A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..
So I guess the finale of the farewell season of American Idol has come & gone. I had planned on watching the last season just for old times’ sake, but that simply didn’t happen. My Idol viewership was hit & miss at best over the years, but like a lot of other folks I began to lose interest awhile ago, especially when turnover at the judges’ table started to be a bit much. As annoying as they could be at times, the lineup of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, & Randy Jackson had chemistry that was never as enjoyable with additions like Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and the last group of J-Lo, Keith Urban, & Harry Connick Jr. It didn’t help that the only two winners since 2007 that even came close to moving the needle for longer than 5 minutes were Jordin Sparks & Phillip Phillips…and I’m being rather generous to them. I suppose it’s possible that I’m just old, out-of-touch, & stuck in my ways, no longer within the target demographic that typically enjoys a show like American Idol. I know what kind of music I enjoy & what performers I prefer, and that is unlikely to be impacted by the winner of a reality show who fades into oblivion not long after their made-for-TV victory. Having said all that, it is undeniable that for a brief moment in time American Idol was a pop culture phenomenon that gave us memorable stars like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Katherine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, & Jennifer Hudson. One could even throw Cowell and Ryan Seacrest into that mix, although it is possible they may have found another launching pad to fame & fortune had Idol never existed. At any rate, a fond farewell to American Idol. Maybe we’ll see you again someday.
There has been much controversy swirling about HB2, aka the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, that was recently passed in North Carolina. Essentially the bill…as I understand it…maintains the status quo and prohibits any special privileges for “the LGBT community”, especially “transgender” individuals seeking the right to use public bathrooms based on the sex with which they “identify” rather than what biology dictates. Bruce Springsteen is angry. Jimmy Buffett is as upset as a pothead gets. The NFL is unhappy. Everybody is throwing their weight around one way or another about the situation. I briefly pondered in-depth pontification on the issue, but I have decided it’s not worth my time or aggravation. I have my opinions. I know right vs. wrong. However I have been doing my best to back off certain hot button topics. I’ll live my life and let others live theirs. But let me offer one quick opinion. If this law stands (which is uncertain at best), I predict that in the next decade the state of North Carolina will experience faster economic & population growth than anywhere in the country. You heard it here first.
Did you watch the recently concluded ten part miniseries American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson?? I had very low expectations at the outset and was prepared for a tacky yet entertaining cheesefest of epic proportions. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the writing and superb performances. How much of what was on my TV screen accurately reflected real life events?? Did attorney Robert Kardashian (sympathetically portrayed by former Friends star David Schwimmer) really have doubts about OJ’s innocence?? Is attorney Robert Shapiro (portrayed by the legendary John Travolta) really that much of an arrogant weirdo?? Did Marcia Clark & Christopher Darden really almost get it on?? I don’t know and neither do you, but who cares?? The show was fantastic and should end up winning multiple Emmys (especially for Sarah Paulson as Clark and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran). It is fascinating to think about how different things might have turned out had LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman not been involved in the case or if those infamous gloves (if they don’t fit you must acquit!!) hadn’t been introduced as evidence. Cochran’s strategy to utilize the “race card” may have been morally questionable and sort of a straw man argument, but it turned out to be brilliant. Clark & Darden were seemingly solid lawyers who just got outmaneuvered by more devious opponents. The really sad part of the equation from my perspective is the jury. Everyone involved expected them to deliberate for weeks…maybe even months. Instead they returned a verdict in just a few hours. The American system of justice is the best in the world and provides an opportunity for a defendant to be judged by a jury of his/her peers…but what if those “peers” aren’t up to the task?? O.J. Simpson benefitted from his celebrity and from a jury who was bored, tired, frustrated, easily manipulated by Cochran, & after a year in the courtroom just wanted to go home. That’s my take anyway…you’re mileage may vary.
The 2015 Sammy Awards didn’t happen because Your Humble Potentate of Profundity spent the last couple of months of 2015 in a hospital. However, while doing some way too early prep work for this year’s presentation I took a look back at the 2014 Awards and was amazed. We hand out what I call The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear). In 2014 there were 11 nominees. As of right now one of them retired from Congress, one acrimoniously departed from MSNBC, one had their reality show cancelled, and one is dead. Damn I’m good.
I wasn’t quite as enamored with Hulu’s eight part adaptation of Stephen King’s 2011 novel 11/22/63 as I became of the OJ Simpson miniseries, but then again the book is so fantastic that it would have been darn near impossible to equal. Casting James Franco in the lead was a mistake in my opinion (I envisioned Josh Lucas in the role as I was reading the book), though it certainly wasn’t a fatal flaw. As with any book that is adapted into a film or TV series there were alterations & omissions, but nothing unforgivable. King’s works are notoriously difficult to translate from page to screen, but it was definitely a wise choice to make a miniseries instead of a feature film as was the original plan. All in all it was a solid effort, but it could have been far better.