Bil Browning

Enough is enough

Filed By Bil Browning | March 27, 2007 3:53 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: American Idol, homophobic behavior, music, Sanjaya Malakar, television, transphobia

0323_sanjaya_mcphee.jpgOk, so what the hell? I'm going to climb up on my soapbox for a second here.

This picture (click it to enlarge) has been spreading around the internet lately after TMZ posted it. And you know what? It really pisses me off.

I'll "come out" and admit to being an American Idol fan. I like the show and when I see tidbits online, I'll usually skim them. It's obvious to everyone that this season there are a few stand-out performers and the rest just aren't in the same league. More than likely, Melinda Doolittle will easily win and Sanjaya Malakar won't. But keep in mind, that Melinda is pushing 30 and has been a backup singer professionally while Sanjaya is 17 and has no formal training. Will he lose? Sure.

But what's with the anger and hate directed Sanjaya's way? First he's the talk of the nation when he keeps advancing, but always in the bottom two. When he made it to the top ten, even more people flipped out. Howard Stern has started championing Sanjaya, but only because he's the "least talented." Sitting next to him on the results show has become the kiss of death. Votefortheworst.com, a website dedicated to screwing with the results, has also started promoting Sanjaya.

And Sanjaya had a double strike against him from the start. Not only is he the first Indian to make the top tier, he's also rather fey acting. In fact, if people aren't talking about his singing, they're usually making fun of his long, wavy hair.

I've often said to Jerame that I feel sorry for the kid. Every source that reports on American Idol talks trash about the poor guy - from the View to NBC news broadcasts. But this takes it completely over the top for me. Now we're going to accuse him of being transgender - as if there's something wrong with that, to start with - in another not-so-subtle attempt to emasculate him and therefore demean him further? What the hell?

What do you think? Am I being over sensitive? Maybe my mother's instinct is coming out here, but - damn - enough already. Let the kid sing. And let him be himself...

(Hat tip to Queer Sighted. Sanjaya's performance of "You Really Got Me" from last week's show is after the jump. It's not bad, either.)


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These reality shows are really bad and cheesy. They make the average porn film look like Citizen Kane. If Howard Stern wants to make fun of American Idol, I'm all for it. Personally, I'd like to see him fly down to the Idol stage as Fartman and fart in Simon's face. Kinda like this -
http://www.atomfilms.com/film/fartman_caught.jsp

There's always some kid being picked on unfairly on American Idol. That doesn't make it right, but it's not unique to Sanjaya. And it's always the kid who stays longer because of personality than talent. (From Nikki McKibbon in Season 1 to Kevin Covais last season.) That kid, whoever it is each season, becomes the focus of two opposing parts of the American psyche--rooting for the underdog and bullying. And the more some people root for the underdog, the more some other people want to bully him/her, and vice versa. So the cycle goes...

What is unique to Sanjaya are the tranny jokes, which are, of course, rude and inappropriate. That they're happening outside the show doesn't reflect poorly on American Idol, except insomuch as Simon's and Ryan's increasingly ludicrous homophobic banter being part of one of the most popular shows on television continues to facilitate a culture in which tranny jokes are considered acceptable. Frankly, the looksism and homophobia are growing intolerable, which is too bad, because I otherwise love American Idol--love to hate it, love to love it.

All that said, I thought Sanjaya was pretty good last week, comparatively.

It's the Talent | March 27, 2007 8:07 PM

Huge Idol fan here, too.

I couldn't care less about Sajaya's nationality, hair or gender. He has a winning smile, and seems very sweet.

But he can't carry a tune in a bucket. He's flat, every single week. How he made it this far is a puzzle to me.

I think Melinda will win, too. A class act. But who knows?

If Sanjaya lasts past tonight, America has a tin ear.

I've been accused of being a snooty indie rock fan, so I'm not allowed to like American Idol.

I dunno, a whole show that seems to take great joy in being mean to people, strives to be the center of mainstream, and has a target audience of junior high school students shouldn't really surprise people when it or its fanbase cross the line.

See? I can't turn it off! I'll go back to listening to Arcade Fire.

Sanjaya seems like a nice kid. He does have a good voice when he sings the right song, but I think he was chosen for demographic reasons (cute, young, non-threatening) at first and was slated for early dismissal. but the little girls understood.

Personally, I think he's doing pretty damn good against contestants who are much older than him but he really is out of his league.

What I want to know is why the celebrity coaches keep allowing him to pick such horrifyingly inappropriate songs to sing.

sanjaya is *not* always in the bottom two: last week he wasn't, and this week i doubt he will be, either.

the intense media scrutiny focused on sanjaya works to his benefit, and to the detriment of other contestants. the more everyone focuses on sanjaya, the more committed his fans become, and the more everyone ignores the boring middle-of-the-road contestants like haley, phil, etc.

sanjaya has become my favorite this year... i'll be sad to see him go when he finally gets voted off, but that won't be for a few more weeks now, as other, less-memorable contestants will get voted off before he does.