Why do we worship false idols?

*Wednesday evening, the American Idol tour concert rocked Hershey’s Giant Center even as harrowing waves of rain, thunder, and lightning rolled through our region. While the outside world shook, the audience in the arena was shaken by a high decibel harmonic explosion – a wall of sound silhouetting the brilliant performances of finalists from this world’s biggest talent show.Conspicuously missing from the proceedings was Ms. Katherine McPhee. In the weeks preceding the event, the pop press – from fan blogs to People Magazine – was filled with rumors, reports, and finally, personal revelations of her resurgent bulimia from the runner-up herself. By the time of the concert, Idol fans were well aware that since June, McPhee had left behind a string of cancelled appearances. Still though, the word from the stage was that she had a bout of “laryngitis.”The sad fact that McPhee, one of the most comely and well-proportioned women to grace our mediasphere this year, has a long history of being so uncannily dissatisfied with her appearance that she harms herself is a strong commentary on our crazed cultural iconography and what it does to young women in particular. Her continuing absence from the tour is a lamentable testament to our self-destructive ideals and values. Of course, the show went on without her. Additional performances by the other finalists were added and McPhee’s duets and ensemble pieces were rearranged to fill the empty spaces created by her absence. Ironically a kind of disappearance is the goal of those who starve themselves, is it not? What forces, from both within and without, must pressure our young women to push so many of them to turn into dissatisfied, depressed, and degenerated versions of their formerly wholesome and healthy selves? And why do we do so little about it and why do we watch it happen until it is too late? *It was a great concert, by the way – so good that I do want to say more about it. But I could not bring myself to do so until I first said this.

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