrics (and Lionel Richie lyrics and Michael Jackson lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber lyrics) -- just not very well.

May 25, 2008 9:18 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

I added the picture just for you, Stewdog. :)

May 25, 2008 9:27 AM  
Blogger stewdog said...

I've lost my appetite.

May 25, 2008 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate, I know exactly how you feel. I, also, was duped into watching Idol only to find myself charmed by Archie's awkwardness and impressed by the fullness and color of his voice. I also found myself giving in to the "unironic moment", and actually VOTING for the kid. Several times.
I almost regretted my moment of weakness when it was announced that America had chosen the poser: the wanna-be rocker with the comb-over and a talent for producing a vocal quality that usually only comes from the microphone being in actulal contact with the lips. I don't regret that moment and am proud to be in the same corner as your 6 year old in the fight against the Stewdogs of America!

May 27, 2008 12:14 PM  
Blogger stewdog said...

I can understand posting anon in favor of The Archenemy. After all, you have a reputation to protect. What amazes me is that Kate Marie actually put her name to it.
America voted. . you lost. . get over it.

May 27, 2008 2:08 PM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

Sheesh, Stewdog. Are you just lying in wait, looking for opportunities to rush in and defend your man-crush? :)

Of course, I put my name to this post.

Say it loud!

I love David Archuleta and I'm proud!

(Sing it with me!)

May 27, 2008 3:30 PM  

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