More than 37 million people tuned in to see American Idol. But some critics have said it is crueler than ever.
I personally viewed it for 5 minutes and then went off to channel surfing. Days later all you hear from the radio and TV news is how much the contestants are being verbally abused and heckled at from the Judges. (I like to think of them as The Three Stooges of Insults, with Simon Cowell well exceeding as the leader of the pack.)
Judge Simon Cowell told one hopeful he looked like “one of those creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes… Bush babies?” Upon critizing from the press Cowell told reporters: “If you don’t want to hear that, don’t show up.”
Ok, I don’t want to hear it, but at this point I would have to move to the back woods where there is no electricity.
I am trying to understand why 37 million people have tuned in. I have heard people say it is so funny and they laugh their heads off. But there is a deeper reason why 37 million people tune in, Schadenfreude. (Schadenfreude is a German word meaning “pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune.”) I was introduced to this word from the Series Boston Legal.
We as a people take great amount of pleasure from seeing others misfortune. For example, at elementary school if there was ever a fight all the kids gather around and root for the one who was winning, telling him or her want to do in order to defeat the other guy or girl. How about that driver that was pulled over by a policeman, how many people drive by and laugh at that driver’s misfortune; Sadaam’s hanging that was a very popular thing to view on the internet. Next week I bet the ratings of American Idol will exceed last weeks. I wonder how long it will be until the viewers grow bored of this type of abuse.

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