Who do you love?

Once or twice every new TV season, I watch the “cattle call” sessions of American Idol. I have only one thing in mind: To see what I call “The Setup”. This gambit is simple, clearly manufactured, and seems a fixture on the program.

It revolves around a yet-not-vetted contestant talking about themselves at length, covering how hard they’re worked and just how WHAM-O an impact they’re going to make on the judges. Usually, they’re less than temperate in their self-prediction for “mega” stardom and all the attendant worship.

There’s a jarring comeuppance¬†when the person actually performs, displaying something which might be accurately described as anti-talent; an absence so profound that it represents a whole new category of non-accomplishment. You’re then stuck trying to figure out why this dork has such a laughably high opinion of their offerings.

I think the answer is is the bad mojo¬†of the excessive self-esteem movement we’re bombarded with daily. Self-love is running amok. Both genders have become Oprah-fied to boiling temperature with the love object in the mirror.

I remember being jarred by the realization many years ago, as I was listening to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love”, that she was singing about love for herself, probably the first anthem to narcissism ever. Since then, the “I’m perfect” movement has become totally mainstream.

Lady Gaga and several other performers are mining a wellspring of preference for songs that are anthemic in their relentless trumpeting of there being no need for anyone to aspire to be ‘better’, ‘kinder’, more ‘accomplished’, or anything, for that matter, than what they are (“I Was Born This Way”, as just one example).

Of course, all of this ‘unqualified’ acceptance of self comes to a crashing halt if you end up pushing your candidacy as the next Taylor Swift and end up as fodder for “The Setup”. How do you go on after that?


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7 Responses to Who do you love?

  1. smiler says:

    Loving yourself is in fact the catalyst for change and bettering yourself. It is the fundamental belief that self esteem and success are entwined. The most beautiful of actresses may never feel beautiful enough, the slimmest of models may never feel thin enough, the most cerebral of academics………etc. Loving who you are, gives one the base to improve.

    “I was born this way” has a beautiful message. It is about more than accepting the attributes you were born with, it is about embracing them and building on them. A child with downs syndrome and her parents, “rocking the extra chromosome”. A child with aspersers syndrome, “testing video games” in a company that hires workers with this special way of looking at the world, because they are relentless at playing the game and are able to give articulate exact critics and solutions.” I read the lyrics through more than once a while back.

  2. admin says:

    No big issue with what you say. Notice I was talking about excessive self-attention to the point of shutting out reality, craft and realistic self-appraisal. If you insist, though, I WILL join the Fan Club you’ve started for Smiler.

  3. smiler says:

    Perhaps the “excessive self-attention to the point of shutting out reality…” is the “dorks” reality. Perhaps it is how they see themselves. What a gift to feel that way and what a society we are to not see them in the same beautiful way that they see themselves. They are exploited, for the entertainment. If the show had class, they would screen them out without putting them on national television.
    I propose, the producers of that show are the dorks!

  4. admin says:

    Good point. They certainly ARE set up for ridicule for the sake of “entertainment”. It’s just a gambit. Your point is SO well taken, I’ve decided to stop watching the whole ridiculous exercise.

  5. smiler says:

    Oh, I don’t mean to spoil it for you. Sorry. I should have finished by celebrating the stars that are born and might not otherwise have the opportunity to shine! Maybe watching the later episodes where the talent is abundant?

  6. admin says:

    You didn’t ‘spoil’ anything; just gave me a new perspective. Thanks.

  7. smiler says:

    You are most welcome. Seems we have a “mutual admiration society” happening! I do enjoy your blog as food for thought.