Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American Idol

Fortunately, I have never been tempted or felt a need to actually watch AI. But one doesn't really have to do so in order to get the gist of what it's all about.

Shockingly, disturbingly, revoltingly, AND eschatologically, almost everything that happens on that TV phenom is reported on one, several, or all of the morning news mag shows. I tend to surf around those programs every a.m. just to see what the enemy is up to and the "Idol" info is all there, reported as. . .NEWS.

No surprise, the clips shown tend to emphasize the killer finales of the numbers. Whenever I hear this trademarked over-the-top "Idol" bleating, I can't help but be reminded of a reference made by jazzcrit Gary Giddins in a 2001 NYT article:

". . .an old style of melisma that had been described by the writer Jeannette Robinson Murphy in an 1899 issue of 'Popular Science Monthly.' Trying to instruct white singers in the art of 'genuine Negro melodies,' Murphy insisted it was necessary "that around every prominent note [the singer] place a variety of small notes, called `trimmings.' " She said the singer "must sing tones not found in our scale . . . careful to divide many of his monosyllabic words in two syllables."

Is it possible that the producers of AI have xeroxed the Murphy article and hand it out to all prospective contestants regardless of race, creed, or color?

To my ears, it all just sounds like so much Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, i.e. Na na na na na na na na . . .ad nauseum.

Thousands of people are dying in Iraq, the polar icecaps are practically in our backyards, SUVs are polluting the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate, President LowNormal has broken a total of more than 700 laws with legal impunity, etc. etc. etc., and THIS is what takes precedence on the morning news? Pass me my cyanide float, please !

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