First let me say, I was impressed by the woman’s beautiful voice. Inspired is not what I felt. Saddened by the reaction of so many is closer to my emotional reaction.
I do not watch American Idol for one reason. I get disgusted by what passes as entertainment these days. Simon what’s-his-name’s nasty treatment turned me off the first time I witnessed it.
I will explain after the fold.
As many of you already know, I am a retired teacher. I spent the bulk of my life working with adolescents…..mostly sixth grade but at some point I worked with all age groups from pre school thru college.
I prided myself on my even temper, on my ability to use humor as well of TLC with kids. But all my students knew early on there was one thing I had no tolerance for: making fun of others, insults and put downs for any reason . I understood all of us, kids and adults, can get angry and frustrated at times. But bullying others, for me, was unacceptable. Making fun of someone’s looks is a form of bullying often seen with kids. One expects adults to grow out of it. And yet, here is one of the country’s most popular shows, using bullying as a tool.
Simon and friends are sanctioned bullies. I despise the fact that this is considered entertainment.
So for me, when Ms Boyle came out, and as I read there were immediate snickers from the audience, encouraged by the ambience of this show, it was no surprise. Of course the big inspiration was that despite her appearance she could sing.
So what? If she had no talent, then was making fun of her acceptable? If she could not sing, then snickering and laughing at her appearance was acceptable?
People who love American Idol keep telling me to give it a chance. That it is all in good fun. That he is not that bad and is it not better for people to know the truth that they have no talent?
And I say:
Of course we should be honest with people, with kindness and compassion. But what is kind and compassionate about allowing people with no talent to go out and be humiliated in front of millions? Of course part of the entertainment, I believe, is to put no talented people out there, to be mocked and insulted. “They know ahead of time” my friends tell me. “It’s all set up” they say.
They are in on the joke!
The teacher in me finds this a pitiful way for adults to behave.
Ask some 10 year old who watches it if they know it is all staged? That making fun of, mocking others publicly, humiliating them with bully tactics is not real? As a teacher, I simply cannot and will not condone public bullying as a entertainment.
The shock that people felt because this woman could sing spoke volumes about us as a society. WHY were we shocked? No one will come out and say it but we all know what it is. By “entertainment standards” the woman was not pretty enough, was not thin enough, was not young enough, and certainly not dressed well enough; therefore it is a shock that she has value.
I wish Ms Boyle the best. I am appreciative of her talent. Her voice is beautiful! And I hope she reaps positive rewards for taking a chance of sharing it with others.
But what if she could not sing, would she have no value? Would the talk be of how funny it was the way the bullies on the panel mocked her for even daring to try?
Perhaps others will find me overly critical, over analyzing, over generalizing but the truth is that I have felt this way about this show for a long time. Glorifying the right to insult, mock and make fun of others is what many of these reality shows do.
And the fact that world is shocked that a woman not fitting their standards of beauty has talent says more about us than about her.