EDITORIAL: I know I’m going to make some enemies, but: At what point does the homeless guy with the sweet voice jump the shark? You can thank the Internet (again). Everyone and his brother is posting something about the new poster child for only-in-America overnight fame.
Ted “The Voice” Willaims: from THESMOKIINGGUN.COM
And therein lies the problem: In the end, what do “feel good” stories accomplish? Do they produce cures for homelessness? Do they advance the discussion of social programs that could make a difference?
Instead, why not throw buckets of money and attention at this guy and hope he doesn’t self-destruct?
As the brilliant Ellis Henican writes: “It won’t do squat to solve homelessness or illiteracy or rotten schools or teenage pregnancy or drug addiction. But just think how good all of us will feel after the morning-TV interviews.”
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not knocking the guy at all. Nobody knows the trouble he’s seen, as sketched out in a rap sheet as long as the clichéd arm. It’s what he and those who’ve exploited him represent that bugs me.
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think of the “Seinfeld” episode when a philanthropist shares a cab with Kramer — mouth numbed from Novocain, wearing Jimmy’s jumping sneakers — and offers him a hand up.
Ted Williams, 53, will make out well, or he won’t. But you can be sure plenty of dough will go into prepping, training and “handling” him — maybe even more than he‘ll actually be paid.
Meanwhile, more people will fall into homelessness and vast numbers of unemployed will fall off the stat sheet because their benefits have been exhausted.
None of them will get to do play-by-play for a sports team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, even if they do make witty comments while watching the games on TV. None of them will be swept away in a limo — or even a cab — to be scrubbed up and trotted out as the new Voice of America, like Chance the Gardener in Jerzy Kosinski’s brilliant “Being There.”
No discussions. No debates. No ideas. Those are for the well-to-do, as they strategize, synergize and maximize. World turnin’.
And don’t for a minute think the “American Idol” people aren’t already brainstorming on how to work this angle (“She may not have a pot to piss in, but this songbird can SING!”).
Can “American Idle” be far off?
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