Monday, May 21, 2007

American Idol, Harry Potter and Jack Sparrow

What do these three things have in common? They're pop culture icons, of course.

No matter how bad the singing can get or how much you hate Simon, you have to admire the contestants on American Idol. They just get up there and sing week after week, some of them the subject of Internet trash talk (see Sanjaya), some of them brilliant singers, some of them terrified. How can you not applaud the sheer gutsiness? Well, it takes a certain amount of gutsiness to make it in the music business anyway, doesn't it? Is that not in fact the reason we won't see Melinda in the finals?

Jack Sparrow, on the other hand, has gutsiness galore. Oh, wait. That's CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow. Say what you will about the overdone dramatics and outrageous chase scenes, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are nearly perfect in presenting us with an afternoon's entertainment. We've got comedy, adventure, romance, hi jinks, big special effects, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. Heck, they even threw in a good looking woman who can wield a sword in a dangerous way. And to top it all off, it's a Disney attraction. You can be a part of this movie over and over again - if you can get to Orlando. Or Anaheim. Or Paris. Etc.

That said, Harry Potter is in a different league altogether. Aside from being a pop culture icon, these books are brilliant literary gems. Ms. Rowling has done a terrific job of following all the rules of good storytelling. As Charles Dickens said, "Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them wait." Oh, she's got the waiting part down pat. So what happens this July when there is no more waiting, when all the questions are answered and the tale comes to an end?

Of course that assumes she will answer all the questions and end the tale. She's said publicly more than once that this is definitely the last book in the series. She couldn't possibly need any more money. But a writer writes whether he or she expects to get money.

In anticipation of the release of book seven, I reread book six. Then I reread the first book. Much good information in that one. If you haven't picked it up since you plunged on through the series, you really want to take a look at it again before seven gets here. There are many, many things in book one that make sense to us now that we didn't realize earlier.

And remember this - Ms. Rowling is very good at her craft. She seems to faithfully follow the writer's rule that if there is a cannon on the stage in act one, you damn well better fire it before the final curtain. So go back through book one and see how many unfired cannons you can find. I guarantee there is something in there that points to her resolution.

Now I'm off to pack my bags. I'm spending a few days with that other great pop culture icon, Mickey Mouse. You can bet I'll take at least one trip with Captain Jack Sparrow while I'm there. But I'm taping Idol, so don't you dare tell me who wins before I get the chance to watch it!

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Steve said...

People hate Simon?