Watched the first few minutes of American Idol last night, the audience all holding up American flags, red white and blue USA signs, hooting and raising fists. These working class gladiatorial combatants sang with the brittle, heartfelt abandon of talent deliriously conforming to power: triumphant, angry, vulnerable. The whole thing felt like a schizophrenic screen memory for the bombing and machine-gunning of Iraqis. Anyone can be a famous millionaire. How do our artistic ambitions compare?

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