Anyway, I do happen to enjoy NBC's "America's Got Talent" which is a little different than some of the others. Basically, it's a throwback to another age, when song and dance ruled the airwaves. The three interpid celebrity judges (Pierce, Sharon, and Howie) travel the nation, looking for the next Million Dollar act, and every so often, actually stumble upon a diamond in the rough. Take Landau, for instance:
Here is a 30-something hair-braided, gum-smacking ex-car wash attendant, who came to the stage on a lark, having no preconceived notion of what would happen next. But the moment the music started, Landau channeled Frank Sinatra and blew the judges and the audience away with his talent. And when the judges actually told him just how good he was, he broke down in tears in front of the audience and the world.
Contrast Landau with these clips of the worst of the auditions on the New York City stop:
While NBC does kindly make the clips of the performances available on its website, you had to be watching the show to see the pre-game interviews with some of these folks. To me, this is the most disturbing part of the story. Landau was quite humble before he went onstage, which is as you might expect. However, some of the purveyors of the worst acts ever to be seen on national television were quite convinced that they had tremendous talent, that once they got their national debut, stardom was just days away.
This may not be an ominous sign, but I do think it tells us that there is something wrong with our society, and ourselves. I occasionally try to sing. I won't shatter glass, but I'm not too bad. However, I grasp totally that I am not very good, either, and I would NEVER subject anyone else to my singing. But here we have people literally making fools of themselves, thinking they are far more talented than they really are (a vast understatement if there ever was one.) There is nothing comparable to the look of utter amazement when they are told in all honesty that their act sucks and they have zero talent.
I wish Dr. Sanity was around to analyze this, but since she has quit blogging, I'll have to wing it. Basically, this behavior represents a form of narcissism. The victim (not the audience, the other victim) believes himself or herself to be worthy and deserving of the attention of the masses, not to mention the million bucks. You'll notice that most of these fools are thirty-somethings and younger, which means that their narcissism was trained into them. This is the result of decades of discouraging discipline, of telling every kid that they are winners, giving trophies to everyone who even shows up to something resembling a competition. This is what we get for ditching the rules, for delving into political correctness at every possible turn, for never saying "no".
OK, OK, I understand that a few nut-jobs on a television show don't signal the downfall of society. But sadly, they are indicative of the way a lot of people think. It borders on delusional, and it has the potential to be dangerous. Especially when these folks vote on the basis of what makes them feel important and powerful. When they buy into a meaningless feel-good slogan to select leaders. And so on. Yup, I think we're in trouble.
By the way, I have no illusions about my writing talent, or lack thereof. Fortunately, Pierce doesn't judge blogs.