Matthew R. Perry

American Idol, American Shamefulness

In Culture on February 15, 2007 at 9:29 am

Tim Challies, uber-blogger extraordinaire, wrote an incredibly convicting piece concerning a cultural phenomenon known as American Idol. As someone who in the past has truly enjoyed watching this show, I realize I am much like the average viewer he describes. I realize that I joke about those who cannot sing more than I praise those who can sing.

What I failed to realize was that before these hopefuls come before Simon and Randy and Paula, they have already gone through two screenings. Has AI duped these folks who have no singing talent into thinking they actually have some? Are they truly setting these people up high on a pedestal, only to have them put down by the laughter of Randy, the pity of Paul, and the skewering of Simon? In front of 41 million viewers?

william-hung.jpgAnd what of us! We watch! We cringe! We are amazed at the talent — good and bad! They produce conversation around the water cooler and are the fodder of jokes and punchlines for weeks on end. All I have to do is mention William Hung and Red, and nothing else needs to be said for the picture to be painted.)

We really need to look at ourselves and see if American Idol is really good for the American soul? Is American Idol really conducive to the Christian worldview who sees everyone made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and with that comes a certain dignity that we should certainly uphold? Do we really understand that these are human beings with human feelings aspiring toward a very real dream they were led to believe they could attain?

It reminds me of the story of a man in Roman times who at first refuse to go to the coliseum to see the lions tear someone to shreds. He found it barbaric. Finally, he gave in. At first, he covered his eyes. Soon, he peaked through his fingers to see. Soon after, he found himself cheering it on with the masses.

We have a way of being desensitized to the most heinous activities around us. How much as American Idol desensitized us to the value God places on humanity?

What are your thoughts?

Please take time to read all of Tim’s article by clicking here.

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  1. Good post matt! I don’t watch it anymore for that reason. I think some of those singers are definately set up and I think some of them know it. But it is still hard to watch people get ripped apart and made fun for a lack of ability. Thanks for the post!

  2. […] Both Tim Challies and Matt Perry have articles on the cultural icon that is American […]

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