This week's Collective topic: Why everyone should hate [fill in the blank].
People talk about hate like it's the opposite of love, but that's not so much true. If falling in love is an all-consuming desire to know another person, to be with another person, to touch another person, then the opposite of that would be, well, apathy. Hate is an entirely different emotion, one that springs out of fear more than anything else. So if I'm going to tell you what you should hate, I have to tell what you should fear. Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence are the abilities to know everything, be everywhere, and do anything. God encompasses all those things, and that's okay; he's a benevolent sort. But what if a man was all three Os. You should fear that man in the deepest places of your soul. He's everywhere; he knows everything; he causes things to happen. You should hate him: he's Ryan Seacrest.
I have long held the opinion that the if the United States wanted to instill Orwellian principles into its citizens, it would have to do so via the entertainment industry. The first thing the government would have to do is create a television show that is universally watched. The show couldn't be a sitcom or a drama; it would have to allow the audience to participate, to become invested. Once viewers were held captive by their televisions, simple instructions would be given to test audience compliance, calling in to "vote" for "contestants" for example.
The host of this show would be key. He would need to have benignly broad appeal. Once his voice became commonplace in the American living room, he would branch out: a radio show, a television program; host of New Year's festivities, awards shows, and major sporting events. He would have his own clothing line, his own toothpaste. His very own website would make the proclaimation: "He is able to reach millions of American eyes and ears." So accustomed would we become to this man's voice, to following his instructions, that when the time came for him to teach us ""War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength" we would not question him.
My fellow Americans, Ryan Seacrest is that man. We must fear him. We must hate him, for we are all susceptible to his master plan. In fact, once he releases his own cologne, he will have invaded all our senses. I have constructed a simple two-part test to assist you in determining how vulnerable you are to Seacrest's mailice.
(20) points if you watch American Idol once per week.
(40) points if you American Idol twice per week.
(5) points if you have ever voted for an Idol contestant by phone.
(5) points if you have ever voted for an Idol contestant by text.
(20) points if you've ever said your last name followed by the word "out." (i.e. "Schilling, out!")
(10) points (per CD) if you own albums by the following artists: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry.
(20) points (per CD) if you own albums by the following artists: Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Jordan Sparks, Clay Aiken.
(30) points (per CD) if you own albums by the following artists: Diana Degarmo, Bo Bice, Katherine McPhee, Taylor Hicks.
(50) points (per CD) if you own albums by the following artist: Justin Guarani.
(2) points a each for any of these names that you recognize: R.J. Helton, Corey Clark, Camile Valasko, Jasmine Trias, Anthony Federov, Mikalah Gordon, Ace Young, Bucky Covington, Sanjaya Malakar, LaKisha Richardson.
(5) points if you cried during Jennifer Hudson's performance in Dream Girls.
(10) points if you cried and clapped.
(50) points if you own a t-shirt from The R Line.
(25) points if you watch E! News.
(10) points if you sometimes accidentally catch the last few minutes of E! News when you turn on your television to watch Ugly Betty.
(5) points if you watch Desperate Housewives or reruns of Lois and Clark.
(20) points if you watched Rockin' New Year's Eve on the eve of 2008.
(Subtract 5) cool points if you did Monica and Ross' dance while watching.
(25) points if you listen to KIIS FM in Los Angeles, home of On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
(10) points if you flip stations in LA.
(25) points if you listen to American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.
(10) points if you live in a city that broadcasts AT Top 40.
(20) points if you plan to watch the Super Bowl .
(Go ahead and shoot yourself) if you own the movie From Kelly to Justin.
Identify your location on the following map and note which color your city falls under.
(Click here for a larger map.)
The cities marked in red are where Seacrest's affect was greatest this past year: San Diego, Dallas, Omaha, Charleston, Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta. (All places where Idol tryouts were held.) And, of course, Los Angeles: his home. The farther away you get from these cities, the less vulnerable you are. However, you can easily see that residual Ryan spreads for hundreds of miles.
Now, using the following color-key, add the number of points from PART ONE with the number of points your city earned in PART TWO.
Anything under (50) points and you're a liar.
(50-100 points) Be on the lookout.
(100-200 points) Be sore afraid.
(200-300 points) Behold, he comes.
(300+ points) The Apocalypse is nigh.
Yes, hate is a strong word, friends. But don't you see that it's necessary?
Heather! Anne! is the author of Tyra Banks: America's Next Top Public Enemy and Zac Effron: Pretty Mouth, Ugly Intentions. She is also a blogger and avid user of Google Reader. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with some cats.