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The next degeneration

Is the American public cruel or what? You’re lying if you don’t think so, because every Tuesday and Wednesday Americans sit down and watch American Idol. Even I do it. This reality-comedy has grabbed about 57 million viewers, according to It must be something in the human psyche; we love to see people make complete fools of themselves and act degenerate.

Do you know what the worst part about the show is? The people who are in their own whimsical reality and actually think that they have the ability to sing. They walk in with an “I’m a diva” attitude and belt out a horrendous version of “A Whole New World.” Then, of course, Simon has to give his snide — but funny — retort. And with an overzealous flare, the imitation Celine Dion or Luther Vandross has the audacity to argue with judges, making statements like, “Well I don’t agree. I know I can sing,” and my all-time favorite, “You don’t know what you’re missing out on.”

We know exactly what we are missing out on — a catastrophe! I am amazed at how these people force themselves to believe they have the ability to sing well. It is terrible that the truth had to come out of some snobby British man’s mouth.

This self-deprecating behavior is not only seen on American Idol. Just turn to MTV and you will see the same conduct on the hit show The Real World. It was the first in this genre labeled “reality television.” When the show was first introduced, the “seven strangers” were actual people who discussed and lived like normal people. If you were to look at the show today, you would not see seven everyday people, but seven stereotypes.

If you haven’t watched the show in a while, here’s a breakdown of how these characters are brought to life. First, there is the homosexual character. If not homosexual, then the character is bisexual or just “exploring” his or her sexuality. The second character is the angry black person. It could be a female or male, but rarely are two on the same show. Then there’s the all-American white male. He has to have the perfect body and chiseled face. The fourth stereotype consists of the beautiful white female who is not the friendliest, but on the last episode, gets along with everyone. Toss in an antagonist, an artist and a quiet character, mix with different ethnicities, and you have the “seven strangers.”

These ungrateful characters live in an awe-inspiring house and receive some of the most ideal jobs anyone could ever have. What do these miscreant characters do with all of these privileges? They ruin these opportunities and bicker as if they were reduced to an 8-year-old’s state of mind.

Also, there must be a race controversy within the house. It never fails. Race is a major factor in every season of the show.

The people who go into reality television play into these characters and become upset when they see a reflection of how they were portrayed. This point may seem cliché, but what does it say about the American public?

We would rather watch someone lose all of his or her dignity than hear the State of the Union address. There’s no camera watching our every move when we laugh at other people, and television companies make money off our viewing decisions. So if I may, I will leave you with this question: Who are the degenerates?

Kimberly Marion, Northern Star, Northern Illinois University.