Monday, June 06, 2011

Talent Uplifts Us, Envy Tears Us Down

Over the last few days a specific situation has increasingly annoyed me.

I recently wrote a one line comment accompanying a video, "When life seems like a load of crap, when the world seems inside-out, when justice is nowhere to be found, I take refuge in the talent of others." I followed that up with a brief comment about another video, regarding Ronan Parke of the UK, who was in the Britain's Got Talent show. I said that the dreams of others often feeds my soul. I take pleasure in seeing people striving and succeeding.

In that post I included a video of an extremely nervous 12-year-old performing at superstar levels as his knees knocked. He was the verge of tears and did cry when he won.

One thing an old friend, Bob Sheaffer, taught me in his book Resentment Against Achievement, was that any achievement big enough to be noticed will be big enough to fuel resentment and envy. Envy is a pernicious and evil emotion. It isn't what many now think it is, it isn't admiration for something, but hatred of it. It is a hatred based on someone else having what you desire. Ayn Rand was spot-on when she said envy was hatred of the good for being the good. She said: "It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue that one regards as desirable." It is a wholly negative emotion.

Aesop once told a tale of two neighbors, one filled with avarice, the other with envy. The gods decided to punish them and so promised that whatever the one wished for, the other would receive doubly. The avaricious man want a room full of gold. But seeing his neighbor with twice that turned him bitter and angry. The envious man, after thinking about it, decided he wanted to be made blind in one eye, thus knowing his neighbor would be made blind in both. Envy doesn't lift the envious, it tears down others instead.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at what happened, but I honestly did not expect it. I actually thought that the envious bastards in the world would leave a 12-year-old kid alone. I sometimes feel my expectations about people are too high.

Ronan Parke performed phenomenally well. And he immediately attracted tens of thousands of fans. But the snipping began almost immediately. It was quickly apparent on Youtube where videos of Ronan's performance were often accompanied by slimy, resentful, hateful remarks. Many of them attacked this boy for the presumption that he must be gay, as if that is something to despise. But the same sort of remarks appeared in other places.

I don't mind if two people speculate about someone else's sexuality. It is not a great conversation. But, when it is done maliciously, it is another thing. To throw such remarks into the face of a 12-year-old boy is hateful. I am not a violent person, but it is people like that whose teeth should introduced to a sledgehammer. It infuriates me that anyone would treat a kid in such a way. And why? The only reason he was so treated was because of his talent. Had he failed miserably the entire episode would have been forgotten. People intentionally tried to torment the boy because he was good!

Parke's talents were such that all the British bookies had him pegged as the hands-down winner. And them some proverbial asswipe used the internet to start a smear campaign. A hate campaign was started against Parke that claimed the talent show was rigged and that Parke had been personally "groomed" by the show, for two years previous, and was set up to win. There was no evidence for any of this, it was simply a lie.

But the gutter press got involved. I skimmed a trashy column in the Daily Mail. No one with half a brain expects journalism out of the Daily Mail, it is a paper that trawls garbage piles, sewers, and dung heaps for its stories. It is the paper of the uneducated, resentful, and failures of British society.

One of their sleazy columnists picked up on the allegations and repeated them. This trash purveyor made sure she said that there was no evidence but then spent the whole column attacking the talent show on the assumption that all the accusations were true. This is par for the course when it comes to what the Mail calls journalism.

The story became a major media circus with this poor kid thrust into the middle of it, and all without a single shred of evidence. It clearly had one goal, to hurt Ronan Parke for the sin of having talent. The resentful underclass in the UK lapped up the accusations and apparently believed it.

The finale of the show came as the "home audience" would vote for the winner of the contest. One week earlier, in the semi-finals, Parke had a substantial percentage of the votes. In a few days he lost a lot of support, not because he was less talented by any means. In fact, he clearly improved his performance substantially. He lost support because some anonymous source made up accusations that appealed to the most resentful among them. And, given the number of attacks on the boy, on the presumption that he is gay, I suggest there was some anti-gay hatred involved as well—another hallmark of the British underclass.

When the votes were tallied a less-talented "bloke" from Scotland, name Jai McDowall, had won. He squeaked by with the popular vote, but only after a week-long smear campaign against Parke. McDowall insisted he had won the show entirely based on his talent. Having seen his performance, I have my doubts. His 2% victory is far more likely to be the result of the concerted smear campaign against his prime competitor. In addition, according to press reports, McDowall got a high percentage of votes from Scotland, based entirely on the fact that he is Scottish.

I've nothing against the Scots, but I sure do resent raw nationalism of that sort. Someone doesn't deserve to win simply because they are from the same country as yourself. That sort of raw tribalism is rather offensive to me. In the end the hopes of Ronan Parke to win this contest were smashed by the ugliest of human emotions. He was the victim of three negative human qualities: resentment against talent, tribalism, and bigotry (on the presumption that he is gay).

I tend to think that Parke's career will continue to expand. There are claims that various music companies are already vying for his attention and some estimate the boy could be a millionaire by Christmas, at least on paper. I suspect that McDowall will reach the point where he goes out to become an alcoholic just to get a slot on Celebrity Rehab. There is a history of talent shows where a less-talented performer beats out the favorite, probably due to a groundswell of resentment, and then marches into oblivion.

Note: I had video for this post but once again blogger fails to upload it and tries to turn it into a "youtube" video.

UPDATE: Ronan Parke has now spoken about what was done to him. He said, "I was really upset—I have bullying." He spoke of the anonymous smear campaign which successfully scuttled his chances in the Britain's Got Talent TV contest. Ronan said, "It was a horrible for someone to do, attack me like that. The Sun reports that the anonymous smear not only said that the contest had been rigged for Ronan but "also made cruel personal slurs." I think Ronan hit the nail on the head when it said this was bullying. One week earlier Ronan had scored over 60% of the at-home vote, only to lose by just over 2% after the smear came out. A further update is below the video as I have tracked down the smear.

I have tracked down one right-wing website that has the smear up. The original was posted on a site that allows one to leave notes on the net and then send the url to others so they can read it. This right-wing site, replete with the silly mask from V for Vendetta, claims they read it there and then when they went to see it again, it was gone. Apparently they made a copy of it. Odd that. Think about it. If they had originally made a copy of it, why would they go to the same old copy a second time to discover it disappeared? They couldn't have copied it AFTER it disappeared. This makes me wonder if this site was not the one that manufactured the smear, then posted it in a second place just so they can distribute it by claiming someone else wrote it.

Yes, the site made the claims that Parke was discovered two years ago and that there was a secret plot to have him win this year after training him. And, the post claims to be looking out for poor Ronan, while constantly making nasty remarks about him. The author of the post is clearly obsessed with what he calls Ronan's "girlishness." This obsessions takes up several paragraphs of the vicious smear. He claims: "As for his effeminate and girlishness, this posed a bigger problem..." They claimed Ronan was told to "boy-up" but "with his girlishness still showing through, the image just wasn't believable." Now the conspirators supposedly decined to "enhance his campness" so a "total gaysexualisation of Ronan secretly planned." (Note, grammar is as in the original.) He claims that Ronan's parents didn't know about this—as if they wouldn't notice if Ronan was suddenly "gaysexualised," whatever that means.

This fake letter claims that the "camp, girlie-giggling kind you see on BGT and this is a direct result of SYCO's styling." (Syco being the company run by Simon Cowall, who runs the show. The anonymous attacker says that Cowell's company "totally gayed up" Ronan but that the "gaying-up" backfired.

Do I think envy plays a role? Yes, I absolutely do. It happens all the time where someone with talent is being attacked. But it also is now much clearer that the anonymous smear-monger is also going after Ronan for appearing gay. The writer pretends he is sure that Ronan is not gay, and that the plot to "gay" him up (for whom?) will mean that "Ronan may issues in coming to terms with his sexuality in a couple of years." He calls him effeminate and "girlish," from the start, claims that BGT intensified it to "sexualize" the boy and now this "girlish" boy will have trouble with his sexuality as a result. Astounding. This gutter-trawler is the main person causing anguish for the boy and he should be ashamed. And that this conservative blog site would repeat it as gospel truth is shameful (I say repeat on the assumption that they are not the real authors in the first place—something that seems very possible to me.)

I also read the comments, which all assume the accusations are true and which make similar bigoted remarks. Some refer to this "real informatio." Another says: "Cowell procures and grooms little boys, but who for?" Another: "I thought child exploitation wad (sic) illegal on (sic) this country." Another says "EVERYTHING on TV is a lie" and urges people to read the far Right site. Another says these "distortions" are to "build anti white race hate and self loathing.

Another wrote, "when the way the people are manipulated and treated like sheep is openly revealed, the people will not care and come back for more." Who else but a moron would call an anonymous smear as "openly" being revealed?

One claims the show "keeps the public entertained while we descend further into the mire." A few readers to the site, who no doubt tracked it down as a major source for the smear noted that the entire letter, allegedly written by a top executive from Sony, was filed with multiple spelling errors. A top manager, for instance, who couldn't spell management. They wondered why anyone was believe the claims made.

It appears that after the anonymous smear was posted someone created a Twitter account to spread links to the story. Using the name UKLegion, the tweeter sent out 85 messages spreading the story and attacking Parke, again the remarks were heavily anti-gay. On May 31 he wrote: "Ronan Parke will grow up to be a mega-bender...he'll never interested in girls." Thirty minutes later: "Ronan Parke should be in school, not mincing around on nat. tv. His parents need shooting for allowing it." That was repeated 45 minutes later.

Then he used another slur, one I didn't understand myself. He said: "By the time he's 20, Ronan Parke's ring-piece will be sold badly battered, it will resemble a busted cat-flap." I confess I never heard the term "ring-piece" and had to look it up. It means rectum. This is what the smear-monger is saying about a 12-year-0ld. Shameful.

A few minutes after that gem he sends out a message to a girl who likes Ronan's singing. "Well he ain't gonna fancy you, or haven't you noticed...he's clearly gonna be gay."

This obsession with the boy's sexuality has to make you wonder. I wouldn't be surprised if the author is self-hating and sexually obsessed with Parke himself.

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