Thursday, January 14, 2010

The ruin of many a poor boy

(Note: I try to stay away from PG language in my posts, but here it seems appropriate. Hide the little, little kids)

I've written before here about my contempt for American Idol, what it represents culturally, and how to tip it over. (In probably the only moment I ever agreed with Howard Stern, I wanted Sanjaya (sp?) to win to show the show for the ridiculous s*^tstorm it is)

Apparently, Andrew Fenlon had the same idea. Or at least that's how I interpret it. For those of you who (like me) missed it, Andrew is (to date) this year's American Idol villain, he who drew the ire of the judges, not for being bad (I actually think by Idol standards, his performance is OK, not great, but not bad by any means. And I'm sure his odd diction in intentionally ironic), but for being a little punkass who pisses the judges off. (Side note- does he not look incredibly like Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent? It's a doppleganger)

I have mixed feelings about this one, partially because I actually know Andrew casually. He's a very good trombone player, and he was a contemporary improvisation major at NEC when I was studying there with Brookmeyer. He and I worked for the great Ran Blake at the same time, and worked together occasionally on stuff for Ran. On the one hand, I think it's strangely laudable that someone would stand in line for hours in the blazing (not rising) sun in July at Gillette Stadium in Foxborogh for the sole purpose of pissing Simon Cowell and Victoria Beckham off. To my eyes, there is an element of Warhol-ish performance art in that video. And he will undoubtably become a momentary hipster icon. And as someone who wants to see Idol crash and burn, I enjoyed it to a degree.

On the other hand, he does come off as a total dick, which in my experience isn't much of a stretch for him. (To be clear, in my experience he's not a jerk at all, a nice guy, but if you don't know him he can come off as stand-offish, a little cocky, or worse. I've heard similar complaints about myself...) I hope to explore the relationship between Brooklyn hipsterism and '00s jazz in future decade in review posts, but I'm not real high on it. To me, looking in from the outside, a lot of what's come out of Brooklyn in the last five years is irony without context, looking sarcastically at things the hipsters don't really understand at all. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you have to, or should. And it isn't going to work- my hunch is the blogosphere will love Andrew, he'll have any interview he wants (to his credit, he's turned them all down), but middle America will be confused, and forget him when the next KFC ad comes on.

I know Andrew isn't a Brooklynite, but I imagine if American Idol did their audition at Brooklyn College, there would have been fifteen Andrew Fenlons. And part of me says, "go for it, stick it to the man! And get your 15 minutes doing it!" And part of me says, "oh, grow up!"

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