Idol is not to Blame

Find my latest American Idol article here.

Is it pressure or unrealistic expectations?

This week a former contestant on American Idol killed herself outside Paula Abdul’s apartment, and now, of course, many people are looking to blame the show for her death.

It is sad that this young lady with all of her apparent mental problems chose to end her life, but I do not feel that it can be blamed on American Idol.

The truth of the matter is that kids these days are being given a false sense of reality and expectations.  Just this week, Fox News published a story which blamed parents and schools for attempting to raise students’ self-esteem and expectations for their futures to unrealistic levels.

This is because children are praised without having to perform.  Children will always perform up to the expectations of adults.  When they are given no expectations in order to receive praise and rewards, then they will expect the world to be given to them for nothing.  They are often built-up without any foundation of personal accountability for 18 years, and then released on world that will savage them with its expectations.  Or, even worse they marry early and destroy the lives of their spouse and children with their expectation that everything will just be given to them without them having to put forth any effort.

American Idol and the other reality programs that focus on young people simply present us each season with the ugly truth of this situation.  Each season we see young person after young person talking about how they are not given a fair chance and how the ‘deserve’ to go on.  As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve has got nothing to do with it.”  No one ‘deserves’ to make it on American Idol or in any business.  They prove themselves through determination, hard work and talent.  The problem is that this generation, like most, does not want to put in the work that it takes to achieve, and they have been taught that they are the stars of their own movie.  Living a life where you go to work every day and earn an honest wage in order to support the family that you love is something that they cannot comprehend, and if they could, they would probably think it was boring and despise it.

Click! Your’re Fired!

I think Robert Paxton, the former president of a community college in Iowa, may have delivered the biggest give-up of an excuse that I have ever heard.  After a photograph surfaced showing him dispensing beer from a mini-keg into a young hottie’s mouth while in a boat on a lake, his genius defense was to say that the keg in the picture was broken and not dispensing beer at the time.  That’s like being caught on the sixth floor of some building with a smoking rifle in your hands after a guy is shot, and saying, “This gun isn’t even loaded,…anymore.”

I guess the point he was making was that it is OK for a university president to stage a picture in which he and a group of young people are standing around acting as if they are drunk in bathing suits on a boat in a lake.  That makes sense.  He should have added that he was just helping them to do a little research.  Or, even better, they were all taking part in some sort of promotion that was actually going to be intended as a warning against the dangers of drinking while in a boat on a lake.  Remember, colleges are bastions of liberal thought, and nothing warms a liberal’s heart like some good ole’ good intensions, even if they have a horrible result.

In the end, Paxton chose the give-up, and the $400,000 severance package because he knew there was no getting away from this picture.  Good move.  I’m charging my camera as we speak.