What’s the most important and most talked-about election in the United States today? Although political candidates have their fans — and some people would say the presidential election gets the most attention — I’d say more people passionately care about voting for their favorites on American Idol. What’s more, the level of public discourse today has gotten so bad that the presidential campaigns might not do any better than American Idol at addressing things that matter.
In 2008, there were 132.6 million votes cast in the general election for president in the United States. Just last month, American Idol attracted 122.4 million votes one week. So while the presidential election is still barely in the lead, the gap is small and shrinking. What’s more, if you took everyone who voted at least once in a season of American Idol, I’m betting that total would be higher than the total who voted for president. (Yes, I’m ignoring the facts that people can vote more than once for American Idol and that there are no qualifications to vote. Still….)
The 2006 movie “Idiocracy” was a campy comedy exploring the notion that people are getting less and less intelligent. (See the trailer here.) Although the movie wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece — and got only mildly positive reviews — I can’t be the first person to feel as though we’re getting closer every day to living in that world.