American Idolatry

Opinion Zone,Christian Tappe

I generally don’t watch American Idol, mostly because I’ve never thought any of the contestants were all that great. But I tuned into the finale on Wednesday night.

For an evening when a down-home, country boy in Scotty McCreery won it all, it was a shockingly unwholesome hour-plus of television.

I’m no prude, and I certainly enjoy shows that are edgier than, say, Andy Griffith, but what passes for musical entertainment these days is pretty appalling. If I may put on my grumpy old man hat for a second, the stuff the kids are watching these days is pretty awful.

The contestants themselves sang their songs, and did their little dances, and hugged, and jumped, and cried, but it was the celebrity guest stars that really made my blood boil.

Sure, there was a nice Beyonce ballad, but that was more than offset by her frantic gyrating and panty-revealing “dance” earlier in the show. Sure, Tony Bennett and Bono gave decent performances, but then J-Lo shook her rear at the world for, literally, 30 seconds as her husband, Marc Antony looked on in approval.

And when Steven Tyler and Judas Priest’s performances are reserved and tasteful next to Lady Gaga’s simulated, on-stage sex act you know something’s wrong.

And all this took place in primetime, in front of audience of millions, including many families and children.

As I said, I’m not a prude. And I enjoy a good crass joke, or an irreverent T.V. show, but the acts featured on American Idol Wednesday night supposedly represented the best and most popular of American musical entertainment.

 Does Lady Gaga know that her music is just so bad that she has todistract people by pretending to have sex on top of a Nickelodeon's GUTS-style rock structure on national television? Or is that what the people want?

Probably a little bit of both, and that's unsettling as far as our culture goes. It all amounts to a nationally televised exhibitionist display set to music...touted as a performances by our best and brightest.

If that’s what passes as culture or art or even entertainment, then we’re seriously screwed.

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