Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Desi Idol: The Worst Talent Ever

While I like to think of myself as having the pulse of the Southeast Asian diaspora, occassionally even I miss things. While I was watching the Real World in Denver and dabbling with various episodes of The Office, an even bigger cultural phenomenon was sweeping our nation. While it was not as moving as Mao's Great Leap Forward, the potential carnage, bloodshed, and/or doom may be on a similar scale. So while I was asleep at the wheel for a few episodes, I'm back and ready to guide this ship into the next iceberg. Big props to my cultural moral compass Brian Chen for getting me hip to the scene. (for the record Brian I hope you don't take offense to my Mao joke, I'm sure he was a great leader and all and that some people really did need to be "re-educated")

Well what is all the hub-bub you ask? Well ask no more. The parade of Indians/brownfolk appearing in recent pop culture has increased exponentially from one to two, as Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol has made the final 12. Unlike Surya the Desi from the Apprentice (the Great Brown Hope) Sanjaya's claim to fame is that he sucks and people keep voting him on.

For example you can view him butchering Diana Ross's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" HERE. I won't even humor you people by making the link easily viewable. Let's just say it's craptacular. India has a long tradition of incredible vocalists. Sanjaya is not one of them. While he shares the hair of Zakir Hussain, that's pretty much it. In fact, coming to think of it, he makes Surya's hair look quite tame in comparison.

But don't just take my word for it, websites promoting for the worst in their fellow human have also taken to the Sanjaya bandwagon.

The problem is that sadly Sanjaya's name in Hindi means "victory," which means either his parents were wrong in their offspring nomenclature or my culture is. Let's pray that his parents are the ones that are wrong.

The part that is even more disturbing is that someplace, somewhere in the world there are some teenage girls who think he is dreamy, perhaps even with homemade posters on their walls. Well I have news for you Jan & Marcia Brady, this guy is no Davey Jones. He's more like Sam the Butcher. Or something.

Now at this point someone is gonna claim that I'm just mean and vicious and that I should really encourage my fellow Indian. But I'm sorry, there are a billion Indians, how is it possible that one this sucky represents us? Whether I like it or not, people are gonna look at him and say "oh boy, Indian people really are bizarro."

Thanks a lot Buckwheat. Thanks a lot.

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Harshal said...

He does not represent Indian people. He represents Indian-American people and fortunately they are not a billion in number. And yeah, start teaching a dead head brain that Indian and Indian-American are two different terms with totally different identity. We don't count you or Sanjaya as Indian.

Rush said...

Regardless, he's marathi and I'm not going to deny that I've been calling in...

Shakes said...

Wow thanks Harshal, that's a very progressive view on Indians reflected in a joke posting. Good work. I'm sure you're enjoying your metal tiffin at work feeling proud of yourself. It's especially big of you considering that you don't consider Indian Americans to be Indian and yet you have come to America and live in Jersey. Now i'm not gonna go into the issue of whether you're a citizen or not, but that fact that you live in Jersey of all places should make you realize the reality that immigrants often times will hold on to the traditions of their motherland more than the locals in India will actually do (and this is not just an Indian phenomena)....or do you want to claim now that the middle class who lives in metropolitan areas like Mumbai and Delhi aren't real Indians either?

so if you really wanna go there and you wanna battle, i'm game. i'd love to hear from ya.

witnee said...

Because of this post I tuned in to watch Sanjaya's performance tonight. I was mesmerized. Mostly because the camera kept cutting to a girl in the audience (at least 10 times!) that was almost hysterically crying during Sanjaya's performance. I think she may be one of the girls with a homemade poster at home.
Either that or she cannot withstand loud noises and crowds and her parents brought her to the taping as punishment.
I'm betting on the second explanation, as its more believable.