Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Labels of Reality Television

Okay, I admit it. Bear with me for just a moment. This is kind of hard.
I admit it. I watched "American Idol."

After you stop laughing and pointing and calling me a "hypocrite in the likes of (insert your favorite politician here)," let me explain.

Notice, first, I said "watched 'American Idol,'" as in past tense, not present. Here's the difference:

"I watched 'American Idol' last night because I couldn't find the remote and the TV was all the way across the living room."


"Oh my god (OMG to all you youngsters out there), I record 'America Idol' so I can watch it over and over until I have vivid dreams of a naked (insert your favorite politician here)."
That's a big difference. Trust me, I just "watched" the show.

I actually like to watch a few episodes at the beginning of a new season to see all the terrible acts. It always amuses me when the bad singer gets vetoed from moving on to Hollywood and then proceeds to throw a fit and tell the "American Idol" camera man to do some very "unbiblical" things.

The first episode did not disappoint.

Several people sounded like a post-menopausal raccoon being attacked by a rabid possum. I thought to myself, for just a minute, mind you, that I wouldn't mind trying out for "American Idol" myself. I'm pretty sure I could do that. I have pipes. More than one or two karaoke audiences have been thoroughly enthralled with my rendition of "You Are So Beautiful" made famous by Joe Cocker, who by the way, never would have make it to Hollywood, if you catch my drift.

I think I could do it. Then I started to realize that a lot of people "think" they can do it.

Most of the people who become "train wrecks" on "American Idol" believe, really believe, they can sing. They believe they are good. That's why so many of them actually look at the judges with shock, because they can't hear what the judges are saying. They can only hear that inner-voice saying, "you are a great singer." They don't hear that voice that says, "you are crazier than a hatful of rattlesnakes."

I guess "those" singers think they can sing because they can sing. What is the definition of good? Who knows what that is?

One of my favorite singers of all time is Steve Perry from Journey. He joined the band in 1977 as a lead singer. He was the one who brought to life epic songs like "Faithfully," "Open Arms," Don't Stop Believing" and "Any Way You Want It." Those songs are some of the greatest songs since singing was invented.

(According to the Internet — The Source Of All Truth — singing was invented in 1784 by Guy Monroe from Oolagah, Okla. Monroe brought oral music to life with spirited songs called "I Left My Heart in Broken Bow," "Take This Gonorrhea And Shove It" and "Amarillo By Morning.")

Anyway, I believe Steve Perry has a great voice that nobody can completely duplicate. But you know what? Rolling Stone magazine listed Steve Perry as No. 76 on the Top 100 Singers of All Time list. You talk about being crazier than a hatful of rattle snakes. The editors of Rolling Stone must be nuts.

They may have some arguments here, I suppose. Number one on the list is Aretha Franklin. Not bad. Number two is Ray Charles followed by Elvis at No. 3. But No. 7 on the list is Bob Dylan? Have you ever heard Bob Dylan sing? Has anyone ever heard Bob Dylan sing?

Probably not.

But I guess the point is, Bob Dylan is good to somebody. Ray Charles is good to somebody. Elvis, good. Aretha, good. Rodney, good. You, good.

I wrote a couple of months ago about labels being worthless, and we should avoid them. I guess the real truth is we can't avoid them. We are going to label stuff. Good versus bad. Pretty versus ugly. Right versus wrong. All the time.

People will also label us. Good versus bad. Pretty versus ugly. Right versus wrong. All the time.

The difference is whether we accept those labels or not. I choose not to.

I may not be headed to the "American Idol" finals anytime soon, but that's okay. There's something else for me out there. I don't need a label for it. I have learned just to let life come to me.

I even wrote a song about it. It's tentatively called "Hatful of Rattlesnakes." Is that crazy?

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