This morning, the two hottest trends on Yahoo were #1: American Idol and #2 Haiti. Back to back, those topics seem so incongruous, so diametrically opposed, as to be laughable. One involves the christening of another entertainer, a fresh face in America’s pop cultural pantheon. The other involves death, loss, suffering, and destruction on an unimaginable scale. American Idol and Haiti. Could any two things be so different?
When catastrophes like the Haitian earthquake strike, I always have a hard time posting something non-related. How about you? Blogging about books or music seems stupid. Of course, the world goes on. People go to work, politicians wrangle, athletes prepare for their next game, and Avatar continues to rake in millions of dollars. But in the face of such tragedy, literature, film and television pale to the point of seeming trivial.
Yet American Idol is still #1.
Perhaps we should be thankful for shows like American Idol that help us temporarily forget about the world’s crises. I dunno. The day that the WTC fell, some complained that their soap operas were pre-empted. Hard to believe that people could become so fixated on something as to be oblivious to the real world, calloused to such horrific suffering. Apparently, however, detachment is one downside to our entertainment addiction.
Which could explain why American Idol is still #1.
I suppose this post can be interpreted as a screed against technology, which it isn’t. I mean, the same technology that allows for American Idol, allows us to transmit images and reports from Haiti, and thus bring assistance. No. This isn’t about technology. Or about American Idol. It’s about what they do to us. It’s just me pressing my face against my electronic bubble.