Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How a perfectly entertaining show can ruin the world ... or at least your day.


So this season I'm an American Idol fan. I've been enjoying the show and keeping up with it for the most part. Last night I missed the performances but did at least see the recap. And I did vote for my favorites. Actually I voted for everyone EXCEPT the bane of this year's Idol--Kellie Pickler. Pickler is exactly how a perfectly entertaining show can ruin the world.

This doesn't have anything to do with cemeteries, but as it does have to do with the demise of good taste, I'm going to share.

Kellie Pickler does have some talent. Not as much talent as she thinks she does, but she does have some. The thing is, she is not anywhere near the caliber of the rest of the contestants. But she is cute and she is blonde. Something about this country puts out the vibe that blonde = good (i.e. sexy, something to strive for, something to be jealous of, etc.). She is also country. I'm not a contemporary country fan and freely admit that. But that is not the reason why I dislike Pickler so much. She can sing country, and good for her for that. So can a lot of people, though. And a lot of Americans like contemporary country. That's there deal. But I do have to wonder if a large number of Americans also equate country as equaling good. Whether it truly is or not.

Some examples of good country are Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Allison Kraus and Union Station, etc. Classics. Your Hank Williams, Gene Autry and such. My grandfather was in a country/cowboy band back in the 1940s and 50s. Real country has soul and roots. Line dance style music really can't compare. But I digress.

Back to Pickler.

This is what shakes my tree the most--how phony she is. "Salmon" with an L. "I can't understand your accent. I don't have an accent." "I never had a _________ before." No one is that stupid acting unless they have a purpose. Her purpose is to win people over with the dumb blonde stereotype. Granted, there are people who say she is charming or think she is funny. For me, shallow people are like migraines. I don't want them around.

Consider the image this girl is projecting. I did a search online to see what exactly it is about Pickler that is getting her votes on AI. There is a contingent of people like myself who say she is annoying, fake and needs to go. Then there are the people who follow and vote for the worst person on Idol to see if they can prove that the producers will keep bad people until almost the end and then not let them win. I see what they are trying to do, but it ticks me off. There are people who really enjoy the show and want the talented ones to move forward. I'd rather move forward and see how it plays out for real.

Then we have the "We LOVE Kellie!!!!!" fans. They think she is nice and sweet and can sing like a bird. They say she is just wonderful. I found these fans on the Idol site on Pickler's message board. These are the 9-year-olds. Mainly girls but also boys. The image this Pickler is projecting is this: it's good to act stupid, it's good to be pretty, and it's okay to be mediocre if you act stupidly "charming" as long as you're pretty. I taught Girls Make a Difference workshops for five years to help girls understand that they are valuable people who contribute to the world around them. That's it's not about fitting into whatever mold of beauty is currently popular, it's about being yourself and respecting and loving yourself for who you are.

Can you see now why I can't stand Pickler?

Young girls have a hard enough time living day to day and dealing with the pressures of life that they don't need bad role models on the TV shows they enjoy. When Girls Make a Dif was still in session, Britney Spears was at the height of her popularity. She was also a "Slave 4 U" and wore very little clothing. She was quoted as saying she didn't ask to be a role model and therefore didn't need to take responsibility for the influence she had on young people, especially girls. But the thing is that she DID have influence and it didn't matter if she asked for it or not. With great power comes great responsibility, as a wise comic book character once said.

Our young people are precious. All of us are responsible for all of them. They are too important for us to neglect just because some of us want to "make it big."

Thanks for reading,