A Healthy Dose of
What is Rox Populi? |
Posted: January 23,
I was one of the few humans on Earth who never got caught up in this
American Idol foolishness. I mean really, people, how starved are we
for entertainment? After some profound soul-searching, it appears that we
(or at least I) are pretty damn desperate. I have been vexed by this foul
temptress of a show, and I am powerless against it. Everything I heard was
right. You really just can't stop watching it. Oh, as soon as they pick
the good singers, I'll drop this show post-haste. But man, watching these
people, each more delusional than the last, attempt to convince the panel
that they can actually sing, is priceless. More to the point, it strikes
at a problem that has been brewing for some time.
We as a society are constantly bombarded with the notion of Low
Self-Esteem. We are told what a psychological cancer this is, and how it
can prevent us from reaching our potential. I'm no Dr. Phil, but I think
we may finally be seeing the emergence of a new psychological
cancer; one called Overinflated Self-Esteem, or OSE. You see, while low
self-esteem is a bad thing, so too is OSE, and perhaps no media showcase
hammers this point home better than American Idol. I can't sing.
But more importantly, I KNOW I can't sing. This is not a self-esteem
issue. This is just reality. And reality is often a cruel bastard. And
yet, with each episode of American Idol, I get to see people with a
"dream" attempt to become the Next Big Thing. Now, dreaming is fine;
everyone has a dream. But some of these people just won't let it go.
When you see the deep hurt and anger on the faces of those contestants
who did not make the cut, it becomes quite clear that OSE is approaching
epidemic status. These people are not just disappointed that they were not
selected; they are angry because the judges would not recognize their
ample talent. They fervently believe this! The level of self- delusion is
staggering! What's called for here is a little dose of low-self esteem,
shame, call it what you will. I believe that there is such a thing as
healthy low self-esteem, and American Idol has reinforced this idea
more than ever.
One contestant gave such a bile-raising performance that fan favorite
judge Simon Cowell attempted to explain to the young hopeful that she just
could not sing. Of course, she disagreed and wagered Simon that she could
go down to the local mall and sing and return with 10 people who would
have a favorable opinion of her "talent." She proceeded to the mall,
gathered a small crowd, and began to perform her rendition of "I'm So
Excited." Her shrill assault on the auditory senses dispersed the small
gathering in short order (save for one guy, who was either really sweet or
looking for a hook-up).
Was everyone wrong? I'm sure if you asked the contestant, the answer
would be a resounding yes. What then is the lesson here? Simply put, it is
this: If you want to believe that you possess talent that you actually
don't have, then make sure you have your seatbelt fastened for the
inevitable crash into the unyielding wall of reality. Don't blame the wall
for being there. Who knew American Idol would serve as such a
fertile laboratory for social examination? I did not. I was just goofing
on the dude who tried to sing "Sweet Home Alabama" and could not remember
Go ahead; take your shot! It takes a lot of courage to do that. But if
you suck, and the judges tell you that you suck, and more importantly if
you actually do suck, then you have to face the facts and move on.
Reality has very little malleability. It cannot be bent to imbue you with
talent that you just don't have. I'd love to be a race car driver, but
regardless of how many high speed passes I make down the street in my '82
Caprice, NASCAR still hasn't called. I have put my dream in the back of my
mental closet, where it belongs. The world would be a better place if
these monstrously delusional wannabes on American Idol would get a
healthy dose of Low Self-Esteem and do the same.
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