Dumbing Down Standing Up–The Rise and Fall of the Standing Ovation

It has become so commonplace to stand at the end of a performance, we no longer save it for the extra special–just like tipping–it’s expected.

clapping otter(Source: pinterest.com)

American audiences are famous for their generosity–we don’t boo or hiss, except once in a while I have heard a boo–usually saved for a perfectly awful set at the Met that replaced a gorgeous one, like when Robert Wilson said he thought Lohengrin was about the vertical and the horizontal.

robert wilson set(Source: playbill.com)

We don’t throw things and we usually clap even for an uninspired performer. We empathize with him and think to ourselves, boy, if I had to go out there and sing today, feeling the way I do, I would really appreciate it if people didn’t boo. Even or maybe especially when the tenor cracks on the high note, we mostly cringe and feel sorry for the guy and clap–like sheep. Bah.

shaun the sheep(Source: trendwallpaper.com)

Ok, so that leaves the rest of the shows where really nothing much out of the ordinary happens and people are standing up at the end loudly applauding and cheering.

ME_514_StandingOvation cartoon(Source: mimiandeunice.com)

Why, I ask myself? Are we just grumps? well, quite possibly, but honestly, do we have to give a standing ovation for everything? Could it be that this is part of a kind of generalized melding of everything into a nice middling pool of mediocrity? does it have anything to do with why one third of the people in this country believe that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time?flintstones(Source: scientopia.org)

I tell you, I’m worried.

Well, at least, we can all take comfort from one place where one part of the audience stands and the other part remains resolutely seated, the US Congress.

two old guys glaring(Source: syracuse.com)




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