Last Night: Adam Lambert At Hobby Center
For more images from the show, see our slideshow here.
It doesn't matter that Adam Lambert is gay. You might think it does, but it doesn't. What matters is that he's not straight. Because we Americans understand straight; straightness has become our ideology.
Being straight in America is being alive in America. Adam Lambert isn't a singer, really, he's a symbol of our own sense of moral goodness. Lambert could be a singing towel rack, and he almost is, as long as he remains different. This one's on you, Obama.
As Americans, what do we want most? To be admired, or perhaps more appropriately, to admire ourselves. And nothing has given us a greater sense of self-admiration than electing a black President and then wearing his bumper sticker, saying, "See, I did this." Hold the phone, what'd you just say? I can do what? Elect an openly gay singer to represent me, the super-smart and progressive American, and the rest of the world will watch me do it?
Thank you, TV.
Adam Lambert came along at the perfect time in American history. We had just elected a man to lead a country that has, historically, hated people like him. We felt validated. Click, change the channel. There's a gay guy in the final of American Idol? Rack 'em up, this thing's over. We vote left.
Lambert is the perfect embodiment of American otherness - and the perfect embodiment of American guilt - so who really cares that he shouldn't have even made it in the door for the auditions? At least he's something. He's successful because he's allegorical, not because he's talented. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Yes, it's a very important lesson that we've taught ourselves that hey, gay dudes can sing, too. He's the first openly gay musician to land a major record deal in America. Really? Look it up, it's true. So in one sense, we did what was right. In another sense, we're idiots.
Adam Lambert, Nyquil made of skin shaped like a black light with a glued-on wig made of spiky black sanctimony, is about us, not about himself. From the look of the Hobby Center crowd Wednesday night, you'd have been hard-pressed to tell the difference between the stage and a stage-sized mirror, one that wants to give you a hug because you're kind to people who don't look like you.
People watch Lambert because they want to think they're better than they know they are. We all allowed him to be on American Idol - but not win; that's way too much to ask - because we've come so far as a country. We said yes, Adam, we will vote for you, but only because we know you'll thank us; and you know we deserve your thanks. We are, after all, pretty great. Where's the merch booth?