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finding life in ambivalent places

finding life in ambivalent places

american idol gives back...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

it's been a long time since i've posted! in honor of finishing my papers, and finishing this term, i sat on the couch and watched the american idol special, american idol gives back. i haven't been following american idol this season, mostly because it conflicts with my favorite show, but i do enjoy watching (ok, critiquing, let's be honest) the performers when i get a chance. last night, they did a huge fundraising campaign, drawing attention to poverty across the united states and in various countries in africa. and it was, interesting.

i don't know if it's because i'm a counseling student, or because i'm becoming more aware of social justice issues, or what, but i couldn't quite get behind what american idol was doing. raising money for the poor, good. bringing attention to people in need, great. sending ryan seacrest and simon cowell to kenya to interview children who've been orphaned by AIDS, really not a good idea. (for those of you who don't know, ryan's generally known as a bit of an idiot, and simon's generally known as completely insensitive). my roommate teases me whenever we watch law & order or grey's anatomy, because there tends to be some emotional trauma, and i'm always asking where the psychologist is. but the truth is, i'm concerned about people's souls, not just their bodies and their minds. and if i get upset when it's fictional, you can imagine how i felt watching last night. in a short, 2 minute clip of their time in africa, ryan and simon are sitting with a 12 year old boy and his younger sister, in their home, talking about how awful it is that they live there, by themselves, in poverty. ryan says something like "you're alone because your parents died." and the boy begins to cry, nodding his head and hiding his face. ryan's response: "it's okay man. let it out. we all love our mommies and daddies. let it out. let it out". end scene. ugh. it reminded me of a scene in the invisible children documentary, except that the guys who were interviewing these young boys seemed...visibly shaken, not knowing how to respond to the tears of a child who has seen such horror. ryan sounded more like he needed a good sound bite.

apparently, the event raised close to $30 million, which is incredible. really amazing. and there were some beautiful, touching moments. my favorite performance was josh groban with the african children's choir. yes, i cried. i love the proud smiles of those kids, excited to be on tv, on stage; they are beautiful.

so, it made me think. and it raised a lot of money, and a ton of awareness. and for those things, i am glad.

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