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#667507 - 11/13/08 10:22 AM American Idol claims it's first victim  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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We've discussed it here before, but now it's actually real. American Idol has indirectly led to a death. Their policy of showing and humiliating delusional contestants has devolved to the point where one humiliated and clearly mentally ill (from the video clip she's clearly troubled) has killed herself in front of Paula's house.

Here's the full story:
http://www.popeater.com/television/article/body-of-fan-found-near-home-of-abdul/245803

The only surprise is that it took this long to happen. Preying on delusional and mentally ill people is wrong on a lot of levels. Laughing at them and doing it for ratings is sick. I wonder if this will hit home to any of them? Nah.. the ratings are too good.

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#667515 - 11/13/08 10:42 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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richard murrey Offline
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i think you've hit on something here brian...
hollywood has been for years, a collective of scriptwriters, idea people, self-proclaimed social psychologists who deem themselves more intelligent that the average joe. they actually produce their "self-fulfilling prophecies" in their low-budget, psycho-thrillers, b-movies, even some big budget slop. so many of them with the same scenarios that actually play out in real life after the "case study" has been released to the public. i can't name you the exact titles or when they were done, but this same plot has been alluded to numerous times in hollywood productions. it's almost as if they (the creators, writers, scriptwriters) want to pound home the idea so someone will act out on it.
yes, i know many productions are taken from real life... historical serial killers, distraught psychological misfits, social outcasts... stuff like that. i truly believe the media, and hollywood in particular are responsible for pushing and driving the mentality of many people who are caught up in the "virtual reality of the media", towards the actions they follow.
i think this is one case that will prove that. sad, but something the participants on the "fame" side should look at with some morale glasses.
just my 2 cents.
rock on,
r.

#667516 - 11/13/08 10:48 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
I'm also surprised only that it took this long. But my rant on AI could go on forever and I don't have the energy for it...To quote Springsteen's Nebraska:

"I guess there's just a meanness in this world."

Midnite


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#667546 - 11/13/08 12:16 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

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#667566 - 11/13/08 01:27 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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A sad commentary on the impact of television and it's fall into the abyss of crass, crude and downright vulgar... all for the sake of ratings. (I know... ratings = dollars... but at what cost?)

Dave

#667570 - 11/13/08 01:45 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Derek Hines Offline
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I could easily say I saw this coming, but I won't

Because this is truly sad...

I've had my commentary about my views on AI and it's worthlessness as a true creative medium in the past... As with Midnite Bob I've learned to just let that piece go, but this shows just how bad things can get with reality TV... It harkens back to when Jenny Jones had a day time talk show... where people revealed crushes they had on people before a live studio audience... All went well until an obviously straight man was informed that a gay man had a crush on him... He handled it politely at the time and on the show, but later (no doubt after relentless teasing by friends) he killed this same man... It also reminds me of when Geraldo Rivera had the Ku Klux Klan and certain member of a African American church (not sure if they were Muslim or Christian) at any rate there was a huge fight in which Geraldo got his nose broken (the only true justice to come from the episode)...

At any rate I guess my point is, how far are we as a society willing to let them push things (in the name of entertainment) before we simply turn of the set and let the ratings drop in the toilet? Some would say shame on them for showing such garbage... I would say shame on us for watching it... This is only my opinion and I am not passing judgment on those who do watch these shows, but whatís your opinion? smile
Derek


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#667577 - 11/13/08 02:06 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Derek Hines]  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Geez...I sure hope they lighten up this year.

I always thought picking on the obviously weird and out-of-touch people was treading on dangerous ground (and might end up with something like this).

There IS some good that comes out of the show: Kellie Pickler can now sing decently, and of course Carrie Underwood hosted the CMA Awards last night.



#667584 - 11/13/08 02:15 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Derek Hines]  
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Samuel Harris Offline
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I watched the video of her audition and the judges did not ridicule her- they were fairly kind. Simon even made an excuse for her terrible singing saying, "I don't know how anyone could sing with that much metal in their mouth"- meaning her braces. This woman has been obsessed with Paula Abdul ever since she was a kid and has even stalked her. I don't think AI is responsible for her death directly or indirectly. She was mentally ill, thinking she was a fashion goddess for instance. She was incapable of seeing herself objectively.

Still I'll bet this incident has given the judges pause in the future (if AI has a future) because it would be hard to know that your ridicule was in anyway responsible for someones death. And some of the ridicule has been unspeakably mean spirited. The future of AI? I would give it 2 more years max. I think it "jumped the shark" last year or maybe even the year before when Dolittle lost.


#667594 - 11/13/08 02:36 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Samuel Harris]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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I disagree, Joe. While they were civil to her in the audtion, how could she ever get past the screeners in the first place if they did not intend to exploit her horrible singing? Why was it filmed and then aired? I will not go so far as to say they were responsible for her death, but they certainly fueled her neuroses.

If you listen to the clip provided, you can tell pretty much from the first note that she could not sing well. She was not a raving beauty, but she was attractive, so they did not lay into her like they sometimes do. They tend to reserve that special treatment for those who are less attractive and/or wildly dressed. Plus, she expressed a connection to Paula that seemed to make them want to be kind to her. Nevertheless, she should never have made it that far in the audition process if it weren't for the desire to exploit the bad performances in the show.

#667599 - 11/13/08 02:58 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Samuel Harris Offline
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Jack,
I agree. The producers exploited her and sent her to the celebrity
judging round knowing she was bad. That decision was a systemic requirement of the show. The producers know that half the popularity of the show is to "showcase" really bad talent- taking a cue from the Jerry Springer school of entertainment. So I am not defending AI at all. I was just relieved to see that the celebrity judges did not overly ridicule her. A suicide, with the victim making a direct reference to something a judge said, would sink the show immediately.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
#667606 - 11/13/08 03:25 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Samuel Harris]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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I have been saying that this show is wrong and exploitative for years finally it has taken a death to prove me right.
Will it stop them?....I doubt it... not when there is so much money to be made and enough silly people who watch it and encourage laughter at people with problems. The whole thing is shameful and even the finalists have little talent.

#667611 - 11/13/08 04:05 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Wyman Lloyd Offline
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I think it's pretty well been said. I've only watched it enough to know I don't want to watch it. As someone said " A sad commentary on our society when "that" is considered entertainment. I've heard it defended as "They knew what they were getting into" In too many cases, "not true". A lot of them are "Not too swift" or have no family background to speak of. Most, IMO think they "can" sing, but the screeners know better. They pass them up anyway so they can be ridiculed.
And I expect it'll go on pretty much as before till it meets a well deserved death in a year or two.
Wy--Mud

#667614 - 11/13/08 04:49 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Wyman Lloyd]  
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Hi Wyman All entrants are pre-screened at the auditions and only those who have true potential or are so bad that they can be laughed at get to meet the TV panelists and be filmed. They concentrate on the "laughed at" as sick as it is cause it makes great TV. I susupect the finalists are almost pre-selected prior to audition. A friend who entered X Factor the UK eqivalent gave me the heads up.

#667627 - 11/13/08 06:19 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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I'm sure as far as the suits in the T.V ratings war are concerned, she's merely "collateral damage".


bc
#667659 - 11/13/08 08:21 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Bob Cushing]  
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Iggy Offline
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American Idol is not to be blamed for this personís decision. She, obviously was troubled for a while and if anything the show could be viewed as the victim. The show, American Idol, is popular because, we, the viewers have made it so. It is simply giving the public what they want. They provide a stage for almost anybody who is a whack job, misguided, troubled or disillusioned. Those people go there of their own free will and we sit home and tune in. The responsibility is not American Idols but the viewers. If we stop watching, the show will soon be over.

Responsibility lies with the decisions we make on a daily basis. Itís not the tobacco industryís fault when a smoker gets cancer. Itís not the alcohol makers fault when a drunk is involved in an accident and itís not the gun companies fault crime is on the rise. This country is very quick to delegate blame and ignore real responsibility.

ďHell Iím gonna sue Hustler magazine for giving my wrist carpel tunnel syndromeĒ Larry the Cable Guy.

#667668 - 11/13/08 08:35 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Iggy]  
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Poor taste is poor taste whether you make the TV prog or watch it.

How can delusional people with mental health problems or people with special needs make informed decisions?

#667673 - 11/13/08 08:40 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Bill Robinson Offline
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American Idol is tame compared to some of these reality shows they have now.
I am astounded at some of the stuff they have on TV.
But the young people and those ones with the less than stellar IQ's love it.

Last edited by Bill Robinson; 11/13/08 08:41 PM.

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#667675 - 11/13/08 08:45 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Oh this is awful - everything I hate about the industry and what we've become as a society.

My heart goes out to that poor girl's family.


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#667762 - 11/14/08 01:12 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: debra manskey]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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There are reality shows that do not humiliate the contestants. I love the shows on Bravo: Top Design, Top Chef, the model show, the dress maker show, all of them showcase creativity and they start the show with the finalists who all have demonstrated talent and mental stability. Instead, the feature some really fun creativity and every episode provides a showcase for that. I know nothing about most of those industries, and I still enjoy it, though I have no interest in doing what most of them do. I think if A.I. started with the Hollywood rounds as the first part of the show, it would be an infinitely better series. But they know that the crass and destructive part of the show will appeal to those who don't care about the talent portion. It's almost like 2 different audiences. I never have found the bad contestants remotely funny or entertaining.. I think in the cases of the contestants that are on the fence of being good enough or not good enough provides plenty of drama (and often plenty of bad decisions by the judges but that's another topic) and the show would be just fine without humiliating the delusional folks.

I've been doing this into my 11th year now and involved in music long before that. I've seen these same delusional folks (and frankly we have some people who post on the boards that are these same types of folks). The best thing you can do is be polite and not patronizing. Don't set them up for major humiliation but don't give them false praise either. The fact that these deluded folks get moved forward means they've been given TONS of false hope.. they aren't told "you suck and we're going to make fun of you" instead they say "congrats, you're 1 in a thousand who gets to see the judges." So they go in with these sky high hopes and they are blind sided brutally. By doing so, they get the most emotional reactions. And when someone is already suffering from mental ailments or instability, they are crushed far more than a contestant that is ALMOST but not quite good enough. We know this woman never let go of her humuliation and she even recently posted about that on her MySpace page. This wasn't some indirect coincidence. Her dying in front of Paula's house wasn't by accident. They ruined her life. She felt she had no value in the world. When the most popular TV show in history spends 5 minutes telling the entire world how worthless you are, it never goes away. The public doesn't forget quickly enough and you NEVER forget.

We see rational people here all the time lose their cool when something they post or say is attacked. This is tiny potatos. Imagine if you auditioned for this show, told your family and friends and fans about it all and then sat down to watch yourself ripped apart. It would be horrifying for anyone, stable or not.

It's easy to say they put themselves up for that when they auditioned. There's no doubt that 85% of the people that try out have no where near enough talent to seriously compete. American Idol doesn't really care that much about the talent they find. They have enough patsy's ahead of time to know that those talented folks will be there in Hollywood to choose from. The rest is just a charade to build interest and audience numbers. Sure, now and then a real outsider makes it through, but we can watch and clearly see who the judges are pulling for before the show even gets going. (Like the guy Paula was sleeping with one season who had zero talent and it showed all the way up until the sex was exposed). But if they had class, they'd use their power to bring attention to even MORE talented singers by featuring all those singers that are almost good enough, or those that ARE good enough, but happent to look or sound too much like another chosen contestant (since they "cast" for diversity of the final contestants). Some shows go out of their way to build up even the losers of their shows. That's what they SHOULD do. And I enjoy seeing really talented people demosntrate types of creativity I could never dream of. (Watch those Bravo shows.. those are some really creative and quick thinking people). Sometimes delusional people can learn reality and still move forward. At some time in our own lives we are all delusional about something. Most of the time, with respectful treatment and honest encouragement, we can move past it and become productive or at least educated in what we are deluded about (we see this in politics a lot). AI could have a very emotional and edge of the seat type of show if we show all those who ALMOST make it and are on the fence and get to live through them to see their dreams move forward or get set back. And most of the time, those CLOSE to good enough can still benefit because many will see them and think "hey, that guy/gal has a lot of talent.. let's check them out) and their careers could still move forward. I think America is getting a little tired of the stale format. I noticed a little shift last year from the brutality. I bet this year we see even less. But my suggestion to AI: How about about just changing now to showing the talented and almost talented enough folks and let that play out? We'll all be more invested and interested from the start and you can step out of the sleaze and into what do actually get right, forwarding the careers of some unknown singers.

Brian


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#667770 - 11/14/08 01:27 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Linda Sings Offline
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I don't know what to say. That's pretty awful to have happened.

I for one have NEVER enjoyed the first shows - they're just too painful - I can't stand to watch the folks be ridiculed. Often I'll boycott them altogether until they get to Hollywood or beyond.

I'm the same way with America's Funniest Home Videos - I don't think it's funny when people crash their bikes into the brick wall. All I think is "OUCH."

Linda

#667773 - 11/14/08 01:39 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Linda Sings]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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The difference on AFHM is that the people IN the videos are the ones who send them in. I wonder if that girl would have request that video clip of her to run on National TV? I doubt it.

Brian


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#667794 - 11/14/08 04:37 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Aaron Authier Offline
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Idol cannot be held responsible for this, americans are all about being the victims and taking no responsibility, oh I'm crazy thats why I did it, Glen Beck said It, I just agree with him
She killed herself, not the show

#667805 - 11/14/08 07:53 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Aaron Authier]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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So far out of all the winners and finalists I have seen not one merits the acclaim and adulation they get. Most at best are reasonable pub karaoke singers. On their own merit they would not stand 5 mins in the business and certainly do not deserve any recording contract or TV appearance. Just shows how hype and false praise can make anyone a star. JMO.

#667824 - 11/14/08 11:32 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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There use to be a show out of Maine, called Stacey's Jamboree, which was extremely popular, mainly because the singers on that show were NOT good, they were even less than average singers, but people love to watch so they could poke fun and say "I can sing better than that". The show itself did not poke fun at the singers.

I don't believe in ridiculing a person in public or in private just because they are less than what we feel is normal. I take the attitude "but for the grace of God, there go I". No one likes being belittled for some short comings in their looks, talents, or mental capacities. These are things beyond their control. There is nothing wrong with some good natured ribbing or teasing friends over their choice of music or sports team,etc., but when you get down to personal criticisms said in a demeaning way, then it can hurt. Do as you would wish to be done unto. If it would hurt you, don't do it to others.


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#667828 - 11/14/08 11:53 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Nearly anyone who has achieved massive fame and musical stardom did it because some multinational corporation hoisted them up to it and relentlessly spent money and used insider power to get them there. Most mainstream famous artists could never survive the process of the show because frankly most of them can't sing multiple styles, and couldn't hit the notes week after week. You see this openly admitted from nearly every single superstar helper that comes on the show. Nailing performances week after week enough to win the overall contest is amazing and pressured packed.

The winners are as good vocally as as the average when it comes to music stars. Some are at the better end of the curve, some are the lesser end. But their sales have suggested they are pretty typical for what the major labels sign and their success level seems pretty par for the course. Kelly Clarkson has sustained her career as has Carrie Underwood. The R&B girl winners have mostly ended up on stage because no one is buying R&B singer albums.. it's a tired genre. I've seen so many major label superstar acts that don't measure up to some of the winners.

Of course there are artist who are amazing writers who surpass all of the winners. They don't test/judge songwriting. I always thing that artist who write their own material and sing/perform well are superior to those who do other people's songs no matter who they are. That's why I never liked Elvis. It think he's the most over-rated superstar in history. Elton John, Billy Joel, John Mellancamp and a myriad of other singer-songwriters blow them all off the stage. But if you match them apples to apples, can you really say the Idol Winners are lesser talents than Britney Spears or any of the other Pop stars?

Some of the guys who have done well (Daughtry and Mark Cook) are as good as college rockers as anyone fronting any other college rock band. Carrie Underwood certainly can stand side by side with Shania Twain and Faith Hill who are her peers. Rueben, Fantasia, Jordin Sparks, all R&B singers, are pretty middle of the road in that genre.. but they're not at the bottom of the list of major label R&B singers. The only real flop was the white blues singer (already forgot his name). But that was the weakest year for American Idol I think. Since the failure of the major labels is over 90%, the track record of AI plucking unknowns and launching them has been pretty good.

Just because you don't like them as artist, doesn't mean they aren't talented. But we've had this discussion before.

Brian


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#667840 - 11/14/08 12:24 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Everett Adams]  
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summeoyo Offline
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What I heard on the news about this, is that the woman already had an obsession with Paula Abdul. Competing in AI was a way for her to get close to Paula. I don't watch the show. However I think some real talent has emerged from the show. The contestants aren't songwriters and don't compete as such. They are singers(or ones who think they can sing well) who want an opportunity for fame and fortune. As far as the criticism goes, I've seen clips of Simon and Co. in action. He is frank, but hams it up for the cameras with his facial expressions and quips.
Hypersensitive people don't do well in these situations because they FEEL that the world MUST accommodate their FEELINGS. The REALITY is that the world does not and will not accommodate their FEELINGS. The problem with hypersensitive people is that they don't acknowledge their exaggerated sensitivity. So some forethought about whether they should enter such a competition never occurs and any warnings by friends would be dismissed. While it is sad that this woman lost her life, it is unfair to blame the show. She needed help. Those closest to her probably were aware of her obsession. Whether they ignored it or she refused advice to get help is unknown at this point.
We all have a responsibility for our own behavior - which includes how we react to things.

#667844 - 11/14/08 12:39 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: summeoyo]  
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ben willis Offline
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Boy do I miss The Gong Show!

#667871 - 11/14/08 02:15 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: ben willis]  
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As Brian has stated we have had this conversation before. My point is simple just because you have made it big time and sell millions of records does not mean you have talent it means you have connections. Anybody given the right hype and backing can be a star. There are countless people who are just as good if not better singers than those who have made it and they get nowhere. Re Britney etc well I would say that the Idol winners are not lesser talented than them they are mostly all just as untalented.

#667917 - 11/14/08 04:43 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: ben willis]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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Originally Posted by ben willis
Boy do I miss The Gong Show!
{LOL!!!}


bc
#667922 - 11/14/08 05:10 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Bob Cushing]  
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Aaron Authier Offline
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In all fairness every contestant there knows whats the shows all about, unless they live in a cave... It's not like people get blindsided and if they do its their fault and whoever said they could sing, I love that part of the show too where I hear bad people sing, At least I'm not delusional enough to think I can sing, They have to know somehow, right?

#667927 - 11/14/08 05:43 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Aaron Authier]  
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Monica L. Yasher Offline
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What is sad is that this person, as many of us do, apparantly concentrated on her failure.

I think she was a great artist if she drew those pictures in the supplied clip. It's a shame someone didn't get a hold of her to develop THAT talent. Now it is lost to never be found. She truly had potential.


#667930 - 11/14/08 05:49 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Aaron Authier]  
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ben willis Offline
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Broadcast talent shows aren't new. The original was "Major Bowes Amateur Hour". It was a radio show that was broadcast on NBC and later on CBS starting in the 1930's. Bowes was Cowell like in that he would interrupt a performance by saying "Alright, Alright", using a bell to stop the show, and eventually started using a gong.
A group called "The Hoboken Five" with a young Frank Sinatra appeared on the show.
The show later moved to syndicated television as "Ted Mack And The Original Amateur Hour". Contestants included Pat Boone, Alan King, Lenny Bruce, Gladys Knight and Patsy Cline.
If I'm not wrong, the winners were determined by a combination of studio audience applause and/or electronic type votes from the audience and mail in votes from listeners.

#667942 - 11/14/08 06:57 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Aaron Authier]  
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tjrmusic Offline
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I have a lot of problems with the AI show and there are a few things that I like about it.

For years I boycotted the show. I explained my reason in a song that I recorded and released here:

http://www.myspace.com/tjr

But blaming AI for this girls death is like blaming the Beatles for Charles Manson (IE: Helter Skelter)

Many years back there was this lawsuit against the Heavy Metal Band Judas Priest. Two kids shot themselves while listening to Priest's music. One died and the other was terribly disfigured. The parents filed suit against the band saying that the music drove them to shoot themselves.

The judge (thankfully) found the band to be not guilty.

These kids had issues, If not Judas Priest, they would have found something else to inspire them do what they did.

The same goes for this woman who auditioned for AI. If not this TV show than something else might have led her to do this.

During the shows first season, of course, No one could have known what they where getting into (unless they had seen the British version of the show). But now, if you go into an American Idol audition you have no one to blame but yourself if you get ripped apart.

Once again, This does not mean that I approve of a lot of the things that they do on this show.

I finally stopped boycotting the show last year, and watched the final 12 compete because I realized that there was too much I could learn from watching the competition.






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#667953 - 11/14/08 07:54 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: tjrmusic]  
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Mike Caro Substudio Offline
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AI - I never watch the show, I do catch bits of it as my wife sometimes watches the rewind auditions only. I guess originally a big part of the fun of it was to see and hear people making an embarrassment of themselves singing. PArt of that is the judges faces and comments.

I thinks it's all crap as is the whole show (manufacturing music stars on TV) Just more brainwashing of the public.
But I understand the business aspect of it and it surely works in that regard.

As for the victim it's very tragic but she was WELL enough to make it on to the show and audition right?
I couldn't blame the judges or anyone from AI directly for that. Although they could have been a little nicer especially Paula. I the girl idolizes you at least tell her she looks pretty. Give a little something then be straight forward afterwards.

But Please where is THE FAMILY in all of this. And even friends who sometimes are closer than family in situations like this. Was anyone seeing any tell tale signs. Didn't anyone notice anything?

Sad to say it but that girl would have killed herself over something else sooner or later probably a man!



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#667972 - 11/14/08 10:19 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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Sad story. I watch AI and like it, but when someone who seems like they do have mental problems or disabilities, it makes me cringe and angry if they make fun of them. They go too far and should only show people on there with real potential to make the competition. There was an even more evil show on one season a few yrs back, dont remember the name, they made the singers think the whole time they had been chosen for the show because of their great singing, only to humiliate them on live tv in the finale. It made me sick. Why do some humans find it fun to make others hurt? kimberlyinNC


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#667986 - 11/14/08 11:01 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Steve West Offline
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We have had this discussion before when we talked about AI abusing the mentally inpared. I tried to find a link to our thread but our records only go back to June and it was probably Feburary or March. Very sad :-(


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#668023 - 11/15/08 12:46 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Steve West]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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The Beatles didn't directly use the most powerful show on broadcast TV to humiliate Charles Manson.

In talent shows, the idea was to showcase "talent" not "lack of talent." And it's not true that everyone KNOWS what they are getting into on that show. Many of these reality shows do extensive mental tests to be sure that the contestants can handle the negative effects the show can have on them. AI doesn't do that. They pluck people out of massive cattle call screenings and thrust them into a national spotlight that even politicians like Barak Obama and Sarah Palin have both said surprised them and was a bit overwhelming. No one can be prepared for that instant hysteria. Someone who is already mentally disturbed is probably even less likely to have any idea what they are getting themselves into. And since the attention is nearly 100% negative on the bad contestants, for anyone who had any self esteem tied info their believe that they had talent and were a good person, they are crushed mercilessly in the glaring and suffocating spotlight of instant negative notoriety and ridicule. Even hardened politicians and media stars are not immune to the effects of the negative press attention they get when something goes wrong. And most of them have had years and years of preparation to get ready to deal with it. These kids have NOT had any of that. And the pressure is hard enough when something POSITIVE has happened.. can you imagine if your worst failure and fear in life was suddenly the most public thing imaginable? Think of your absolute worst moment in your life and then imagine that 100 million people around the world are seeing it over and over and laughing at you about it and branding you with it. That would screw up even the strongest person. It's complete BS to suggest that ANYONE, let alone a mentally disturbed person, could KNOW the consequences of that happening.

If AI only featured those who were good enough or nearly good enough, the ridicule would be minimal (though it would still exist even then since even positive coverage will have negative side effects). If they didn't feed someone's mental illness and delusions, they would not be a contributing factor if that person still goes off the deep end. Are they legally responsible for what happened? Probably not. They are no more guilty than any bully who browbeats someone who is already on the edge and subsequently goes over the edge. And make no mistake, AI is a bully. They're the biggest bully in the neighborhood and people seek the bully's approval and acceptance. When the bully pulls your pants down to humiliate you in front of the other cool kids and you go and kill yourself, it may not legally be the bully's fault.. but they contributed nonetheless. That is exactly what AI does. We're just lucky that others haven't met the same end (at least that we know of.. they've auditioned a lot of people.. who knows what has happened to all the folks they humiliated and how much worse their lives were after they were attacked and had their pants pulled down in front of the world.

Brian


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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#668030 - 11/15/08 01:12 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Andy K Online content
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American Idol, and any TV show for that matter, shows what it does because that is what the public wants. That is what get the ratings. So whose fault is it, the TV show's or the viewers'?


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#668053 - 11/15/08 03:14 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Andy K]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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People would be glad to tune into a show where people were secretly videotaped doing embarrassing things in their own homes or in public bathrooms or gag shows where people's clothes were removed in public or any number of things. Some people would tune in to watch hate speech inflicted on helpless individuals. Some people love to watch snuff films. Since when does "what the public wants to watch" remove any responsibility from those broadcasting? After all, the airwaves are public. Shouldn't they be used responsibly? We have rules to protect people from a handful of words that are said 100 times a day in all walks of life, but we're all happy to essentially emotionally gang rape someone who is being humiliated in the most horrifying way just because it's legal and "what the public wants."

I don't totally blame the public.. I think that very few people really think it through about just how damaging it could be. And not everyone, including the bad contestants, are damaged. But AI doesn't really care whether someone is mentally capable of handling the results or not. It's all for a laugh at someone else's expense. Would American Idol post videos and photos of Paula Abdul without makeup or looking overweight or doing something else embarassing? Of course not. But she's a public figure.. she CHOOSES to be a star. They use discretion because it's the right thing to do even though I assure you that the public would LOVE to see big stars hounded and humiliated on the top rated show on TV. Their ratings would never be higher. But heck, Paula is an important celebrity.. she's not just some cannon fodder for ratings success who is to be used up and discarded and publicly humiliated all for the sake of higher ratings.

It's a mod mentality. People do things in large groups they'd NEVER do in real life. At our showcases we have had people as bad or worse than the bad contestants on American Idol. But I've never seen anyone humuliated in public. I've never seen people laugh out loud at them. Just the opposite. I see a lot of support and nurturing. That's because people act differently when they aren't in the room with someone or looking them eye to eye. American Idol IS seeing these people face to face.. and they are screening specifically for the most troubled and deluded people to blindside. These people simply don't understand reality. Even those who are not mentally ill are simply people who don't yet understand where their talent is and where it needs to be to succeed. Most ALL of us had some level of that type of delusion when we got started, if not in music, in something we've done in public. We usually learn in obscurity and only get public attention when we've rise to the level of earning a shot. We still may fail, but by then we've had plenty of reality checks and moved up the ladder to the point of getting the shot.

It's definitely a reflection on society.. but I think the broadcasters have a special responsibility to use the judgement to know when you're simply feeding a mob mentality something that is wrong, or right. There's plenty of room for idol worship among the masses for something good (see Barack Obama), you don't need to take some clearly troubled woman and make a national joke of her.

Brian


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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#668258 - 11/16/08 06:06 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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WriterTomYeager Offline
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i disagree Brian

i dont blame AMERICAN IDOL for that girls death anymore than i blame Taxi DRIVER for reagan getting shot or Catcher in the RYE for lennon getting shot.....these folks are mentally ill and can be destructive or self destructive after bible studies or watching FATHER KNOWS BEST or whatever..........it just doesnt matter....their mental illness is sad but the media wouldnt be doing its job if it didnt show mentally ill people.....the one time i did very much disagree with a network decision was when NBC showed the psychotic rants and raves of that mass murderer at VA TECH.........but even then -that did answer all the questions about why he did it-he was a bunkered in paranoid schizophrenic and his video manifesto was-apart from the murderous rampage itself-proof of just how crazy he was.....as tragic as that rampage was-in virginia the laws have now been changed to give the doctors and authorities more control-when needed-over such mentally ill.............but in tennessee the mentally ill have full access to guns and the gun lobby here is always fighting to get permission for firearms to be taken into bars.......i am not a fan of the NRA obviously...but anyway i still dont think american idol exploited her...her mental illness was chronic and degenerative and she didnt cooperate with authorities who tried to help her.........thats why she died-not because of AMERICAN IDOL...........my opinion anyway

Tom

#668264 - 11/16/08 07:11 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: WriterTomYeager]  
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Johnny Daubert Offline
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Sad as it is, it's another trade-off time in one more business/public example.

Companies in a "free society" choose how to make money. People in this free society choose what stays on through it's ratings. The results present potential for anything good and bad. People must love to watch car crashes, people getting punk'd, and singers getting made fun of. How about Jerry Springer? That huge audience, along with the punk's ones and so on, lives in the same place that airs Idol. All shows have some results that have lead to trouble while making money. It seems to be the new American way. 40's to the 50's and 60's on Television is long gone, as are the desires of the newer American and I guess other viewers of similar current TV that shows and exploits the weakest of the population. It's just about the only time many will have any "contact" with them, and it also seems to be able to laugh at them without public outcry to the one doing the laughing. TV gives that "pleasure" to many, obviously. That is really the point of any sad story of one person. Many more than one dead person has been laughed at, for both money and personal reasons, (TV producers and advertisers, to the ultimate dedicated viewers).

Seems the free society has deemed "Give us more Idol, Springer, and car crashes", etc. (Who else will succumb to the pressures?). "Oh boy" says the public if the ratings are still going to be good for all and for such shows. The heck with Ozzie and Harriett is the obvious message. That's progress, and a trade-off to having a free society in a Capitalist business environment. Who's it all left up to? Duh! Where the money rolls in from. Stop the flow of money to certain shows, and the networks would find out what is NOW selling and air that. They have been finding out of course, and is why we STILL have Idol, Punk'd, Springer, "and the rest", NO matter the results of personal matters. Gilligan is dead in prime time.


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#668319 - 11/16/08 11:42 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Tom:

"i dont blame AMERICAN IDOL for that girls death anymore than i blame Taxi DRIVER for reagan getting shot or Catcher in the RYE for lennon getting shot....." Taxi Driver didn't directly interact with anyone and put them on national TV for the sole purpose of humiliating them for ratings. Neither did Catcher in the Rye. Those two example don't have anything in common with this situation.

This is a lot like that case where a mother pretended to be a young boy and berated a little girl into killing herself through humiliation and rejection. That woman faced criminal charges (not sure what the final outcome was, but she was universally condemned). AI pretended that this girl could sing well so they could trick her and humiliate her. If they'd told her "we think you sing terribly, and we're going to put you on TV if you want so we can make you look like an idiot" and she still agreed, then fine. But we all know that's not how it works.

Brian


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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#668339 - 11/16/08 02:46 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Iggy Offline
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Iggy  Offline
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Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
Tom:

"This is a lot like that case where a mother pretended to be a young boy and berated a little girl into killing herself through humiliation and rejection. That woman faced criminal charges (not sure what the final outcome was, but she was universally condemned). AI pretended that this girl could sing well so they could trick her and humiliate her. If they'd told her "we think you sing terribly, and we're going to put you on TV if you want so we can make you look like an idiot" and she still agreed, then fine. But we all know that's not how it works.

Brian


No Brian itís not. As you state that Mother ďpretended ď. AI never pretended that girl could sing well. All she was given was a chance. Each contestant knows exactly what he or she faces when they get in front of those judges, if they donít then they have been living in a cave. They know Simon is going to make smart remarks, etc. etc. I am sure they are well informed ahead of time of how the judges may react but write it off as being given an opportunity to show what they have. Unfortunately many have been mislead by their own friends and family that they have some sort of talent. Even when they are told by the judges that theyíre not very good, the majority canít believe it. They argue and say AI doesnít know talent. That is not AIís fault when the obvious is made quite clear. They were given an opportunity and didnít have the talent. How should AI react? Do you suggest they continue to mislead those contestants with praise giving false hope of their lack of talent? How would that help them? Just how should AI react?

This girl was obsessed with Paula, dressing like her, drawing pictures, etc. She came to AI looking to meet Paula. I repeat she came to AI, they never contacted her. If Paula wasnít on AI, she would have found another way to stalk her.

We recently had several threads from a ďband motherĒ who asked for help. When all of us chimed in, she didnít like what we had to say and became hurt and defensive. Now, just for discussion sake, if she were to harm herself because of the negative comments she perceived she received here, would you feel we were, somehow, responsible?

#668342 - 11/16/08 03:16 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Two Singers Offline
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Northern Alabama
Brian,

The young lady who killed herself in that Internet case lived about 6 miles from me, as did the family of the mother who pretended to be the boy who was berating her. No charges were filed against the mother pretending to be the boy as there was no Federal law prohibiting what she did. Also, Missouri has no law that prohibits it. (However, in January of 2006, the Federal government did institute a law that makes "Internet bullying" illegal.) Thus, the Federal and Missouri prosecutors had no basis for litigation against the mother. Likewise, they could charge "MySpace" with nothing for the very same reason.

However, the State of California originally filed a litigation against "MySpace" because the official corporate address listed by "MySpace" is Burbank, California and California had, and still has, an existing law that prohibits excessive harassment of an individual by means of the Internet. The legal authorities in California claimed that "MySpace" served as a vehicle for the harassment, should have been aware of it and should have taken steps to first warn the offender and then quickly close the account if the offender continued the harassment. California cannot charge the offending mother with a crime as she has never lived in California, nor did her actions physically take place in California, and they have no jurisdiction over her as an individual in this matter. The town of Dardenne Prairie, Misoouri has passed a city ordinance making Internet harassment a crime in that community. The town I live in, Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, shares a common border with Dardenne Prairie. Also, the Feds are considering if the mother can be charged with Internet fraud since she set up the offending account under a ficticious name with intent to you use it for the purpose of harassment.

One of my neighbors is a criminal defense attorney. In a nutshell, here is what he said about the Internet/MySpace incident: A possible legal barrier to prosecution is the issue of Free Speech as inflamatory comments are not illegal if they do not specifically make derogatory statements that can be proven false and detrimental to the alleged victim. Whether someone is is a social drag, is ugly, is boring, is a ditz, is a drag on society, etc., are a matters of opinion, not proveable facts. Two other issues that put the possible litigation in question are (1) People use psuedonyms instead of real names on Internet social sites, and many Internet community sites, by the millions. How can the owner(s) of the site know who is and who is not using a real name and/or who they claim to be. (2) The young lady who killed herself had the option of discontinuing her participation on the site but chose to continue in spite of the condescending statements being made about her.

The attorney also reminded me that what people "ought" to do and what the "actually" do are often not the same. And similarly, he reminded me that many laws, as written, are often not congruent with common sense; however, the law as written supercedes common sense in the courtroom. He also said that in order for "MySpace" to be charged with a crime of this nature, specific intent to cause death would have be proven. In the attorney's opinion, the issue of specific intent, might preclude American Idol from any legal responsibility. Again, the laws as written prevail, not the emotion or opinion of those concerned or people who are interested.

I just read the following this morning: In May of this year (2008), Federal authorities in Los Angeles filed suit against the mother for accessing protected computers (MySpace Computers) in order to obtain information to use in an effort to inflict emotional distress. Apparently "MySpace" is not being prosecuted.

For what it is worth.

Alan


PS: One more thing my neighbor/attorney told me...In the American idol case, the show and its producers had no way of anticipating the girl would kill herself as the ridicule format is common on many reality shows and the shows simply cannot know who, if any, participants might be suicidal, if a clip of their embarrasment is displayed to the general public or a targeted audience.

#668358 - 11/16/08 05:03 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Two Singers]  
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Heidi Thompson Offline
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When judging the good or the bad of anything, I like to look at the question "Does it do more good than harm or does it do more harm than good?"

If the good outweighs the harm, then it is helpful. If the harm outweighs the good, then it is harmful. Nothing is in black and white and if you look at the greatest good for the greatest number of areas, you can look at something in a more rational light.

So, the real question is "Does American Idol do more good than it does harm or is it the opposite?"

How many people are helped by American Idol? Well, first there's the opportunity for an unknown to become famous. There are all the jobs connected with the show. There's the money made for charity. There's the entertainment factor, being what it may. There's the song royalties to writers. There are numerous things generated from this show that are helpful to many.

On the harmful side, there's the ridicule of artists and those who see themselves as artists. While I myself feel this concept of "squashing a spiritual being who is attempting to be artistic" as one of the greatest of sins, I cannot help to look at the above paragraph. Yes, it is frustrating to view an injustice. But, that injustice also has to be viewed ALONG WITH the valuable contributions. Only then can one determine the actual helpfulness or harmfulness of something.

That girl's death was indeed unfortunate and may or may not have resulted from AI. I'm sure AI didn't help matters but if it weren't AI, it would probably have been something else. A person prone to suicide is on a death wish.

There are hundreds of thousands of deaths directly linked to other, more harmful entities such as certain drug companies who have very high statistics in causing suicide. Was this girl on a drug that warns of suicide? I feel my disdain to be better directed toward those whose intentions to harm truly outweigh their intentions to help. I am curious to see if she was on an anti-depressant...

Heidi



"And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Paul McCartney
#668376 - 11/16/08 08:02 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Heidi Thompson]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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I see where you are coming from Heidi and in the most part I agree.
My take is slightly different on the minus things associated with AI.

1. As if we do not have enough crap on TV and in the charts already we have to suffer this also.

2. Nothing against people being showcased and given a break, in fact I am 100% behind this idea, BUT why give people with limited talent this chance when there are far more deserving people, with far greater talent, who should be given the shot first.

3. This program does not promote or source any new material or allow people to showcase their own music, songs or instrument playing ability. It also affects the sales of legitimate other artists who cannot compete with the hype and exposure AI has. This also has a domino effect and ultimately affects OUR industry adversely.

I am surprised that so many talented musicians, singers and songwriters from this forum can be taken in and support this program in any way, shape or form.



#668393 - 11/16/08 09:34 PM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Do you really need to hurl insults, Jim? It's just a TV show.

I think Heidi said it best. The show isn't perfect, but the overall good does outweigh the overall bad.

I'm relieved that there has only been one known incident as a result of the way the contestants are screened and the judges critique. Hopefully, they'll learn a little bit from this.

Not everyone will agree with their selection criteria or even the morality of their critiquing methods, but AI provides opportunities for people who otherwise would not have them, and that includes songwriters. That is not a bad thing.


#668412 - 11/17/08 12:05 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Larry Williams]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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So if there were a string of deaths.. let's say every year someone kills themselves after being humiliated, how many would it take before folks thought it should be stopped? Not the show mind you, just the humiliation? Perhaps 1 death simply is worth people having a laugh at others failure and incompetence. Would 10 deaths be worth it? 100 deaths? What if one of these contestants went into an elementary school and shot down 50 little kids? Would that still be okay? I'm not being obtuse here, I am simply curious about whether we'd accept large numbers of deaths, because after all, more "good" is served by humuliating contestants than bad. And when we find someone truly disturbed and delusional, than tons and tons more "good" happens because people love to see complete meltdowns from troubled and mentally unstable people. Yee ha!

So right now the verdict is 1 death is worth it. Do I hear 2? 3? 10?

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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#668414 - 11/17/08 12:09 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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PS: Heidi, though your point is good, it's apples to oranges. I am not suggesting that AI be cancelled and not exist anymore. I think it DOES do a lot of good. But the part of it that humiliates people intentionally does not have a good part that outweighs the bad part. You don't have to throw out the baby with the bathwater.. just get rid of the dirty water.

If you use your standard to say "does the good outweigh the bad in humuliating bad contestants?" the answer would have to be a firm no.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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#668421 - 11/17/08 12:35 AM Re: American Idol claims it's first victim [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Hummingbird Offline
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I feel deeply for the family and friends of this young woman.


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