Preteens watching American Idol react to a vote gone (apparently) horribly, horribly wrong.

I can’t help but point out here that in the World According to Gannon, many of these girls are only a couple of years away from being sexual prospects for 20-25 year old men.

Category: Theater

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15 Responses to Gulp. I Hope I Have Sons.

  1. trumwill says:

    I had to think long and hard before bringing Gannon into this. I have a post on his favorite topic already written, but every time he decides to make an inappropriate comment I push it back a few weeks so it’s been sitting there idle for a while now. But on this video… I couldn’t resist.

  2. Webmaster says:

    Yeah. I’ve had to clean up one of his recently as well.

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    Eh. I’m sure you could find adults reacting the same way to their favorite sports teams losing. And if Obama had lost the election, many an allegedly mature woman would have reacted similarly, with about as much of a rational basis.

  4. trumwill says:

    he site that I found this through was full of comments like “This is how I felt in 2004” and “This is how I would have felt if McCain had won”, but that’s more about how they would feel rather than how they would behave. Besides, presidential elections actually matter*. This is American Idol.

    The sports analogy is better, but that falls short, too. I’ve never seen this sort of breakdown over a sporting event (on TV or in real life) by middle class adults or by anybody without the aid of copious amounts of alcohol.

    This video resonates in part because it is so familiar. When I was young, it was the New Kids On The Block. Today’s it’s American Idol. I’m sure that these girls will grow up to be fine young ladies. Going to take a lot longer than a couple of years, though.

    * – This is especially true for those that believe that freedom/security/righteousness hang in the balance of an election. I may disagree that it matters that much, but there is nonetheless a pretty rational basis for believing that these sorts of things do matter.

  5. Peter says:

    For the last couple of years I keep thinking that reality shows like American Idol are on the verge of being in Minute 16 of their Warholian 15 Minutes of Fame and will fade from the scene. How wrong I’ve been! Reality shows have not merely survived, they’ve multiplied like rabbits. Their popularity seems nearly unlimited.

  6. Barry says:

    Actually I’ve several stories in the last few days that Reality Shows are on the decline, and sitcoms are coming back up. Thank goodness.

    I’m keeping an eye on this thread just for the comments 🙂 I can’t wait to read whatever full post you have in the works, Will.

  7. Abel says:

    Only a few years away from becoming sexual prospects for the likes of Gannon? Are you sure? 🙂

  8. Brandon Berg says:

    I’m not saying that presidential elections can’t—in principle—matter much more than American Idol (though whether this is usually true in practice, I have my doubts). But there is a large subset of voters who choose a favorite presidential candidate based on more or less the same criteria as they would choose a favorite performer on American Idol.

    Obama in particular had a strong personality cult following (as did McCain, to a lesser extent, back in 2000), especially among women. Certainly there were rational (if perhaps not entirely correct) reasons to strongly prefer Obama to McCain, but that’s not what Obamania was about, at least not in all cases.

  9. trumwill says:

    The shift towards reality TV isn’t just about ratings. another factor is that they’re generally cheaper to make and are strike-proof (which has been of more importance as of late).

  10. trumwill says:


    Elections may not matter as much in practice as they do in theory, but they do matter. We pay less in taxes right now than we would if Gore had been elected. Soldiers across the country are stations in Iraq when they probably wouldn’t be otherwise. My wife is a doctor and what Obama does will effect her greatly. My sisters-in-law both spend a lot of time overseas and Bush’s presidency has made their trips less enjoyable than they otherwise be. In ways big and small, we are effected. The degree to which that is the case is debatable, but I’m not sure that’s in doubt.

    That being said, we’re not all that far apart about the policy differences not accounting for the partisanship and acrimony. I can further agree that there is a degree of irrationality about it. But it’s a different kind of irrationality.

    It’s sort of like when you ask a woman out and she says no. Objectively, there really is no reason to be all that hurt. Logically, you’ll find someone else and they will probably not be objectively worse. But there is an emotional investment that rejection cuts into.

    The same applies to politics. Even if you look at politicians cynically and minimize policy difference, elections are about (among other things) affirmation and condemnation. This is particularly true with the culture wars being what they are. The other side typically represents the glorification of a set of beliefs (by which I don’t mean just policy differences that may be minimal, but professed religious outlook, values, priorities, and so on) that repel you. To see the personification of those beliefs, that manner, and that philosophy endorsed by the nation as a whole is pretty naturally distressing. To see the representative of your values and priorities (even if the policies are similar) prevail is a pretty exciting thing.

    I don’t watch American Idol, so maybe I’m way off-base here. But as near as I can tell second-hand, preference for one contestant or another is based almost entirely on (a) music ability and (b) transient sentimentalism. To suggest that the political candidate that represents your political philosophy represents you may be overly idealistic, but suggesting the preference of one candidate over another on American Idol does is (as near as I can tell) pretty laughable.

    Some people do take their artistic and aesthetic preferences as statements about themselves, of course. It is conceivable that a musical contest could become a referendum on that somehow*, but AI pits one pop star against another. Maybe country pop here and R&B pop there, but nothing that even pretends to be artistically unique or profound.

    It is perhaps the most frivolous variation of an already frivolous celebrity culture. Whatever our politics has become, it nonetheless keeps around the border of being about something more substantive in both real and symbolic ways.

    * – Of course, a majority of people that do identify with their artistic tastes would be horrified if their tastes were validated in some sort of national elections and their tastes would almost instantly jerk rudely in some contrarian direction.

  11. SFG says:

    Gannon is a goofball. It makes about as much sense as the whole gold-and-libertarians thing.

    Besides, if you have boys you have to worry about them going to jail. Girls you just have to worry about pregnancy…which a trip to the gynecologist can fix, no? (How dangerous is abortion for teenagers? As I recall enough of them can affect long-term fertility.) Or you make her give the kid up if you don’t believe in abortion.

  12. trumwill says:


    Interestingly enough, the audiobook I’m listening to on my commute involves a court case a teenager is trying to get a partial-birth abortion because having the baby poses a (2-5%) risk to her fertility. It raises a lot of really interesting questions about comparative risks of the baby (the baby is likely but not certain to die whether it’s born or not) and the mother’s fertility. I’ve been mulling over whether I can do a post on it that won’t become too incendiary.

  13. SFG says:

    trumwill: probably not. you’ve strayed away from direct politics (though your conservative views are visible in the philosophical stuff) and that’s kept the temperature low. If you start posting on abortion (which is notorious for pissing everyone off even among political topics) you’ll probably lose at least one commenter.

  14. Brandon Berg says:

    I think you’re underestimating the cluelessness and frivolity of, if not the average voter, then certainly the typical bottom-quintile voter. Many people don’t have coherent political philosophies—they just vote based on emotional and social factors: Who their friends are voting for, how they feel about the candidates, how the candidates make them feel about themselves, which one they’d rather have a beer with, which one looks better on TV or delivers a speech better.

    Sure, people should base their vote on rational consideration of policies and their consequences, but they should also exercise and stop eating junk food.

  15. trumwill says:

    Almost none of my comment was dedicated to the proposition that people vote with rational considerations in mind. I’m curious that you could read my comment and come to the conclusion that I’m giving voters a lot of credit. I actually think that I’m rather dismissive.

    The philosophies I discuss above are not necessarily the product of a careful analysis of the issues at hand. They’re the product of a lot of things. A lot of them, though not all of them, are quite frivolous.

    There are of course people that sign on to no philosophy at all and don’t pretend to. But while they vote, they are (in my observation) the least inclined to get all worked up if things don’t go the way that they voted. The ones that do get all worked up are those that believe that they are part of a movement and believed that they have ascribed to a philosophy (however nebulous) that is going to make things better. They may be pretty off-base about who they’re supporting and what who the person their supporting actually supports, but it’s a far less irrational place to start from than American Idol where there isn’t even the pretense that it might actually matter.

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