Saturday, May 21, 2011

Read and Let Read

Scott D. Parker

I'm almost to the end of my first season of American Idol. After nine years of not bothering to watch nor even caring that I didn't, my wife and I jumped in to the Idol bandwagon with both feet. I've watched all the episodes, read the recaps at Entertainment Weekly and MSNBC, joined the Facebook page, and dang near downloaded a couple of tunes (Casey Abrams's Nature Boy, James Durbin's Will You Still Love Me, and Haley Reinhart's House of the Rising Sun being my favorite performances of the season). Ironically, I never voted. Didn't feel like exposing all of my Facebook friends to the Idol coffers.

We viewers have been blessed with a number of contestants that perform widely varying styles. Jazz, soul, rock and roll, country, gospel, and good old fashioned pop. As fun as it is for me to hear these different types of music--as they naturally follow my own eclectic tastes--I've marveled at how far some of singers reached. Who would have thought the self-professed "jazz head" Casey would reach the final six? How about soulful Hailey who just bowed out this week?

As I read through the comments on the multiple pages, one thing I noticed is, unfortunately, not all that surprising. There's a serious amount of vitriol among the Idol faithful. Followers of rocker James don't like country crooners Scotty McCreery or Lauren Alaina. The country fans hated the growly Haley and Casey. The multitude that enjoyed Pia Toscano's brand of singing discounted the gospel singing of Jacob Lusk. I'm not talking mere "I don't prefer this type of singing" type talk. There's some serious middle-school, only-children-can-be-this-hateful stuff going on here. I can't really understand it. Well, I do. We're human, and we like to make silos and shoot missiles at other things.

The folks in the mystery community are different, at least that's my impression. We have a big tent in here, room enough for everyone. We've got readers who loved hard-boiled action tales and would never, ever read a cozy. We've got traditional mysteryists who think the modern noir stuff is just too violent. We've got everyone. But I don't really hear hurtful bombs lobbed at the other parties. Many of us read different sub-genres of the mystery and crime fiction family, but not all. And it's my impression that even the most devoted follower of one sub-genre doesn't usually take pot shots at another.

Live and let live, or, rather, read and let read.

Why, do you suppose, we're like this? Are we different than the American Idol fandom? What makes us mysteryists accept other genres within our field without resorting to name-calling?

Movie of the Week: Tangled. Watched this for the first time last night with the family. Just about the funniest movie I've seen in a long time. It pretty much had it all. Loved the singing as it's been a few years since Disney did the full-on "Animated Broadway" thing. The horse, Maximus, just about stole the show. Where's the animated short featuring him?

1 comment:

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Most of the time mystery readers are totally accepting of all subgenres under the umbrella. However, I have seen some moments of discontent here and there. I just think those that express that discontent are careful to do it in private instead of in public. Publishing is a small business and no one wants to be labeled as having a bad attitude.

Still, I think you are right that most mystery fans are pleased to see the success of book in the genre no matter if the book is noir, hardboiled, cozy or one of the other crime fiction subgenres. A rising tide raises all boats. I am hoping the mystery tide keeps rising and we all are along for the ride.