A STANDING O
In my opinion, standing ovations should be reserved for the rare occasions when we’d like to show overwhelming respect for superior accomplishment.
Recently I attended my granddaughter’s graduation ceremony. It was quite a big deal and I’m really glad I was afforded the opportunity to be there, but some of the goings on got me to thinking. To further explain, let me say that there was a large contingent of graduating seniors who have committed to various segments of our military. The moderator read off the list of names and had them stand. In recognition of the value we place on serving our country, the audience gave them a standing ovation. It made me very proud to be a part of it and I really felt good about the standing O. However, during the remainder of the roughly 2 hour ceremony there were as many as maybe 5 or 6 more standing ovations. That’s where I have a problem.
A standing ovation used to really mean something, but when you start giving a standing O for just any ol Tom, Dick or Harry, at least for me, it tends to cheapen the effect. Did those people who have committed to the military deserve a standing O? I honestly don’t know, but it was definitely a rewarding experience to be a part of it and it definitely felt like it was sincere and deserved. To say the least, it seemed very patriotic.
Did all the other parties who received the same treatment deserve it? Again I don’t know, but someone obviously felt they did and once a few people begin to stand as they applaud, it just seems to overflow the rest of the room. As a result, I found myself standing to applaud several people whom I had never even heard of, simply because someone else stood and the rest of the room followed suit.
I’m left to ponder, “Is it disrespectful to not stand and applaud when you don’t feel the urge to do so?” Restated in another way, “Isn’t it a bit of a ‘Cop out’ to stand and applaud when you don’t feel it is warranted and deserved?
My sweetie and I have been watching American Idle this season. Several of the performers had been getting standing ovations from the panel of judges and again it came across as cheapened or maybe even as disingenuous because after they had done it so many times, you could see the three of them looking at one another, trying to decide if they should stand or not. Then, it seemed almost reluctantly; all three would stand and continue to applaud. Could this just be another way for the judges to prejudice our vote for the contestants they are in favor of? That’s likely a discussion for another time, but the exercise serves as support of my contention that too many standing ovations serve to deflate the value of them all.
Over the years I’ve watched a good many awards shows for the music or movie industry. Standing ovations run rampant. You’ll see a few people stand, then more and as it spreads you can often see by the looks on people’s faces seemingly saying, “Remind me again, why are we standing?” Has it gotten to the point where simply applauding without standing is insulting?
I don’t have any answers or suggestions about this growing phenomenon; but I do have several more questions.
When you stand to applaud for ordinary or minimal accomplishments, doesn’t it diminish the respect afforded to those more worthy? Are we a nation of sheep, blindly following the leaders? When we allow a small minority of people to get everyone on their feet applauding minimal accomplishments, are we ourselves not guilty of dimming the spotlight shinning on the more deserving?
I’m just wondering, shouldn’t a Standing Ovation have real meaning?
Copyright © 2012 Richard Lee King. All Rights Reserved.