I was watching some of America’s Got Talent yesterday.
I don’t have a television, got rid of it years ago, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, along with getting divorced, quitting smoking, and forming the letters F U C K in my mouth to make a special sound whenever the need calls for.
I was watching it on YouTube, which is great because you don’t get as many commercials and you don’t have to watch all the riffraff between acts. It’s the acts that I’m most interested in because they’re fascinating! They all have back stories that pull at your heartstrings, which is all part of how the show manipulates you.
So this one kid, about nine years old, comes out with a violin, and he’s understandably a little nervous. The panel of judges start asking a few questions and it turns out, he developed leukemia when he was four years old, and was bullied in school when he lost all his hair. He felt ostracized and took up the violin so he would be known as the boy who plays violin, not the boy who has cancer.
At this point, a large lump developed in my throat and I knew what was coming. So he starts playing his violin and he’s really good. Plus, he’s wearing these really cool shoes that lit up. After he finished, he got a standing ovation. When the crowd settled, the judges asked how he felt, and through tears, he said “I feel proud of myself”.
That was it, the fucking tears started flowing; I just lost it. Here I was, sitting on my bed, watching this show and blubbering like an idiot.
It’s totally relate-able. We’ve all been challenged, have overcome and have been left with a feeling of pride, and that’s what makes you cry, because we all know the feeling.
I watch the show solely for that reason; I know it will make me cry and laugh.
It’s completely contrived, as all “reality” shows are. They know who will be a contestant, what act they’ll do, and how the judges will vote, ahead of time. Everything else, is to elicit emotion from you so you’ll watch year after year and they’ll continue to get viewership, which in turn will get them advertisers so they’ll make millions of dollars. Plus, they’ll get to enslave the contestants with a binding contract to perform, making them even more money.
I know all this, yet I still get caught up in the thrill of it all. That’s the manipulation.
So I’m enabling this multi-million dollar show to enslave performers so I can be emotionally moved and entertained.