After all the lawyer jokes over the years in this blog (Q. What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? A. The lawyer gets frequent flyer points), it seems only fair to turn over today's post to our Legal Affairs staff, which has been busy all day chasing stories of television flim-flammery. First and least surprising, American Idol has been accused of rigging its results. The New York Daily News reports today that a show insider says producers, dispensing with all that messy voting stuff, have already selected this season's four finalists: Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Adam Lambert and Alexis Grace.
The News says Gokey in particular offers a better story line -- his wife died during heart surgery shortly before Idol tryouts -- while the two contestants most likely to be chosen by the show's audience are the same old same old. “Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds are better singers and musicians than Gokey and Grace, but they’re too much like past winners and ‘A’ successes,” the Daily News quotes its source. “Adam’s too close in style and sound to Chris Daughtry, while Lil Rounds is a dead ringer for Fantasia. Even their background stories are similar!"
I don't know who the Daily News source is or whether she knows what she's talking about. But American Idolhas been dogged from the beginning by anomalies and irregularities in voting. And in 2005, ABC's Primetime Live reported one disqualified contestant's claims that Idol judge Paul Abdul romanced him, coached him and bought him clothes, medicine and a cellphone while he was on the show. His account was bolstered with sales slips, tape recordings of phone calls from Abdul and testimony from eyewitnesses, including his parents. Fox's subsequent "investigation" was limited to the sexual allegations, and when the network's attorneys couldn't find anybody who actually saw them in boinkus interruptus, everything else was shoved under the rug. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Fox to look into the Daily News charges, either.
From Abdul we turn to another marvel of modern technology, Amazon's Kindle, a little hand-held computer that turns the process of reading a $7 Stephen King paperback into a Promethean process of downloading, backlighting, scrolling, battery-inserting and, most significantly, $250-plunking. Technology, our savior! Amazon's ads even brag that the Kindle offers "wireless connectivity," unlike all those clunky and unsophisticated books I have at home that must be plugged in to be read.
Until Tuesday, the oddest thing about the Kindle is that anyone is buying it. But now people are actually fighting over who invented the thing. The cable giant Discovery Communications sued Amazon in a federal court in Delaware, accusing Amazon of swiping its patent. Pretty obvious what's going on here, eh? The Television Cartel is reaching out to strangle its competitors -- without Kindle, reading will be impossible, and the entire world will be forced to watch Survivor and The BIggest Loser and American Idol until entropy engulfs the planet and time itself ceases and nothing is left but Paula Abdul floating through an empty universe, face-down in her Coke cup. Damn lawyers.