Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Idol & 2012 Politics

Along with a lot of other folks, I watched this season of American Idol.  I don't know why I was caught up in watching this year, but I was.  I'll also admit to rooting for Scotty McCreery, the eventual winner, for most of the year....I started rooting for him when, in the preliminary rounds, he told the judges he messed up in not standing up for an overweight contestant who was kicked out of the a group of singers.  He said then that he didn't live up to his values and regretted it....and this was from a teenager.  I liked him for admitting the mistake, and I always loved his voice.  I like the hardrocking James Durbin, too, but I wanted Scotty to win and was glad for him when he did. 

A guy named Stuart Schwartz has an interesting take on Scotty McCreery's win in an article titled, Everything I Need to Know About 2012 I Learned on American Idol.  In it, Schwartz says,
Country won. Honesty won. Decency won. And good ol' American values won. They beat hypocrisy and hyperbole, snark and snicker, and the jaw-dropping arrogance of the experts and elites. No, I'm not talking about the Republican sweep of the House last year. Rather, I'm talking about last week's American Idol, where viewers disregarded the exhortations of entertainment and media elites and chose instead down-home over Hollywood, and country over anything and everything our cultural elites pushed at them.
Interesting analysis.  According to Schwartz, even though the judges, the music industry, and the "in-the-know" elite routinely "dissed" Scotty McCreery, he won because the "American People" voted for him.  Schwartz explains,
Although the judges comment after each performance, it is left to the viewers to choose the winners. In past seasons, voters have regularly ignored the preferences of judges and assorted other entertainment and media experts, who largely view the tens of millions in the audience as lacking sophistication and knowledge of "the true art form of music." And again this past week, viewers let the experts know: We're different, we make different choices. 
I say, "Wonderful!"  I'm glad that American's voted for McCreery.  They chose him because they like his voice, and because he has character.  They chose him because he's a cute teenager.  The other contestants just didn't measure up. 

Although I didn't necessarily see Scotty McCreery's Idol win as a political statement, Schwartz's analysis is interesting.  He sees two lessons from this season's Idol that will be applicable to the 2012 elections.  First, "everything changes when the audience watches or lives the performance."  In other words, according to Schwartz, the music experts may have made pronouncements about who should win, "but American Idol viewers voted on the actual singing."  Schwartz believes that if Idol results can be applied to the political arena, then "if 2008 was the year of Obama and cool comes to the White House, then 2012 will best be characterized by the Who hit, "Won't Get Fooled Again."  The second lesson is that "we now know not to trust talking heads and consensus experts, either left or right."  All those "experts" tried to tell us that down-home, honest, likable-country was just not "cool" or "edgy."  But we don't follow the lemmings anymore.  We voted for the country-kid with the great singing voice. 

I think I agree with Schwartz that we need to apply these two Idol lessons to the political realities of 2012.  As Schwartz argues, we have to do what Scott McCreery did when Lady Gaga (who was wearing $4,500 shoes shaped like penises) told McCreery to "act evil." "Lord," he  said, "it's not my doing."  McCreery ignored Gaga's advice and just kept on singing country, "wearing his cross and thanking God and family and friends for the many blessing of this time and place."
I agree with Schwartz, it's time "to tell the mainstream press, insider Washington, and the academic and cultural elites to strap on their $4,500 "penis shoes" and take a hike...because we're gonna be singing country."

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