SIMON COWELL

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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robochrist
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SIMON COWELL

Postby robochrist » Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:45 pm

Reality Versus Metaphor

Unfortunately for Frank and Harlan, I rather like Simon Cowell's schtick - even when he can go too far (that's why Paula Abdul is there to give him shit). After all, Harlan's OWN critiquing style is a bit like Cowell's.

Frank - as always, going into the arena with only half the information he needs to characterize and size up an item with accuracy - goes on about how Cowell and American Idol project the notion that stardom is what makes a person better, essentially.

No. It's actually a cut above that. What they do is push those kids into aiming for something more-or-less of their own, rather than imitating a-la-kareoke the original pop performers. Most of the contestants come on thinking they're hot shit; that this - like life - must be a breeze. But, they find, like life itself, the process of pursuing a career is hard work, competitive, and often filled with grueling disappointments.

I will not take away from Harlan his point that the show is otherwise pretty mindless, and the god awful tunes you have to put up with don't exactly make it any easier (with very few exceptions, I either hit the mute button or get up and walk around during the performance, once I size up what will be coming from the judges). Yet, I empathize with those contestants, perhaps because I am in a Masters program - putting up with SOME professors who tend to be quite hard to satisfy - and, given this is my own personal take on ONE aspect of the show which has drawn me in, I see American Idol as rather a metaphor for the struggle of life itself. I mean I can't stop counting the disappointments and assholes I've had to cross, and still I persevere.

Traditionally, the art critiquing process is broken down into 4 areas: Description, Analysis, Interpretation and Judgment. This order helps you to organize your thoughts and to make intelligent and educated statements about a work of art. When that work is sorely lacking, either technically or in originality, it tends to get very, VERY candid knocks. And you better find the humility to understand WHY it's getting knocked if you hope to improve as a craftsman.

Look at how tough Harlan can be on would-be writers. HE was always in my mind when I started watching (by accident, I should add) American Idol.

So, the garbage aside, there IS an interesting dynamic in that show.

...or am I kidding myself and simply get off seeing people getting their feathers plucked one-by-one?

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:20 am

For all those American Idol lovers...or...not:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/flash/americ ... _numa.html

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

KristinRuhle
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Postby KristinRuhle » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:10 pm

Hey, isn't this the absolutely identical message from the Pavilion? Which came first? (Harlan mostly stays away from the Forum board so I guess this is where to post if you don't want him reading it, altho no guarantees on that either...)

Kristin

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:30 pm

This is the place to take a discussion if it threatens to clog the Pavilion, gets too heated too boring, etc.

Our patron, the one and only HE does drop in here once in a while. One never knows. It's kinda like taking the discussion into the kitchen.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

KristinRuhle
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Postby KristinRuhle » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:50 pm

uh, y-e-a-h, like if it's brought to his attention we're saying stupid things, or what HE thinks are stupid things, like people on the Spider thread thinking Jeffty committed suicide lol. (No, it wasn't murder, but most people these days would say it was child endangerment. I suppose in the 1970s there were not many people actually prosecuted for felony child endangerment...) before you say anything, go look up the spider threads if you haven't already, but i think they need a new moderator...

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:47 am

Kristen,

I am holding my staff high, SPREADING everywhere the almighty word of Simon Cowell.

Join us...JOIN us...JOIN US!!!! :twisted:

On a pain-racking hot day like THIS what ELSE is there to DO?

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:53 am

So, when the kids on American Idol sing, I'm Proud To Be An American, you don't wanna vomit right in Cowell's face? The kids sing the worst music ever written. I'm sure we all remember the night Diane Warren was a judge. The woman with the single worst array of bad songs ever written. Her gorge must be like one of those Fear Factor yots.

I do hope Harlan pipes in on this topic, I am sure he will concur, plus proceed to pummel Rob from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to the bottom of the Saint Louis arch.

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JaySmith
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Postby JaySmith » Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:58 am

I've seen nothing of Simon in the media aside from his trademark image as a professional asshole. If that pays his bills and he can sleep at night, that's wonderful for him. The world needs court jesters. But Harlan has never been the kind of guy to market himself as the asshole. He's an author, a writer and one of the great thinkers of his generation.

Simon is a music industry elitist whose cynicism and one-note approach to a television show will not last much longer.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:07 am

Frank,

"So, when the kids on American Idol sing, I'm Proud To Be An American, you don't wanna vomit right in Cowell's face? The kids sing the worst music ever written."

Frank...you have several consistent problems, but here only 2 are pertinent:

1) You don't read posts carefully enough, so you miss what the schmuck or shmuckess is establishing.

2) And you go into the topic short on information.

DON'T even get into the songs on AI. I ESTABLISHED that they are godawful. That's not the reason I was looking at it.

And Cowell, whether he was off base or not, was trying to push the contestants into finding something beyond that Kareoke mime. And that specific type of pressure - the process of critiquing, from the earliest stages of the interviews to the finals - was what I was taking in.

I don't think you have the ability to grasp what I am trying to get at. So, I'm going to make this easy for you and just say - sure, AI has awful songs and that's why I keep the mute button handy or I walk around to do things during the performance, glancing now and then to weigh my own reaction to the those of the judges.

You're a rigid thinker, Frank.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Oct 07, 2005 10:20 am

I'm an anarchist, we are the most open minded fucks on this side of hell.

Cowell likes the music, though, this is my point. You should be offended that such a great curmudgeon can have such wack taste.

Now get me a rigid piece of toast--glom on the butter.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:04 am

> I'm an anarchist, we are the most open minded fucks on this side of hell.


Think and say what you like about yourself, Frank -- your writing here has regularly suggested otherwise.

You are too quick to judge, delighted to make sweeping statements based on little or no factual background (never mind critical analysis), disinclined to investigate divergent sources of information (let alone to try to understand where they might be coming from), more enamored of a phrase that cuts a fine figure than one that contains an acute point, swift to respond without having shown much indication of having clearly read and understood what others have to say, and, in sum, not exhibiting much in the way of critical (in the sense of "perspicacious," not carping) thought.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:39 pm

Frank,

You ARE indeed:

"delighted to make sweeping statements based on little or no factual background (never mind critical analysis)"

and

"swift to respond without having shown much indication of having clearly read and understood what others have to say"

Those 2 points of criticism are the ones you should be paying greatest attention to. You come across as neither an "Anarchist" NOR a commentator; just a very, VERY dense, poorly informed individual.

You seem to be dyslexic. You are a rigid thinker, contrary to your claims. And being that you are not a creative person, you couldn't follow what I was getting at about AI.

You should DO something about it. But you WON'T. That's too bad.

(OK, I think we've had our field day. Let's leave him alone now. It's just a shame he won't consider the criticism...or even GRASP it)

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Duane
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Postby Duane » Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:48 pm

I've never met the guy, but from what he's posted here, it sounds like he may actually suffer from a weak form of anxiety or mood disorder. This isn't meant as a slap (some six million people in the US suffer from it as well), but as a lens to judge the tone of his posts.

Hey, someone could probably make the same case for me.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:05 pm

Hey...good as I AM at concealing it, even I suffer from "mood disorder".

(When you've been waiting for your John Thomas to be served for as long I have...who WOULDN'T?)

But if we're talking about Cowell (I mean you weren't talking about FRANK, surely), I'd say his approach and his commentary are always well thought out and deliberate.

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Duane
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Postby Duane » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:21 pm

Actually, I was talking about Paula Abdul.

I suffer from anxiety, but not mood (we won't talk about the 3:00 AM panic attacks that struck this summer. Geez Louise!) I have a cousin who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, which is a completely different animal, and I count my blessings daily that I don't have to deal with ALL THAT!!

I apologize, Frank, for misspeaking. The only person I can speak about with any certainty on this board is myself, obviously.

Back to Simon: He actually has a number of jobs: 1> Entertain the viewers 2> Give a cold, hard stare and a tongue lash to certain contestants who have a self inflated sense of entitlement, and 3> Give hardheaded, realistic advice to those few who actually do have talent and an interest in this business. Say what you will about the actual state the music business is in (and believe me, it's abysmal), it takes practice, hard work, an ability to stand up to rejection, and an awareness that you may not make it to, well, make it. These are exhausting character traits to have, and most people, WITH TALENT, don't have the time or inclination to put them into practice.


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