It ought to be mentioned just once that American Idol is one of the best pieces of culture produced on this planet so far in the 21st century. It is also to be admitted that the century is young. Other things will happen. But I don’t want the people of the future to think that we, the people of today, were oblivious to the things happening around us. In many ways, I’m speaking to them. I’m speaking to the people of tomorrow as one who was here, who saw it all unfold in real time.

American Idol is generally categorized as “Reality Television.” Reality Television is itself a product, essentially, of the 21st century. The idea (so the story goes) was that scripted television, the “situations” of situational comedy and so forth, had become a little tired. Ratings at the end of the 20th century confirmed this intuition. “Reality” was… More…