Did you see the chick who kept mispronouncing "larynx" and "trachea" on American Idol
Yeah, well I *loved* her. Because I could relate to her so much. Her seriousness and convictions and reaching for the right words (but getting them all wrong) and insisting upon precision with her responses to questions and bewilderment over the rules of the interview at the end. I loved her voice and she was the kind of smarT I recognize as my own.
I hate myself for watching that show, but almost feel like it's my duty to know how we're being taught about our own and other people's value. If you have bad teeth, if you're mentally ill, if you're overweight, if you're an aspie
(see above), if you're overweight AND wear tight or revealing clothing, if you're borderline retarded, you're fair game for the Idol freak show. All of America joins together not just to laugh at you, but to FEEL GOOD about laughing at you without compunction. It's a family show! Everybody's watching! It's okay to laugh in someone's face, punctuate every gaffe with sound effects, play songs like "Weird Science" when you walk into your audition if you're a nerd (two scores I'd personally be pleased with -- that song is googlyicious GOODNESS and that one nerd with bad teeth could have played Patrick Bateman's long lost hillbilly cousin!). You can laugh right in someone's face and still be considered kind as long as you chuckle "good lookin' out!" and say, "awwww, you should never sing again but I can tell you're a real sweetie!
" as they exit.
They pretend American Idol is a competition only one person wins at the end, but the real reason it's popular is because we ALL get to be winners at home each and every time they show us another fucking loser. The same people who've been targets of cruelty and ostracism for centuries -- sissy boys with lisps, fat girls whose pants split, ugly people who dare to smile wide, and village idiots whose ears stick out and eyes are too close-set -- willingly subject themselves to torment. Compared to them, the rest of us come out so far ahead! We are smarter, prettier, stronger and more likely to fit in than THOSE Americans. We wouldn't make their stupid mistakes!
We just watched an episode (Yokel Chords
) of The Simpsons that made fun of this phenomenon with Homer demonstrating exactly the behavior I'm talking about, pointing at the inbred hicks on tv, calling them stupid and feeling so good about himself in the process. I totally understand the appeal; in the internet porn industry I'm surrounded by people I subconsciously think of as easy targets (mostly my male "colleagues"); I feel like it's my duty to be mean and ream them out, but maybe I actually waste time around them on webmaster boards because I'm a small person who wants to pretend she's an advanced and sophisticated thinker. How petty and embarrassing is that?
It's taking me a long time to put it into practice, but I really want to stop doing that. Awhile back we heard a comedian on the radio asking why it's not okay to make fun of retarded people but people who are just plain STUPID are totally fair game. It kind of blew my mind because I like to think I'm one of those defenders of political correctness and sensitivity, but I totally have that double standard that I should be empathetic towards people who are developmentally delayed or have other identifiable REASONS for not being great intellectual thinkers, but it's not only acceptable to mock and hate on stupid people -- it's like I sometimes feel it's my fucking DUTY to be mean, angry and impatient with stupid and/or ignorant people. Like they have no excuse for being so dumb or lacking information. Granted, most of the time when I feel that way it's because they're acting like judgmental know-it-alls themselves or because they're idiots writing to me with offensive demands, but it doesn't really accomplish anything or make me a better person to behave the same way. I feel especially gross about it considering that under other circumstances -- if I were in a different role doing a different kind of job (teaching, for example) -- I would never allow myself to act that way and would be horrified by other people doing it. There are a bunch of ways I defend my behavior and even as I write this think it's the RIGHT thing to do in certain circumstances. What I want is to understand what *I* get emotionally out of being an asshole to stupid people and decide whether or not it can accomplish anything positive next time I feel like calling someone a moron. It's gotten so reflexive that nary a day goes by that I'm not screaming at someone for being a dumb-ass. Dumb fuck, dumb ass, crazy bitch, stupid shit, crazy SON-of-a-bitch, cocksucking moron . . . apparently they're everywhere I look and it doesn't really make me feel good to label people that way everywhere I look, even if I only do it in my head or muttering under my breath at the grocery store, "MOVE, you stupid shit-for-brains, MOVE!!"
I wonder why I've gotten worse about this as I've gotten older. Is it because I'm more socially isolated and feel less connected to other people? Is it because I'm more and more aware of my own limitations and am just projecting my own feelings of inferiority? Is it because I have some hormonal stuff going on that's making me more of an asshole than I really am? Is it because I know that I'm actually one of those stupid hillbilly nerds they make fun of on television? Whatever it is, I'm going to try to be less of a shithead and recognize that the only person I am in competition with is myself.
Labels: class, health, human nature, identity, pop culture, spiritual issues, television, the porn industry, values