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American Idol Finale 2011 - A Pagan Ritual

Last night American Idol producers displayed a spectacle worthy of its own Disney ride. It was a morality tale spun together with two innocents and their jaded elders, unabashed self promotion, and consumerism. A fairy tale of epic scope. In fact, the finale of the nearly year long event was more like a symbolic pagan ritual. The virginal teenage couple (garbed in white) were paraded through a gilded Hades of shaking booty, cries of infidely, mortality, unrequited love, suicidal eros, spider men, octogenarians dancing with young maidens, debauched rock gods, young women stripped of their clothing, law breaking "Judas Priests" and aging crooners poured into ill fitted duds. The only thing missing was an evil step mother, wicked witch - or a handsome prince to save the day. In fact, these were the the striking elements missing, as mature women were apparently banned from the stage, as were studdly hunks. The producers must have found these elements to be counter productive to the sacrifice at hand.

The sacrifice being the loss of innocence and youth. The sweet young couple were utterly trapped. A crazed audience lay before them, bizarre stage designs encrouched, and an enormous screen revealed their home town friends had become crazed maniacs and their fellow contestants oozed with venomous envy. The couple's family members sat dazed and paralyzed in their seats, ununable to intercede in the unfolding drama.  Unlike Dorothy in Oz, there would be no going home for these two. Their favorite teachers were paraded before them (the ones who helped them get here) and given the American Dream - a new Ford. But weren't we taught it unprofessional for teachers to receive gifts?  The adorable young twosome, Scotty and Lauren, won't have to spend their teen years working to buy a used vehicle. They also received new Fords, along with the worship of the entire world. At least for now, in this alternate universe.  

One hundred twenty-five million gave their votes, many more million watched. Millions of dollars spent, millions of dollars made. If this were not the case there would no competition. American Idol is not an altruistic venture. It is a highly profitable business. The first and foremost purpose of the show is to sell products and make money for the producers. The big name stars are there to promote their shows and sell their CDs.  The children probably don't quite realize it yet, but their lives were sacrificed at the alter of consumerism, and there is no turning back. All the exciting rites of childhood passage, the proms, baseball games, graduations, and plans for college have been altered and twisted for the entertainment of the masses. Their rite of passage, cruel, wicked, and sublimely American. They now have money and fame, and some would say it was the price they had to pay to enter the magic ring.

So was it a fairy tale, a pagan ritual, or the fulfillment of the American dream? 

You be the judge. And remember, every vote counts!

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