Idol Chatter

paulagoodspeedpic.jpgTuesday evening an obsessive Paul Abdul fan, Paula Goodspeed, committed suicide by drug overdose, in front of the “American Idol” judges’ home.
Goodspeed, who had tried out for the hit reality show before—and was completely panned by Simon, Randy, and Paula–had a history of psychiatric problems. Apparently she even OD’d in front of Paula’s house on another occasion
As soon as I heard the news that Goodspeed was rejected on the show, I knew that there would be an outcry about the show’s involvement in this young woman’s mental issues and subsequent death. And, in Beliefnet’s very own social networking community, member Ricki Lee, wrote about how upset she was at Goodspeed’s death and the role “American Idol’s” judges played in it:

She obviously had no one in her life to help her heal from those hateful remarks and the evil laughter of those judges. No one to say, “Hon, you might not sing, but look how well you draw? Go to school, perfect your talent, and make your mark in the artistic world.”

She even goes as far as to say that the show should be cancelled:

“I say Idol has done enough damage, one dead is enough. Can the show. If you watch it, stop watching. Think about that dead girl. “

From a young age, Goodspeed created life-sized drawings of her “secret crush” Paula. And I while I find that incredibly creepy, I do agree with Ricki Lee that her family should have encouraged her in what was a genuine artistic talent (you can check out the photos in her audition video)–and guided her away from her nails-on-a-chalkboard “singing.”
In an Idol Chatter post I wrote last year, “American Idol and Our Culture of Lies,” I address just that issue. Is it wrong to pursue one’s dreams? Of course not. Is it wrong to lie to our loved ones about whether they are, in fact, talented when it comes to singing, dancing, or anything else–or ignore our friends and family when they are brutally honest with us? Absolutely.
Even Goodspeed herself admitted she shouldn’t have tried out for the competition in this journal entry on her Myspace page, where she wrote: “I made the mistake of trying out for a singing competition before I was ~even~ ready vocally, emotionally and physically.” On her page she also lists her occupation as “bathin in bl~~d of virgin girls.”

“American Idol” is certainly not to blame for Goodspeed’s death. Nor are they to blame for upsetting the thousands of potential contestants they audition each year. Most of these rejected singers need a wake-up call anyway–one that, for the most part, their loved ones aren’t offering. Let’s put some of the blame on them.
And while we’re at it, let’s stop blaming the media, video games, and everyone else for all of the decisions we, and our loved ones, make. A TV show is not to blame for this woman’s death. She is.
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