SIMON COWELL, SELF ESTEEM AND THE CULTURE OF “NICE”
I’m not sure who did it or when exactly it happened, but I’m gonna guess the concept of "self-esteem" was coined in the 60s by some social psychologist at one of our wonderful institutions of higher learning. The end result- “American Idol”.
Before the 60s “American Idol” would have not existed. In simpler times, someone who cared about you along the way made sure you succeeded in life by pursuing what you were good at and discouraged you from doing what you loved, but sucked at. In today's world of self-esteem manipulation and entitlement programs, people think they have the right to everything, including talent.
No one told the rejects on “American Idol” this. They flock to the audition in tight pants and a euphoric haze of artificially elevated self- worship, because no one in their lives thought it was important that they know the truth about themselves. Everyone was nice instead of honest. “Go ahead and sing Stanley, don’t you let anybody tell you you can’t! You can do whatever you want as long as you believe in yourself!” And why WOULDN'T Stanley believe in himself, when everyone is telling him how spectacular he is?
But Stanley’s tone deaf. And ugly. And dumb. Better be really ‘nice’ to him …
Enter REALITY- with a British accent and tight black t-shirt. Because of the self-esteem movement, 30 million people a week get to watch these kids learn that their life was a lie- on national television. You can see the horror and disbelief in their eyes. NONE accept Simon’s evaluation. ALL deny it and regard him as simply a mean, stupid asshole. Simon's sin? Telling the truth.
In contrast, Paula Abdul, after a stuttering moron finishes up, will say something like- “That was great, you should work on your pitch, and keep following your dreams,” driving that child one step closer to his career as a full-time fluffer in Van Nuys. She knows damn well the kid can’t sing his way out of a bag. Simon tells the person this and the kid will hopefully abandon his silly misguided quest, provided the Paula Abduls of the world have not completely brainwashed him. So- who’s the mean one? Simon who’s being honest- or the dozens of people who lied to the kid his whole life and lead him to this horrific point? No one wanted to see Stanley cry, so now all of America will.
“Nice” needs to change. It needs to include making people better, not just making them feel better. Be nice. Don’t lie. It will just cause pain later on when the overly esteemed confront their “Simon” in the form of a potential employer, professor, or romantic partner. Offer people reality, it always wins in the end. Nice is not the goal. Good is. And it's better to BE good than just feel good.