Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Disturbing thoughts while watching American Idol

The lowbrow appeal of American Idol, at least in the early weeks, is in watching the hopelessly inept singers. I find it impossible to get through more than about 10 minutes of the show without using the word "delusional".

And that's fine, until you realize that you're laughing at three kinds of people. There are the ones that aren't nearly as good as their parents and spouses have told them, and they just need a reality check. There are ones who know they are bad but willingly humiliate themselves for 15 seconds of airtime, and that's just sad.

And then there are the ones who are absolutely convinced that they are great singers. Even after hearing from the judges, or hearing themselves back on tape, they remain convinced. They are the ones who leave the audition screaming and yelling. Clearly, the judges are idiots, the show is rigged, the music industry won't take risks... their denial is astonishingly deep and robust. These same people often also tell the camera how attractive they are, how snappily they dress, and how well they dance ... contrary to all the evidence on display.

This is hilarious... until you stop to realize that these people are delusional in a clinical sense. They are so out of touch with reality, it is harming their everyday lives. Some of them are practically stalking the peripatetic auditions. The rest of their lives are on hold waiting for a break that will never, ever happen for them.

And I can't help wondering: when did other people's mental illness become a fit subject for public ridicule and primetime amusement?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Old Movies Never Die

I love those cheesy 1970s fantasy movies made from Victorian novels that always seemed to star Doug McClure. My all-time favorite is "The Land That Time Forgot", but I have to confess I was disappointed with the two formulaic sequels, "The Land That Newsweek Forgot" and "The Land That US News And World Report Forgot".

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rational explanations for movie cliches (part 1)

Being the rational, analytical person that I am, I seek logical explanations for movie cliches... this is the first in what will probably be a long series...

Cliche: Any time a police officer mentions that he has only a few days left before retirement, you can guarantee that he will be dead within twenty minutes.

Rational Explanation: City police departments employ secret death squads to hunt down and kill police officers close to retirement. This provides a huge saving on pension benefit costs.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Middle Age

Middle age is when you are too old to sell your body for sex but too young to sell your body for science.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Dallas Cowboys to ceremonially sacrifice punter

Ever since the tragic death of safety Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins have been playing inspired football that has taken them on a 4 game winning streak culminating in a 27-6 drubbing of the Dallas Cowboys and qualification for the playoffs. Meanwhile the Cowboys have been in something of a slump, playing with little passion or energy.

Noting that Redskins players and coaches have been quick to attribute their success to their "guardian angel" Taylor looking down from on high, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips announced Monday that the team had decided to shoot the punter. "We need the kind of help that the Redskins are getting", said Phillips at a news conference, "and punters are a dime a dozen."

If the idea works for the Cowboys, look for this new tactic to be quickly imitated across the league. Some clubs may be looking for sacrificial victims in the late rounds of this year's draft, while others will see it as an attractive alternative to placing players on Injured Reserve. Wide receivers who break a leg on the field of play may be shot where they lay rather than carted off and rehabbed, but this is subject to agreement with the television networks and the players' union.