Thursday, January 18, 2007
America Idol: Applied Epistemology
For my sins I've been watching the auditions for American Idol. Once the auditions are over its just the tedium of beautiful people singing which is of little interest. Unless you come from the Netherlands where all their singers are ugly and disfigured. The auditions are a marvelous peek at the inner workings of the human mind. After a particularly painful rendition of yesterday's discarded pop tunes, the contestant listens with incredulity as the judges tell them how comically awful they are. Then follows the best part of the series which is typified thusly:
Simon: Do me a favor and never sing again.
1)Tone Deaf Chump: (with blood pressure rising) Who the hell do you think you are anyway?
You don't know Sxxt!!
2)TDC: (with an expression that is not dissimilar to one found on an executioner's face just before the blade is lowered) I KNOW I can sing!
Semantically of course, someone who is in the act of singing is a singer, but I don't think this is the cognitive mistake the contestants are making.
The latter of these composites is wonderfully informative if they really mean what they say. "I know I can sing," it reveals a mind that has no formal algorithms for determining true from false, or a singer from an abysmal hack. This mind contains arbitrary information with no system of organization and no apparent interest in pruning the falsehoods and irrelevance from their unruly knowledge trees. In any case, its a sobering thought that these are the people who design banking software, ensure that our drinking water is pure and prevent planes from crashing into one another.
And speaking of music, For all my friends who loath Pachabel's Cannon in D, and for fans of very very clever musicians, daviditron theatre is proud to present Rob Paravonian. Most assured, its worth the every of its five brilliant minutes.
Posted by and then the_doctor