Jumping off the E-train?
Well, that was abrupt. Somewhere between the last week’s Elliott lovefest and this morning’s newspaper, Elliott Yamin went from “hometown hero” to “Wolfman.” Let me count the ways in which Elliott was demeaned, insulted or otherwise dissed in the today’s Times Dispatch.
First, was the banner over the masthead with the headline “Has Elliott lost some sparkle?”
Next, was the entire section of letters to the editor -- five in all -- whining that the paper’s coverage of Elliott and “American Idol” was excessive, tabloidish, and took the place of real news. It's certainly valid to a point. Remember the A-1 story about people who couldn't get through to vote? But still, if this had been a local boy about to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl, I doubt we'd hear anything about it not being real news. One person said he would actually subscribe to the Times or the Post just to be sure he was getting his daily news fiber instead of Cocoa Puffs. (My words, not his.)
Then there were the complaints over the paper’s use of the words “hometown hero.” That word should be reserved for soldiers, firefighters and police officers (and of course, Super Bowl quarterbacks), we were instructed. Suzan White of Richmond was very kind in her letter to give us all a mini-course in Joseph Campbell’s writing just so we could all be clear on a what a hero really is. (Perhaps we might remind Ms. White that there are there are several meanings and connotations to the word other than the mythological one.)*
Turning to the Metro section, there was Douglas Durden and Melissa Ruggieri’s recap of last night’s show in which they, quite fairly and objectively, pointed out that last night’s performance was fine but not the shining moment it should have been to propel him into the finals next week.
Then, Mark Holmberg had to weigh in by pointing out that people online refer to Elliott as “monkey boy” or “Wolfman” and bust on Elliott for his looks. (In all fairness, let me remind you that in the beginning of the competition I gently suggested that Elliott change his hair, which reminded me of Curious George. He's come a long way since then.) Then, Holmberg goes on to say that a reference to Elliott smoking a cigarette in last week’s paper enraged some fans, some of whom suggested that the inclusion of that fact might cost him votes.
It seemed Elliott couldn’t catch a break in today’s paper. That’s a dramatic turnaround from the reception he received last week. But one gets the feeling the E-train is indeed rolling into the station. He’s done a great job and like Simon Cowell said last night, has made his mum proud. Will he survive tonight? My gut tells me no, but we’ll see. Either way, Joseph Campbell notwithstanding, he’ll still be a hometown hero.
*1. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field; 2.a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments)