Monday, August 30, 2010

So You Think You Can Terrorize?

In a strange twist of life imitating art, the RCMP has arrested a Canadian of Pakistani descent for alledgedly being part of a homegrown terror plot. This suspect has also been previously known for auditioning for Canadian Idol, in line with the film American Dreamz, which revolves around an idol-type competition and a young terrorist hoping to assassinate the President during a special taping of the show. It seems somewhat odd that someone with deadly intentions against the nation would audition for one of its most popular and frivolous shows, gaining notoriety and possible embarassment for himself before following through with his diabolical plans.

But then again, it makes so much sense. After all, what do enemies of the state hate the most about Western civilization? Western excess, of course, and the reality programming that's wildly popular within the culture are classic examples of the incredible narcissism and pursuit of the superficial. Not to mention the mass commercialism, fame-chasing and constant obsession with material wealth. Why wouldn't the enemies of the state want to infiltrate popular culture? Popular culture is at the root of all that is wrong with the Western world.

It's shallow, self-serving, self-absorbed and plain dumb. The constant quest for fame is a hallmark of one of the deadliest seven sins, that of pride. It's also a gaudy spectacle with strategic merchandising shots and one-note B-list celebrities. The whole thing is a disgrace.

But does it deserve to be blown up?

I wonder if the audition for Canadian Idol represents a turning point in this young man's life, if, at the end of it all, he was completely disillusioned with this so-called land of opportunity that everyone talks about. Perhaps he had a sudden change of heart, and all that wide-eyed optimism and admiration for the nation suddenly spilled over into loathing. It's sort of like your first relationship, where all you see is the wonderfulness of the person you're with, and then, all of a sudden, the relationship ends and all you see are the faults and blemishes. And then that loathing turns into something more aggressive, and eventually, it's hatred that you feel.

This man's bittersweet adventure with Canadian Idol and terrorism highlights one important fact: reality tv is no place for serious issues. It's vapid and fun, and that's how people like it. It's not a good platform to express real ideas about how society should be run or whether or not the American continent is the devil's framework and should subsequently be destroyed.

It's the place where we go to see who can survive on some distant island and whether or not people will take off their tops to win a quarter of a million dollars. It's the place where we go to see people sing and dance and do myriad other strange things for money and fame, all while being judged by a panel of non-experts. That's what reality tv is for, my friends, and you can leave the politics and the demolition of life as we know it to the side.

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