Did anybody else catch American Idol last night?  Particularly the part where Paula Abdul chided the male contestant for having a ‘heavy’ accent.  She later reinforced her mandate when hugging him by saying something to the effect of ‘really, you know, go work on the accent, really.’  Am I the only one saying WTF?  Is the message to the contestants and to the viewing public that an American Idol cannot have an accent?  or just certain accents.  Would Paula have encouraged the losing of a British accent or a French accent?  Was her point that she couldn’t understand what the contestant was saying because of his ‘heavy’ accent?  or was it that an American Idol simply cannot have an accent period?  But hey, that makes no sense.  We all have accents, right?  I can see some of my friends shaking their heads right about now as they say ‘no’ or ‘lighten up, it’s just a stupid TV show’ or ‘well, he was hard to understand.’ 

I think Paula, and the show’s producers, blatantly endorsed intolerance and went far to maintain the White American status quo.  Some of you may know what I think about status quo [see earlier post ‘Life Vests Required’ filed under poem/racism].  Having endured years of speech therapy as a child to lose my accent – I say to that contestant – keep singing your heart out guy and whatever you do, don’t lose the accent – it’s an integral part of your personhood. 

So these are some of the thoughts that are popcorning up in my head this morning as I work along on the last chapter of my dissertation.  At least my blood is pumping through my veins and I am energized to continue fighting the fight.