Imagine: you are Ryan Seacrest. It’s a weekday night and you are in for an evening of shuffling around celebrity-wannabes.You have done this many times before. You’ve met stars-to-be, nobodies-to-be, and Lee DeWyze. You have seen legends step in and out of your world: divas, rock gods, icons from the past. Through it all, you have been the constant, you have been the star. You have “flirted” with Simon Cowell for easy laughs. You have lingered too long while hugging teenagers. You have hand-fed deviled eggs to Harry Connick Jr…..so what will you do now? Spin around in J-Lo’s chair? Braid Keith Urban’s hair? Honestly…it doesn’t matter. You’ll do whatever pops into your head in the moment…and it’ll be the right thing to do. YOU are the American Idol…and it is an apt title.
It has come to my attention that careful observation and analysis of Ryan Seacrest might just provide the secret to affecting positive change in our schools, communities, and governments. I know this sounds like a bit of a stretch, and, be warned, it will sound like an even bigger stretch when you realize that a large part of my argument stems from labeling Seacrest as the embodiment of narcissism and insincerity.
Yet, this isn’t a hate-Seacrest post. Using Ryan Seacrest as my personal punching bag would be juvenile and pointless. Let’s face it, the guy would almost have to be fun to have a beer with . He meets and interviews interesting people, he has access to celebrities, and seems to have a great deal of “creative” freedom on camera. If you couldn’t have fun hanging with Ryan Seacrest….you are probably a bummer of a person. Nevertheless, I do have some beef with the “character” he portrays on screen.
I intend to explore how his entertainment persona has become a dangerously-accurate paradigm for modern-day leadership. You see…you don’t just encounter Ryan Seacrest on New Year’s Eve or when you stumble across American Idol during a TV-binge. You work with Seacrest, you vote for Seacrest, you debate his policies, and you trust him to educate your children. This is the nation you are living and breathing in right now: The Seacrest Nation.
How is this possible!?
Let’s take a look at the original Seacrest. What is his job, really? I contend that he is an opiate – a purveyor of happiness who shows up whenever reality is just a little too harsh…too…realistic. A contestant receives harsh criticism – Seacrest commiserates. An unrealistic dreamer is rejected – in comes Seacrest for the hug. Mama can’t stand to see her baby told she doesn’t have what it takes – don’t worry…Seacrest is already holding your hand and cooing softly in your ear. Through Seacrest, every little nobody who tries out for Idol gets some screen time with a somebody. From the audience’s perspective, every wing-and-a-prayer, Muppety dreamer who steps onto the screen is being given a fair shake at fame. Seacrest is like a holy idol..touch the Seacrest and be welcomed into the world of celebrity.
But it means nothing. He forgets. We forget.
Don’t get me wrong, Seacrest isn’t a monster…he’d honestly rather see somebody happy than sad…but…if you think he goes home caring about which nobodies lasted another week on reality tv…you are kidding yourself.
….and there it is. That’s it. That is the Seacrest Paradigm: say whatever you have to say in the moment to send everybody home happy – then forget. Wear a tighter suit. Wink and smile. Rinse and repeat to infinity.
Seacrest makes big bucks to be an opiate….and we pay a lot of other opiates a lot of big bucks too. A lot of our politicians, bosses, managers, administrators…you name it. There is a Seacrest for every profession. We, as a nation, must be wary of Seacrests. They will dress well, they will smile big, and they will look oh-so-pained at the injustices you have endured. You will leave the room. They will forget.
Now…here is where the blog gets a bit less Seattle-grunge and a bit more hopeful. If you can think back to the start of this post, I suggested that Ryan Seacrest could essentially save civilization as we know it. What do I mean when I say this? I simply mean that from now on, when you see Mr. Seacrest, take a moment to consider the Seacrestian forces holding you back in your own life. In that moment…make a vow to follow-up and hold your Seacrest responsible for his/her promises…because your Seacrest has a responsibility to you and a lot of other people. He is not a reality TV host. Reality TV hosts are allowed to steal hats from celebrities and prompt cameraman to put uncomfortable crew members on camera for laughs. Real-life Seacrests with real-life responsibilities need to treat employees, customers, and taxpayers like human beings. Real-life Seacrests need to use their brains, make difficult decisions and stand by them.
If we all hold our Seacrests to that standard, we will start to see a world in which things are accomplished instead of avoided.
As for Mr. Ryan Seacrest….thank you for serving as a constant reminder that a world without sincerity and responsibility is as shallow and empty as reality TV. Now, go. Do some jumping-jacks….tickle Mariah Carey…..play some dude’s acoustic guitar….whatever feels right in the moment.
You earned it, my friend.