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Everyone loves a loser

Fri, Apr 18th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Our collective mean streak sure does show itself on television. I know you think we're nice people. I think I'm nice, my friends are nice and some of my relatives are nice but somebody is enjoying the blood sport of televisions "You are a Loser!" frenzy.

My granddaughter introduced me to American Idol recently. There, lovely young men and women dress up, make up and compete for the privilege to sing and dance before three professional performers and risk being insulted and eliminated before the entire nation.

I haven't watched Survivor because the ads alone confuse me. Why would anyone want to go to those places with a group of hostile people? I wouldn't go to those places with folks who might actually want me to survive. I expect they'll feature a loser being cannibalized for ratings week.

Programs like The Bachelor or Elimidate take romantic fantasy to the dark side. Wondering if the outfit you chose to wear makes you look fat is pressure enough for most of us. To dress up and be courted then dumped on television is a special sort of masochism.

Competition is about striving to win something but one wonders if watching someone lose is appealing to our Inner Bad Sport. One might also wonder if this perversion of competition is finding its way into our current political scene. In this protracted contest to choose a Democratic nominee for president it would appear that the focus is entirely on popularity, who will stumble, who got fired today for a bad word choice and the minutiae of the old He Said/She Said game. We need to remember that the prize in this contest is very real; it is the role of Commander in Chief. Since television insists on showing us poll numbers and presenting an endless cast of experts to explain why and when He or She will lose, it is up to us to shift our focus. We need to be reading real information about our candidates, pick up a journal or a book, read the candidates web pages and start to prepare ourselves to make an intelligent choice in November. We don't watch Olympic figure skaters hoping that one will fall; waiting for the Loser to be announced in a presidential campaign makes no more sense.

I might consider hosting a family reunion though, to see if we could vote some kin off the Christmas card list.

I guess if we are to assume this approach, we can do high fives when, in November, we get to vote Dubya off of our island.

Beadrin Youngdahl lives in Peterson.

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