Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Idol Meets Fight Club

Let the healing begin...

"If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this is useless fine print and another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.......Tyler" (seen for a few seconds at beginning of dvd version of Fight Club)

The first rule of American Idol if you are cool is don't tell anyone you watch American Idol.

I however, am not as cool as I'd like to think I am. I watch American Idol. Hate the singing style most of the time. I don't like trained voices, prefer natural sounding rock singers. Among my top favourite singers of all time are Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Bono, Roger Daltrey, Chrissie Hynde so I have been very delighted with Taylor Hicks. Been secretly watching the whole thing. Don't tell my cool friends.

American Idol can teach us how to practice world peace. How to practice non-violent conflict resolution. American Idol can make us all better.

As much as Kennedy's murder was a heartbreak for a nation, so too were the messy tragic deaths of Judy Garland and Elvis Presley. Thay may not have been assasinated, but they could not live either. The culture that adored them and worshiped them also killed them. Drug abuse, obesity, loneliness, dysfunctional love lives, families and despair mirrored our societies failures for many of our population and do so still today.

Eventually, this is how I knew either Hicks or McPhee would win. Art heals. Sports is the marriage of art and war and competition brought us the reincarnation, or revival if you prefer, of Elivs and Garland. McPhee does a beautiful version of Over The Rainbow but the mass appeal and adoration of Elvis would probably seal the votes for Taylor Hicks who sang In The Ghetto beautifully. And vote people did, over 63 million votes counted by the worlds largest voting system. Will we use this system in the future to monitor behaviour in the middle east? In Darfur?

The homage and spiritual rebirth of Garland and Elvis moved some audience to tears. Closure. Life really does go on. We can feel like we were there and if old enough or nostaligic enough an opportunity for release and renewal watching Hicks sing about the ghetto. Not the ghetto of rappers and drive by shootings, but Elivs's ghetto. The one Elvis believed could be saved one little child at a time. But...yet, the reason I was so moved by Hicks version is because of my music, Ice T, NWA, Tupac, Biggie, Eminem and laying it down against Elvis' era. Hicks version may be gentrified, but so is resolution, so is world peace. Tompkins Square Park in NYC is no where near the park I'd walk past after dancing all night at Area or Danceteria. Back then Tompins Square Park was a shanty town, where my date bought me flowers picked by one of the "residents" from the public park flowerbeds.

I don't like gentrification or homogenization. I don't like globalization.

But I do like people sharing their personalities and diversities. And I loved seeing kids and the elderly moving freely in the sunshine in Tompkins Square Parks makeover.

I like tolerance, but even better I like curiousity and genuine compassion which make the legalization of tolerance pale.

American Idol demonstrates how we can have it all. We can love our brother and sister, compete and allow our individual beliefs to shine and share.

During this season Chris Daughtry was accused of performing LIVE's rendition of Johnny Cash's “I Walk the Line” and not giving his inspiration creds. Some LIVE fans fumed. One week later Daughtry acknowledged it was not his own rendition adding that LIVE was one of his favorite bands.

Last night the band Live performed with Chris Daughtry. High fived, hugged and sang their hearts out.

American Idol understands that music poetry and nostalgia heal the wounds that life and ego inflicts. Non-violent conflict resolution is a facet of good sportsmanship.

Katherine McPhee looked tired and distracted when the camera wasn't on her. It's as if she knew wasn't going to win, but she kept at it. She gave it her very best. Her fading energy was overcome despite her intuition that she was not the winner. I think she knew and yet she still came out fighting. I appreciated her more last night for that attitude than all season.

What ever happened to the residents of Tomkins Square Park? We could learn a lot about different ways of living by studying and visiting with the people who live outside. Why do they choose outside over shelters? What kind of an economy do they make a living with? How can we apply this economy into our way of life and help them be more comfortable in the city?

If life is a game who are you? A sore loser or a good sport?

Urban centres are always trying to clean up their rough neighbourhoods. But if we can't help our richest most talented citizens like Garland and Presley how do we help people with less options? I suggest they are the ones who can help us.

I think Guy Kawasaki and I should be working on these urban issues of rough neighbourhoods and people who live outside. I suggest he and I work on saving the women in the DRC. I am gonna kick his ass at technorati, and then get to him to use his genius and marketing skills to help me find new ways for all our citizens of the world to get along and live well.

In some small way, Whitney Houston made an appearance last night on Ameican Idol. I don't know if the rumours are true about her suffering from drug use, loneliness but her cousin performed last night, and made me think also of Whitney, Garland and Elvis. Dionne Warwick was awesome, I knew she would be because I saw her sing on Oprah's Legends Ball the day before. Warwick performed with Burt Baccarat and the evening could have been complete with that for me.

I began to cry when Prince came on stage. You're kidding, Prince on American Idol?

I couldn't believe it. Ryan Seacrest deserves boons for his deadpan delivery saying well thats it folks, now for the winner...he had me sucked in a ready for a verdict and then Prince walks on stage.

You see this is healing at it's most lovely. The oft censored Prince on American Idol. We can all be friends.

Even Coca-cola was brillaint with it's co-opting of war...take sides? Coke take sides? No Coke created a whole new dimension. It's motto in ads last night "The Coke side of life."

If we don't take sides does that mean we're on the fence? No, it means we can enter another dimension. Compassion, tolerance, and particpation are the noble heights of assimilation and gentrification.

Somehow American Idol was wild and got cool. It mixed nostaligia and cutting edge and it worked. Like the Ford commercial it gave me pause. Ford produced a commercial with Hicks and McPhee going to a drive-in watching the other contestants perform on the drive-in screen. Do I think people should park their cars? Yes, let's reject this lifestyle of driving everywhere, move downtown and take public transit for gods sake people!

But...maybe cars have a small value where they could be rented for pleasure trips like to the drive-in theatre or to visit grandma out of town. Maybe, Candy, cars are too powerful to give up completely, but less driving may put the pressure on car manufacturers to utilize alternative power? So drivers, come up with a way to force inventive environmental dynamic cars. Put your car in the garage for week, all of you. The leaders and manufactuers will HEAR YOU! You are the leader.

Yes, American Idol got cool last night, from Mary J. Blige, and McPhee and Meatloaf singing beautifully together to Prince dancing like an angel.

Meatloaf and Ed Kowalczyk from the band Live were both in Fight Club. Live's original name was First Aid. Instead of censoring artists like Prince, or hiding our homeless or avoiding Darfur...maybe we should be incorporating these extremes into our problem solving. Maybe our culture's first aid treatments and healing should be incorporated into answers. We should hire the homeless to work in our streets. We should invest in the women in the DRC so they can buy their own army and create a business to sell us stuff. I don't know the answers to help people live well but I believe the answers are in the tragedies. Fight Club was cool, counterculture, challenging and controversial. In many ways we must fight amonst ourselves to really be alive. Let's take that conflict and talk violently about peace. Can we reject the tepid action of our leaders by taking action ourselves and seeking the answers by casting the counterculture and wallflowers as our stars? Like American Idol succeeds and assimilates? This should not be a surprise though. After all the old Micky Rooney and Judy Garland films had the conflict and the solution? How did Mickey and Judy save the day? "Let's Put On A Show!"

And as long as our tragedies are back stage, American Idol is beating the shit out of the United Nations and world leaders.

Elvis knew, and couldn't live with it, we're all in the ghetto till we help each other. I got two words for you. Soul Patrol!


Anonymous said...

WOWEE! What a post. I have no idea whatsoever about anything to do with American idol. I know I wouldnt watch it for sure. However, you mentioned fight club and you dont like homogenisation so you must be ok.

* (asterisk) said...

That was one cool post, Candy Minx. And I know that you now know that I now know the winner of American Idol in advance, but I gotta say: There is no way the final is gonna live up to this post.

I'm gonna be looking for all these covert messages and hidden symbolism and find it sorely lacking -- in part because we get such a heavily edited version over here, especially of the results show.

Even so, gotta say it again: Good post. And not least because it mentioned at least two of my guilty pleasures: Elvis and Prince.

But I disagree on "Over the Rainbow": I thought FcMee's version sucked real real bad.

p_is_for_payj said...

Bless you - You make me feel like watching American Idol brings me a little closer to God.

Did the guy who brought out the results (authoritative man with British accent) really say that it was the most complex voting system in the world?! Or did I just make that up?

rauf said...

I always go off the track Candy, pardon me, I'll talk about going off the track someday.

I was religious in my childhood until my early twenties, but the idea of paradise did not appeal to me. I used to wonder what if there are cricket matches in paradise ? If there are no cricket matches there is no paradise for me. So in paradise there is no loser. all are winners and all are happy. Everything is peaceful, everything smooth. no suffering no pain, and everything in order. I used to wonder that people in paradise would get bored with peaceful and happy life start committing suicide within one year or would love to come back to the chaotic world. We don't know what is good until we have experienced evil. We don't know who a good guy is until we meet George Bush or some Indian Guru or politicians. If there are no criminals you will not be careful. You are careful on the road because there are maniacs out there. Without these maniacs criminals and gurus the life would be so dull. Why do you lock your house, spend a lot of money on security alarms ? A big industry survives helping thousands of people to make a living because there are criminals out there. There are problems and we find solutions for them, there is pain and suffering and we find a cure for it. We are very busy people Candy, thats what makes life in this world interesting. this is my paradise. we make our paradise and we make our own hell.

Candy Minx said...

Thanks y'all.

R.D. hey don't worry, you wouldn't like A.I. I am a bit aof an freak for Fight Club, I hear you are too:)

Asterisk, she does Over the Rainbow again, mybe it's better. It's no Garland but it was good.

Hi Paige! Thanks for stopping by! And yes the official vote carrying guy did say it is the most complex voting system in the world.

Rauf, you are beautiful and wise always interesting! much to think about!

me said...

hate it, hate it, hate it! american idol/pop idol/x factor/simon cowell can all go to hell for me. if you can get to the top of the charts just because you queued for a few hours to audition for this tosser, then stop the world i want to get off!
it makes a complete mockery for the poor souls who are gigging up and down the country every night of the week, writing their own material, playing their own instruments! it makes a mockery of the charts too. all these manufactured male/female singers, but worst of all are the boy "bands". bands? when did you ever see one of them with an instument in their hands? (insert your own puns here)
same old story. verse, chorus, verse, chorus, key change, all rise off stools, chorus!
hate them, hate them!


Don't watch pop idol/american idol or owt like that. Like yer post Minxie though n see what yer gettin' at. Then I think of Music Girl n Khali Celeste giggin' around tryin for a the break, or even a break. Over here we've talent like Grace Petrie who's wicked. Big business controls these shows n we don't. Not really.
Fatfiz is right 'n I'm just a cynical old punk....

* (asterisk) said...

FatFiz and 4D are right, CM. But I'm sure, like me, you watch AI for its entertainment value (and sometimes its sheer cringeworthiness) and that you'd never consider buying any product these (mostly) untalented fools would spew out...

me said...

p.s. check your last post, left you a little something! let me know that you've got it. ta. x

Candy Minx said...

I am with you about the big business and the poor musicians who try to get a break. Really, honestly, I wasn't kidding when I said I hate the style of singing from trained voices at American Idol. So it's all understood...but I like the game...the "chorusline/fame" effect. I'm a sucker for it.

Thanks for takingthe time to even read such a long post, thanks guys. I kinda went off on it yesterday and realize it'sa long tangent. Very kind of you!

* (asterisk) said...

As suspected, American Idol was nowhere near as good as your post.

Candy Minx said...

heh heh thanks Asterisk! Well you know what they say, life is what you make it...:)

Anonymous said...

I'll say just a couple of things about that Prince performance: the best thing about the evening, that's not a large surprise. But also: that close-flanking choreography isn't something I've seen before and I thought it was brilliant. Then slipping into a heavily B3-ed ballad to close, well... he's not one of the best for nothing. (I assume both songs are off 3121 though I don't own it, do you happen to know?) The camera work was appalling, of course, as with all television post-MTV. If they'd just held a single camera front and center on the performance, you could have really gotten a taste of the excitement. Ah well. Still worth the price of admission (which I confess was pretty steep: I'm not the Taylor admirer you are). Your old pal, -ab

Candy Minx said...

I was going to write about the camera work actually, and then let it go here. It stunk, I agree. Even a little kid standing on a chair could have done a better job of the whole thing, the camera cut off his feet missed spins etc. Well part of the reason I like Taylor Hicks is because his voice is the most natural sounded one I've heard on American Idol. It's not because he is anywhere close to my favorite vocalists...but at least he doesn't sing like Kathie Lee Gifford. Which is how almost every female these past five years sounds to me.

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