As a proud owners of modern-day rabbit ears on our Sony flatscreen, we don't have cable or Direct TV or any of those crazy expensive things that commercials try to convince us to pay for. In my home, we watch the channels that come in for free (in HD no less), and as such, American Idol became a part of our weekly routine. And thank goodness! This 11th season has been very moving. Okay, not the whole season. The judges were way too nice, Jimmy seemed like he had the only objective and constructive opinion, and Steven Tyler's use of "over the top" confused me because I always thought "over the top" was a bad thing. In fact, we tuned in for two reasons, and after Josh Ledet got voted off, that final reason won the whole shebang. Phillip Phillips was the motivation behind our weekly viewing parties and he was our favorite contestant from the start. Now, he's America's new American Idol.
My guy and I held hands last night while we awaited the results, and when Ryan Seacrest announced Phillip Phillips was the winner, we decided then and there that all was right in the world. That Americans are as intelligent as I'd hoped, and the universe is indeed just. After an hour of yoga this morning, and nine loads deep in our monthly laundry session, I got to thinking about Phillip Phillips again. He has every quality that a soon-to-be rockstar should have. He has an awesome and easy name, he's devilishly handsome, he's not too good at talking in front of a bunch of people, but he's super good at sharing his gift of music.
More than any of that, Phillip Phillips appears to be the most humble guy on TV, and precisely the kind of authentic influence we as Californians, Americans and world citizens so desperately need. Why is it so important that an American Idol exude humility and authenticity? Why do we need an idol who is both authentic and humble? Here are 20 quick reasons as to why could we use a little humility and authenticity -- a little Phillip Phillips -- in our personal, public and political lives.
1.) Because it really doesn't matter who ran up "wild debts." What matters is who can fix them.
2.) Because it's easier to place a ban on the production and distribution of plastic bags than it is to clean up after ourselves.
3.) Because California politicians can't figure out how to balance a budget, but they can figure out how to deposit a paycheck. Regardless of what the voters want.
4.) Because a man who cries is still an oddity and crying in general is still seen as a weakness.
5.) Because we'd rather sue one another than admit a wrong and forgive.
6.) Because we feel ashamed and silly when we talk about our inner children.
7.) Because we can freak out over what California State University Administrators and teachers are paid, but not over what politicians and other government employees are paid.
8.) Because the Occupy Movement still has something for which to fight. And, sadly, because they've become a little bit of a joke.
9.) Because ex-presidents can't take pictures with porn stars and porn stars can't have a job in... Well... What is the next logical occupation for a retired porn star? Obviously, not a teacher.
10.) Because it doesn't matter if we build a high speed rail, a Metro from downtown to Santa Monica, or more bike lanes, there is no future where 4:30 p.m. in Los Angeles will not be gridlocked.
11.) Because our cars and clothes say more about who we are than our actions.
12.) Because you can charge $40.00 more for something if it is specifically for yoga, grown locally, or environmentally friendly. Yes Lululemon and Whole Foods, I'm talking to you.
13.) Because everybody in Los Angeles feels like everybody in Los Angeles wants something from everybody else in Los Angeles.
14.) Because in order to be a working actor/actress, you must actually be a server as well. And nobody will take you seriously. Unless you're cray-cray famous. In which case you probably struggle with dining out.
15.) Because feminism is still a four letter word and no matter how you twist it, $0.70 does not equal $1.00.
16.) Because there is still debate around global warming (really folks?).
17.) Because the only news that matters is the news we are repeatedly told matters. And holy crap are we repeatedly told what matters.
18.) Because the world's financial structures and institutions are crumbling/have crumbled before our very eyes. And there is no easy solution.
19.) Because the issue of gay marriage is something on which to run, but apparently not something on which to hit the polls and vote. And because people like Charles L. Worley exist and have been given a soapbox on which to preach.
20.) Because humility as a quality in a person is both newsworthy and shocking. And that in and of itself is both newsworthy and shocking.
Now, I don't know Phillip Phillips personally, and 10 bucks says he couldn't fix any of these problems. In fact, Phillip Phillips probably won't make a great president but maybe, if we'd all take the Phillip Phillips approach to life, the put-your-head-down-and-work-in-a-pawnshop approach, the do-what's-right-because-it's-what-you-are approach, the don't-take-more-than-you-need/deserve approach or clean-up-your-own-shit approach, this list wouldn't seem like a small commentary on something tragically huge.