“Had Pearlman never defrauded anyone, his name might be mentioned along with the demiurges of reality TV–Mark Burnett, the executive producer of Survivor; the Dutch media tycoon John de Mol, who invented Big Brother; and Simon Fuller, who created Pop Idol, in Britain, which begat American Idol. But the wizard was a crook.” Lou Pearlman just died in a Miami federal prison. The New Yorker’s John Seabrook argues that we live in the pop-culture world that Pearlman created. (We’ve embellished it quite a bit since then.)