Friday, May 16, 2008

Why David Cook is Killing Us Softly... With More Than Just His Songs

I've been trying to get a handle on what it is that has me a little obsessed about David Cook. It's led me to realize why America has fallen in love with him, which in turn leads to a dissertation more about manners than about the talented young singer. Do a Google search of Cook and you will see some common themes in the rather substantial number of blog posts, message boards and articles about Cook. It turns out most of us value good manners and integrity as much as we do musical talent and sex appeal. Cook delivers on all fronts. He proves that being a hip, high-energy rocker, and a man who shows humility and decorum, are not mutually exclusive.

I'm 48. My slightly older sister and our friends (including fellow "The Flaming Nose" bloggers Jane & Lisa), my closest female friend Randy, and my partner Harry, are "second half" baby boomers. Not the folks heading into retirement now... the younger, recently middle-aged ones who came of age in the 70s and early 80s, and rocked to the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd... well you get the idea. We refuse to become old fuddy-duddies but we've definitely grown up. We also have parents who did a pretty darn good job of bringing us up. My group of contemporaries all have, and appreciate, good manners.

Which leads me back to Cook and the reasons why we love him:
  • First and foremost is his talent. A truly great vocalist, energizing performer, and as we're learning, accomplished songwriter and guitar player. Without that, we wouldn't know him, or care, right?
  • Second, those good manners. He always says thank you. He's the first to offer a hand shake. He brought the flowers to his first music teacher and gave her a hug and a kiss. He demonstrated humility on his trip home. It all comes across as sincere to me.
  • Third, his charm. Calm, cool and collected but with a slight smart alecky sense of humor. Confident but not cocky (he really dialed it back after that early exchange with Simon - being called arrogant clearly mortified him). All together it adds up to charm. Charm is sexy.
  • Fourth, authentic family values. From what we've seen, he's a devoted brother, with parents who've clearly done a good job raising their kids.
  • Fifth, he's smart. Our "word nerd" and forensics team competitor also knows how to present himself appropriately, which has served him well on AI. We have also seen him make great song and arrangement choices 90 percent of the time. He's a thinker and that's also sexy!
It may sound like I'm gushing but I’m really just trying to make point here. It comes down to something I've been saying for years. I may be a progressive, even liberal-leaning guy who embraces the "do your own thing" creed of my generation, but there’s an old fashioned part of me that really wishes more people these days had better manners. It’s not something that can or should be legislated. I oppose state censorship - but not self censorship. It would be a more pleasant world if we, as a society, just flat out demonstrated better taste. David Cook does just that. He is a young man who is, plain and simple, a class act. If you do a little research online you will come across some outstanding acts of kindness on his part. They involve him wearing two different wrist bands during American Idol performances, to support two different girls who have cancer; you will also learn he has made personal phone calls to the girls to offer them words of encouragement. He's what my mother would call a "mench." There may be lots of menches out there but too few of them have become celebrities.


Anonymous said...

A very thoughtful and well written post, Scott. I especially liked the way you referred to me as your "slightly" older sister. Now that's good manners!

Scott said...

LOL! That "slightly" was a very conscious and thought out word. DC isn't the only devoted and loyal brother! But you know, I have demonstrated poor manners to dear ol' Harry... gushing about DC so much. He's had it with me and cookie! :-)

Jane said...

This is an excellent post, very thoughtful and heartfelt. I think David Cook is so smart. I can't wait for the Scrabble king to win.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I am also 48 and so charmed by the sweet nature of our David Cook. Very much looking forward to the opportunity to buy his album and support his career. Long live the word nerd!

Wallflower Diaries said...

I agree with everything you wrote. I'm 35 & am more than happy to admitt that I am a word nerd, cook-ie lovin' fan :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this brilliant article on David. I am an authentic babyboomer - 61 years old and I love everything about David. He is smart, charming,extremely talented (without a doubt),he wants to please all the fans and does so with his music and his wit. I knew from his first audition that he was the one to take the Idol crown. Rock on David. We love you.
P.S. My nine year old granddaughter is a huge fan too. So all ages are affected in one way or the other.