May 14, 2015

"Indeed, recent seasons of Idol were most defined by viewers hellbent on keeping a particular, and somewhat archaic, strand of pop alive..."

"... those who would, through hell or bad reception, unfailingly text their support for the most Jason Mrazian of the bunch, which led to Lee DeWyze’s unfortunate season-nine victory and a string of white dudes vanquishing any women or R&B-leaning males who dared reach the Top 4; last night’s elimination of Jax, the Jersey girl who sang Paramore and Evanescence before being sent home, set up yet another mano a mano finale."

Does this writer think mano a mano means man to man?

"To their credit, those dudes were at times mystified by their own success, but their worthier foes were unfairly vanquished all the same. (Crystal Bowersox, your earth-mother stylings and ability to stay on pitch will not be forgotten.) These singers got their very own acronym from Idol watchers—WGWGs, for White Guys With Guitars—and made the prospect of Another R&B Song Getting Covered In A Gimmicky, Overly Caucasian, YouTube-y Sorta Way grimmer and more inevitable by the week."

Is it okay to say "Overly Caucasian"? The writer is Maura Johnston, who, we're told, "teaches at Boston College... edits the culture periodical Maura Magazine... spins records at WZBC... writes for the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone." Photo here (in case answering my question makes you feel you need to look at a photo).

35 comments:

Boxty said...

Mano is short for hermano which translates to brother in Spanish.

Coupe said...

Is it okay to say "Overly Caucasian"?

Completely acceptable in an LA centric music world.

MadisonMan said...

Trajectory is everything in Idol. Clark didn't keep getting better, whereas Nick (not really impressive at the start, but able to sing on key) seemed to.

I forgot the finale was the same week as the paring down to two. The new format this year has confused me.

We'll see if any of these Idol people this year have great careers.

Nonapod said...

I have no evidence to support this but I'm willing to bet that a majority of people who actually voted on American Idol aren't themselves actually white guys.

JAORE said...

The general (IIRC) translation is: one on one.

My tin ear is incapable of judging singers - but I do know what I like. AI is not on my radar at all so can't comment on the specific singers involved.

But, as happens so often, the woman writer believes women were short changed. SHOCKER.

Ann Althouse said...

"I forgot the finale was the same week as the paring down to two. The new format this year has confused me."

Me too. I didn't realize there was a Tuesday show! That's where you were voting for the winner, and the show had been on Wednesdays. I've been watching and I didn't know. How did other people know?

Coupe said...

Boxty said...Mano is short for hermano

No, no, mano is hand, as in hand-to-hand combat.

sparrow said...

Coupe has it right, the phrase is used to promote boxing

Ann Althouse said...

I liked both Clark and Nick, but Clark was modest and not really competitive. He was just trying to do a good job with his music.

Nick really wanted it and you could tell. He needed it more.

On the Tuesday show (which I did have recorded and watched before the results), Clark and Nick were given the "original" songs to sing -- their first records. You could tell Clark didn't like it much and was uncomfortable with the manipulations of that Big Machine Scotty character (who was so awful all season!). But Nick acted (convincingly) like he loved it. He took instruction from Scotty like he loved it. And he performed it as if he meant every word and was having a grand time.

So it was a mercy for Nick to win. He wanted it to such a degree that it was almost creepy!

Tank said...

Is it okay to say "Overly Caucasian"?

Based upon her pic, she knows "overly Caucasian." She has an albino like complexion like mine. If we got together, our kids would be pretty invisible. Or blend in with a snow storm. Where's Little Tank? Our in the snow. But where? Oh, there.

a string of white dudes vanquishing any women or R&B-leaning males

I like the sound of this. Also, I'm rooting for the white dudes, since I'm on their team (and, of course, have not actually watched the show, so just because). Is it OK for a overly Caucasian white dude to root for the same? Or is that racist?

Boxty said...

Mano is slang for brother. Look it up in the urban dictionary or go watch Sons of Anarchy. Nero repeatedly calls Jax and others his "mano." I live in vibrant Southern California and not white bread Wisconsin so don't feel bad for not knowing this.

So "mano a mano" was actually quite clever.

Sebastian said...

Talk about enjoyment of the superficial.

Pop goes Idol.

Coupe said...

Boxty said...Mano is slang for brother.

Fine, fine, most Mexicans can't speak Spanish anyway.

EMD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

In this instance, a white women calling out lame white singing dudes, I'll let it pass.

It's not anti-white necessarily, but more or less pro-give-me-a-break-with-this-bland-music-bullshit.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

When I re-watch an episode of Mad Men, I take considerable pleasure in catching subtleties that I hadn't caught before.

Roger Sweeny said...

Wonderful Wiz-Bick. I listened to it back in the daty.

Mano means hand. I always assumed "mano a mano" meant "hand to hand" like hand to hand combat, personal, one on one.

Mike said...

I suspect Boxty is trolling, but I'll bite.

I teach Spanish in vibrant San Francisco. "Mano a mano" literally means "hand to hand." Figuratively (through synecdoche) it means "man to man."

Shanna said...

WGWGs, for White Guys With Guitars

I haven't watched in years, but when they started allowing instruments I think people naturally gravitated towards singers who were actually musicians as well.

I'm curious if there were any women with guitars who did well along the way...

Boxty said...

No, I am not trolling. Just confirmed with Mexican American co-worker that grew up in San Ysidro, right on the border of California and Mexico.

Anyone familiar with pop culture should have gotten the pun. I suspect Spanish and law professors aren't in that demographic.

Brando said...

There is a subtype of white people who secretly fear minorities and hope if they are appropriately disdainful of other whites it will curry favor for when the minorities rise up in horrible violence against their white oppressors.

Mike Sylwester said...

I would have preferred that the final show feature all the contestants singing again.

Instead, the show featured famous singers.

Evidently, the show's producers thought that the show's contestants are really not worth watching.

buwaya said...

Mano a mano is indeed "hand to hand", and is a common enough Spanish trope in describing combat and such, in exactly the way it is in English.
I thought most viewers of this show were women. Its quite a girly show really, if there are male viewers its probably mainly just because the Mrs. has it on.
My Mrs. even finds it too girly.
I speculate most of the voters too are women, so if men have been winning then its just that they like men.

EMD said...

One would think that it would be young teenaged girls voting for the young white males with guitars.

But the average age of an Idol viewer is 52.

SteveR said...

AI jumped the tracks when Taylor Hicks rode the Soul Patrol to victory.

mccullough said...

Is Kelly Clarkson the most successful Idol winner?

SteveR said...

Carrie Underwood has done pretty well.

buwaya said...

52 year old women are almost as impressed by young white males with guitars as teenage girls. They are just less likely to say so outright.

Brando said...

White people can say "overly caucasian"...it's their term! It's only offensive for nonwhites to use that term.

I would have been genuinely shocked to see someone named "Maura" was anything other than aggressively white.

Mary E. Glynn said...

I didn't realize there was a Tuesday show! That's where you were voting for the winner, and the show had been on Wednesdays. I've been watching and I didn't know. How did other people know?
-------------

Someone passed a note in homeroom and it was on the announcements...
Where were U ?

Mary E. Glynn said...

buwaya said...

52 year old women are almost as impressed by young white males with guitars as teenage girls. They are just less likely to say so outright.
------------
(or admit they take an interest in American Idol, once their children are out of the home...) Hth!

Mary E. Glynn said...

sparrow said...

Coupe has it right, the phrase is used to promote boxing
---------

Ah but in contemporary language usage, it's evolved to mean any one-to-one head-on competition. Not just sports, like bullfighting. Where it was used much before the phrase was linked to promoting boxing... (That's likely where non-broad readers most commonly know it.)

You're a real expert on everything, eh sparrow? An infallible little one, u r.

Mary E. Glynn said...

mccullough said...

Is Kelly Clarkson the most successful Idol winner?

Carrie Underwood has done pretty well.
=============

I think Taylor Swift is the most famous alum of that show...

Mary E. Glynn said...

(little sparrow, correct me if I'm wrong...)

Dave said...

I thought young men kept winning because the voting audience was skewed to teenage girls.

That's how it was here, at any rate.