I am sure it was Oscar Wilde who described a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. A couple of weeks ago, I was called a cynic and while I would normally be delighted to align myself with anything Oscar said, in this particular situation I fall under the umbrella of the Oxford Dictionary definition as a person who has little faith in human sincerity and integrity.
I was having drinks with friends in their home and as huge X-Factor fans they were showing me some of the better and some of the more cringeworthy clips of the new season on YouTube. The clip that prompted my banishment from the kingdom as a cynic, showed some fairly regular bloke explaining that he had tried to audition last year but as it was the same day as his brothers wedding he was unable to attend. He then goes on to explain that his brother died of cancer six weeks after his wedding. Right on cue and in sync with everyone else my eyes welled up and I swelled with overwhelming feelings of sympathy, comararderie and determination to find a cure for cancer by the end of the week to stop any further suffering. The chap then went on to say that he wanted his brother’s son – camera pan on face of little boy in the wings – to be proud of him singing on X-Factor, on television.
At this point very, very, VERY quietly and only to myself, I congratulated the chap on ensuring no judge nor audience member could now say anything remotely negative about his performance.
His performance was OK. He is clearly not a singer but he did the job, and I appreciate that is what this programme is about. Of course riding high on the sympathy vote everyone cheered and clapped as though he was Pavarotti. The judges were all nice and he got his four yes votes. Hooray and well done, even though I am not convinced that would have been the outcome had his performance been sans cancer story. There I said it. However being the perfect drawing room guest, I was happy to leave it there, smile with my friends and agree that all was lovely, when the little boy came running out of from the wings (pushed) to be swept up by his uncle and burst into tears, somehow finding the fortitude (and opportunity) to wave to the audience. Absolute overkill and and whammo!!! As so often happens without my knowledge, my inner voice burst into its vile outer twin with rousing cries of ” Oh come on! That is too much!”
As far as I am concerned the whole scene was staged and just really, really bad television. They had us with brother dying six weeks after his wedding, the crying child was too much seasoning.
I don’t know how I managed to keep hold of my drink as angry villagers with torches and sticks drove me off the couch calling me nasty, a cynic and hard hearted. But I did.