Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American Idolatry

Last week American Idol crowned this season's winner, who was . . . um . . . somebody.

I have never watched a single episode of American Idol, and I am proud of that fact.  The entire point of America Idol is to find the next Celine Dion.  I don't think that we need another Celine Dion.  I'm not even sure that we need the Celine Dion that we have now. 

(I once tried watching Dancing with the Stars, but every time that they would dance I would fall asleep, and I would only wake up when the dancers were being criticized.)

For the first two or three years that America Idol was on the air, whenever someone mentioned Ryan Seacrest, I would be reminded of the time that he proposed to Angie Harmon on The Tonight Show.  But it turns out that that was actually Jason Sehorn, who is an entirely different person.  

When I was young, we didn't have American Idol; all that we had on television was Urkel.  (Urkel was on Dancing with the Stars recently, but that's beside the point.) And when I was really, really young, we had Fonzie.  But that's a whole other story.  

Maybe what stands out most in my mind about American idol and other competition-based reality shows is that when we watch them, we see people being told that they are no good and having their dreams crushed. Do we really need television shows doing that?  Doesn't real life crush people's dreams enough as it is?  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Kentucky Derby and Geology

  I noticed that there were not one but two horses at last week's Kentucky Derby with names related to somewhat geological topics. 

First there was Gemologist.  A gemologist is, of course, someone who studies gems. 

Then there was SabercatSabercat is a term used for extinct felids such as Smilodon, which were once known as sabertoothed tigers, but which were not closely related to modern tigers.  

(The Kentucky Derby website has a page for each of the horses, as linked above, but the information  there was mostly genealogical.  I wish that the pages had included more personal details, such as the horses' favorite movies and television shows, where the horses went to college, and who their horse role models are.)