It is a testament to the indecency of this country and its people that the most popular show on television succeeds in delighting its viewers by parading unstable, schizophrenic, and mentally deficient Americans across its glitzy stage, offering them up for our ridicule and scorn. Short of carting out a group of Down's Syndrome teenagers from the work-to-graduate program at the local high school and having them sing "I Believe I Can Fly", American Idol has once again proven itself to be our country's most sadistically enjoyable show. Of course, the argument one always hears in defense of this objectionable tripe and against decency and restraint, is the shameless disclaimer that "the contestants signed up for it", and therefore, are not entitled to our sympathies when proving themselves to be the nutcases that they are. And whereas it is true that many of the wannabe singers on American Idol are supremely confident, not only in their talents and abilities, but in their future destiny, is it not clear that many - so, so many - are decrepitly, horribly, astoundingly mentally ill?
Here's a little story. My cousin is retarded. She is a sweet lass. And you want to know something? I bet if you asked her who the greatest singer in the world is, she would tell you that she is. She would then promptly sing you any song from the hymn book she's memorized, or the numerous showtunes that feature on the group home's karaoke machine. But she's not really the best singer in the world. She just thinks she is, because her reality is not our reality, and when she wakes up in the morning, somebody at the hospital makes her bed. Ok, so that's not really a story. But you get my point.
Here's the thing: should she be given the opportunity to sign up and sing on American Idol, proving to the world what we already know, that a retarded woman singing "Knock Three Times on the Ceiling" at the top of her lungs, her face turning red and her arms swinging wildly, is funny, then I say, "ok, maybe you have a point, but still I object in purely theoretical terms."
And then I would ask you if you'd like to watch the next episode with me.