American Idol and Being American

American IdolI’ve had a few things going through my head since Kris Allen won this season’s American Idol. None of which I’ll really get into here. Suffice it say that I knew Kris Allen was going to win because he’s the very prototype of American Idol product. Adam Lambert was the antithesis of everything American Idol is about. But one thing that popped into my head was a poem I wrote in 2000 called Being American. It pretty much sums up how I regard the tonight’s American Idol results.

Snap back the plastic
from the easy-opening top.
Dig inside the packaging
for the goodies inside.
You’ve waited for this,
the moment of reward.
You’ve sang in your head
the happy, mindless jingle,
And bought the magazines
with ads touting the prize.
You own t-shirts bearing
the company’s corporate logo,
And conspicuously consume
their products when offered.
Aye, it’s brandname loyalty
that often drives you thus,
to march to the droning
of the marketers’ siren call;
to seize the sweet, sticky goo
that defines your very life.
This substance, ever damning
makes you what you are,
So that somewhere in the din
it’s possible to forget
that it used to mean more;
being American,
Back before “America”
was a slick marketing phrase,
Before patriotism was packaged
beneath layers of bright foil,
And before “love of country”
became a line in a mindless chant.
We were more than this . . . .
once . . . .
Before America, Incorporated,
Before liberty was replaced
by the sweet, sticky goo
And we were all satiated
by the cool, sugar rush
of being
American.

By Wicasta Lovelace – Dated Mar 7 2000
Columbis, Ohio

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