It still baffles me the interest level in the nouveau-Star-Search, pretentiously called "American Idol". Apparently, someone vaingloriously named Fantasia won the contest last night. When my girlfriend had the clicker the other night I was subjected to about 10 minutes of the show. Seriously, this is quality programming? I will aver from expressing contempt towards people who revere and/or buy the products shoveled out by theses shows, and just chalk it up to one of those things I am not conditioned or programmed to appreciate.
That list has included, for many years,
any and all manner of musicals. I've never been able to appreciate
musicals in any form. For those minor musical movies I admit are
classics and I quote from, such as Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory,
technology comes to the rescue. Through the miracle of DVD I jump over
the dancing/singing scenes so I can enjoy the twisted humor and sharp
Coincidentally, the other night I also (forced, could not acquire remote) watched about 20 minutes of Chicago,
purported to be a top-notch musical on film. Again, I just couldn't
maintain much of a passing interest in the routines. The conversation
good and the plot seemed pretty interesting, but when the characters
would break into song in the middle of dialogue, for me it would bring
the film to a screeching halt.
The best way for me to explain
what I mean is to make a parallel to science-fiction. In the genre of
these movies there is an ability each viewer must possess to fully enjoy
the films, and that is suspension of disbelief. What this
means, in short, is that the viewer must be able to put aside his/her
doubts about the validity of the technological devices or bizarre
characters being seen in the film and just accept that these things or
characters are 'real'. Failure to do this will seriously impair the
viewer from getting all the enjoyment out of the film.
To illustrate (I have time on my hands and I feel like it, so there), let's use an example from AN EXCELLENT FILM called Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
Roll your eyes if you must, but you might learn something here about
yourself. Now, if someone watching the film observes him/herself that
'lightspeed' is physically impossible, or at least beyond our present
comprehension, and that fact sticks in their head they won't be paying
attention to the film or enjoying it as much. This would be analogous
to a student listening to a lecture who gets stuck on one point and
starts daydreaming about it, thus ceasing to hear the lecturer for those
Or, let's use the more famous example of the
beloved and hated Jar Jar Binks. Preconceived notions brought on by
contemptable and ridiculous racial reviews of the character might make
observing his role in the story difficult because the viewer will be
upset or put off by how they are offended that this space alien's voice
sounds as if a black man is doing the reading (he is!!!). Whatever the
reason, the viewer's mood is soured and he/she is unable to suspend
their disbelief about the character. They are jarred from the filmgoing
experience (I could have used 'jar-jarred', but I'm not cruel).
that is what happens to me every time a character inexplicably switches
from dialogue to a song. THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! my mind
shouts. And it's too late and I'm thrown for a loop. In other words I
am much more able to suspend disbelief, film-wise, that a man can shoot
webs out of his wrists than burst into song and dance with 100 strangers
on the street.
There is that major problem, but, lo, there's
another: the songs themselves. I DON'T LIKE SHOWTUNES IN THEMSELVES. I
don't like the songs, I don't have records of them (despite my aversion
to musicals, I have heard quite a few numbers in my time -- you can't
avoid it), and I don't sing them or like listening to them when driving
in a cross-country car trip to get my Sure Thing.
I don't remember a time it hasn't been that way, and, like my
political convictions, it's not that I don't understand the issue or the
concept, it's that I just don't like it or don't agree with it.
only thing I can expect, and hope to in turn deliver to everyone I meet
or write to, is the same consideration that we are not all of the same
fiber, the same genes, the same background, and there is nothing wrong
with [most of] us. That I don't like beans or disagree with liberals or
Christians doesn't mean that there is something wrong with beans (ha).
It just means that opinions are like assholes -- everyone's got one --
and if you respect mine, I'll respect yours.
Unless you like American Idol.